Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Nominator

Last week, I was picked - "at random" - to contribute suggestions for this year's Bar and Club Awards from The Beijinger magazine.

After careful thought, I gave my 'Best Bar' nod to Salud - because, this being a general survey of the bar scene citywide, I thought it inappropriate to just bang the drum for a few of my quirky personal favourites. Of course, I have a much deeper affection for spots like 12 Square Metres and Amilal and The Pool Bar, but these are never - I hope - the kind of places that are going to attract a mass following. I feel these awards ought to recognise the bars that are doing enough things consistently right to draw large and diverse crowds on a regular basis. By that criterion, Salud wins hands down - at least amongst the bars that I frequent.

At the nomination stage, the magazine is trying out some new categories this year, but I think it's unlikely many of them will make it into the final awards ('Sexiest Bar Staff'??!!). This did, however, give me the opportunity to boost some of my pet faves: Amilal clearly has the 'Best Music Selection' of any bar in the history of the world ever, while Mao Mao Chong deserves puffs as 'Hidden Gem' and 'Best Cocktail Selection', and 12 Square Metres is surely the city's 'Friendliest Bar' (er, or is that just because I'm friends with the owners?) and has the 'Best Whisky Selection' (very narrowly over Amilal).

Some of the other categories I declined to register any preference in. I know nothing about the city's nightclub scene (other than that Club Le Zazou sucks donkey balls). I don't approve of 'whisky bars' - they seem to me to be one of those uniquely strange efflorescences of Japanese culture, very nearly as weird and objectionable as schoolgirl-panty vending machines. I don't understand how 'Best Decor' functions as an award category: for me, the supreme, the only merit in a bar's decor is that you don't notice it; if you notice it, they're trying too hard, and it's probably shit; if you don't notice it, it's probably 'good', but you can't very well nominate it for an award. And I objected to 'Best Cheap Drinks' as an oxymoron: there are either Fake Drinks or Expensive Drinks - ain't no middle path any more.

It will be interesting (well, no, it will probably just be depressing) to see how far the seething expat masses concur with my views.

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