By Hans Ebert
It’s actually on the snack menu. Meant to be enjoyed with a glass of wine or a glass of champagne. But have an order around 7pm and that’s dinner for the night. It’s on the menu of the Champagne Bar at the Grand Hyatt and comes in six pieces- basically, lobster salad with celery and a little kicker which can be eaten as a spread on toast (HK$350) Goes down a treat.
After that it was probably 9 or 10pm, the resident singer and friend Maricel was singing (except on Sundays), and the once popular 5-star bar, hardly the meeting place that it was, plodded on. Where is anything like what it was when Hong Kong today is bulging with choices? Where things get wobbly is that none of these choices are much good. But if at the Champagne Bar without any great expectations, like one of the regulars- an extremely attractive female lawyer who just wants to chill out, not be bothered by inebriated desperados, and take in the music- it’s a safe, pleasant night out. Expensive to many, but when in any five star venue of a five-star restaurant does one not expect to pay five-star prices? This isn’t McDonald’s.
This night at the Champagne Bar, I had the misfortune of watching two sixtysomethings make complete arses of themselves. Sitting two seats away from me, the Chinese oldster did his best to try and pick up a girl who I couldn’t help hearing was from Singapore. His American buddy cheered him on in his pursuit of the girl’s phone number. Both were well lubricated and seemingly determined to prove that there’s no fool like an fool.
Having just been in Singapore and knowing quite a bit about what makes that city and its women tick, after two hours of listening to an onslaught of incoherent cocktail talk, and the exchange of phone numbers, the girl suddenly and quickly paid her bill and left. It was midnight. Perhaps she had played along for too long. Teasing is not smart.
Dumb and Dumber hung about downing more cocktails until spotting my singer friend Maricel. She had to be polite and make vapid conversation with the American. Seeing how she had to smile and make time for customers, how during her short breaks between sets she has to still work by being “sociable” with customers expecting her time, made me realise just how difficult a gig this is. It’s tough being a lounge singer.
Moved in to see where striking up a conversation with Dumb and Dumber might lead was one of the regular girls at the venue. The American took over with the chit chat whereas the Chinese oldster started playing piano…on the bar counter.
I had forgotten about the group of four tourists to my left. It had become a very LOUD threesome between working colleagues. They continued with a new bottle of Absolut. Just for a second I wondered if my ex wife became Women Behaving Badly during her business trips. Never. Too much class. Like the extremely attractive female lawyer mentioned earlier who makes it very clear that This Property Is Not For Sale with no time for the blah blahs.
None of this is the fault of the Champagne Bar. The staff are lovely people. Family. They’re running and managing a business and don’t see what every customer does. But management should.
This night had me repulsed by the human condition. It was embarrassing to be a man though some of the women there did nothing for #MeToo. I came just to have the lobster salad snack. Imagine if I hadn’t. I thought about it while staring at my bill of over HK$2,100. It was an expensive night out. A complete waste of time. Chalk it down to experience. I won’t be back.
#TheChampagneBar #GrandHyattHK #HongKong #MenBehavingBadly #lobstersalad #nightout