Thursday, June 28, 2012

Changkat Bukit Bintang

I've written about this street more than anything else and for good reason too as it probably contains the best bars and restaurants and all-round entertainment outlets in Kuala Lumpur.
Thing is,  now I kinda love to hate it.
When I heard that the Green Man had recently celebrated it's 10th anniversary it got me thinking about the rapid and irreverseable  metamorphosis the street has undergone.
I moved into KL about a month before the Green Man opened and it looks to me that they still have exactly the same furniture,bars,chairs tables (and owners attitude!) as they did when they first opened.
It's about the only thing that hasn't changed and has stayed stubbornly and exactly the same on the street in the last 10 years.
However, even The Green Man now has tables and chairs on the pavement....they resisted the idea for so long but have now succumbed.
Old hands like me can always say "Oh, yeah..I remember when there were only 4 or 5 bars on this street-now look at it"-but so what?
It is what it is.
But what got me thinking was this;
If you've been down the street a few of times you will by now have chosen a couple of places that you like
You may not know why you like them-but you do and you tend to gravitate towards one bar or another.
There are too many places to list here but if you go early enough you'll find enough bars/restaurants to cater to your tastes and each establishment has a different feel and a different look.
They all have their own character.
There's now even a sort-of-African Bar down at the end of the street opposite the 7-Eleven so you can't say that the street doesn't cater for a very wide clientele.Spanish-style theme  at the top,then Italian, English, Irish, Japanese, Chinese and local/international all rub shoulders with one another....(I'm just waiting for someone to open an Iranian bar designed to look like it was from Tehran in the 70's to cater to the Middle East tourist market!)

by around 11pm when things start to get louder and louder and more frantic and over-crowded and the masses descend desperately looking for a good time...well, it all starts to look exactly the same wherever you look.
It doesn't matter what bar you're at. It could be anywhere. They're. All. The. Same.
As many patrons choose to sit outside, the entertainment becomes the street itself and not what's happening inside the bar.
So, it doesn't really matter where you go-you're going to end up with the same homogenized mass-produced night-out wherever you go....
There seems to be a definite lack of imagination from the bar owners.
They come-up with different styles but in a very narrow framework
Maybe because the rents are so high that they cannot afford to experiment or think outside the box....but what happened to all those quirky bars built around funny themes that were around in the 80's or 90' know what I mean? Like the Stock Market Bars built around the demand of certain drinks where the price would fluctuate or Sports Bars or Fun Pubs or a Beach-bar or the rustic looking French or Spanish Bar?
These days they all look at bit too 'corporate" like they are all franchises or something...

Right.... grumble over-does, anyone fancy a beer? See you on the street!