Saturday, December 05, 2009

'Cool Docks' Get a Cold Reception

The 'Cool Docks', colloquially known as "Lao Ma Tou", was supposed to be the new, exciting, "in" place in Shanghai, a worthy successor and worthwhile competitor to Xintiandi, a wildly popular entertainment/resto/live band complex with restored "Shikumen"-style architecture, where thousands of locals and foreigners converge every night to eat and party and let their hair loose while in Shanghai.

Hence, yours truly braved the extreme cold and ventured forth to this night spot. Surprisingly, the staff at the hotel and the taxi driver were not familiar with the place, and it took a bit of persistent questioning before someone produced the name of the Cool Docks in Chinese characters.

Which should really have been a tip-off for me. Why?

After alighting from the cab, and entering the complex, one is greeted with absolute silence, and lack of any human crowd whatsoever.

I mentally calculated the number of people present whilst talking a walk around the complex. Let me see, maybe 20 paying customers in total? Not quite the numbers the people who conceptualized this place had in mind, that's for sure!

The array of restos is not so bad. Cuisines represented are Greek, Indian, Chinese, American (steakhouse), etc. with some coffee shops and tea houses (even Starbucks is here).

I finally settled on Mythos (Greek resto), where the staff saw fit to put me on the 3rd floor. Strange, because only one table was occupied on the 1st floor (2 persons at that!), and the 2nd floor was totally empty. So, i was the only patron on the 3rd floor!
(see below pic of Mythos interiors)

And while the food wasn't bad (expensive, though), it was a rather weird experience with 3 wait-staff hanging on to your every bite of food you eat and every sip of juice you take. :D

Oh, and that ubiquitous Starbucks branch? TOTALLY EMPTY!

You might say the Cool Docks is totally un-cool at the moment (pun intended). Which is a bit puzzling, really. Lest one thinks the people in Shanghai were opting to stay at home due to the cold weather, i went to Xintiandi the night after, and the place was packed to the rafters. Go figure.

So, if you happen to be in Shanghai, check this place out. . .before it closes down! :D

(The 'Cool Docks' is located at 505 Zhongshan Nan Lu, Shanghai, a stone's throw from the Bund)