This is the follow up post to Browns: Love It…
No bar gets more hate than Browns (except Bar Blu, but that place deserves it*, and Maggies). Here’s a self-interview that seeks insights into the animosity**:
Who hates Browns?
Many British people: apparently, Browns reminds them of pubs (including one called Wetherspoon’s) back on the island(s). Fair enough.
One observer typifies Browns haters as those who “prefer to sit on old stinky beds (known as opium den-style furnishings), smoke hookahs, sip Mojitos and make what they consider devastatingly insightful observations – ‘What’s happening to China ‘s youth has parallels in The Outsiders and Trainspotting.’”
Not all Browns haters fit this category. Some find the place disgustingly low-rent and prefer 49-kuai pints of Carlsberg at elite spots such as Face. Others like the predictable corporate nature of hotel bars such as Centro. Still others consider themselves “cutting edge,” aligned to a fringe music, art or cultural scene that, by definition, requires the rejection of Browns. Finally, a number work for the city’s English-language lifestyle magazines and seemingly were required to swear an oath to scorn anything their readers enjoy.
Why do they hate Browns?
You can’t pretend to be an intellectual, kick back and act like a colonial master, or feel cutting-edge – if you hang at Browns. As M-Dawg put it in an instant message, “Browns is real life. It’s the Grand Central Station of bars. No pretensions, utilitarian, everyone uses it from the businessman and the cultural elite to English teachers and the slightly insane.”
I also think some people hate Browns because they are afraid to dance in public.
Yes, people frequently dance on the bar top at Browns. It’s the often vain and cheesy public equivalent of displaying your singing skill at karaoke.
Isn’t Browns a meat market?
If it is, then places such as Bar Blu, Vics and Suzie Wong are full-on abattoirs. Some people do go to Browns to pick up, but most go with friends, employees, co-workers or students, and represent nearly every nationality, age group and profession.
Does Browns have hookahs?
No. If it did, then those who hate the place would give them up and turn to something else – Chivas and yak’s milk, perhaps. Management isn’t that cruel.
So what does it have?
It has good wings, a decent draft beer selection, high ceilings that disperse smoke, bar and lounge seating, a coat check. It’s close to Q Bar, Bookworm and Tongli Studios. At times, it can feel slightly sleazy and/or dismal, but usually it is fun if you are with a group of friends. Regulars who resemble Steven Segal, Scarlett Johannsson and Kim Jong-Il offer tremendous unintentional comedy.
What would be an example of poetic justice?
If Browns closed up shop and its patrons immediately headed to those bars that the haters frequent. Even better if the patrons arrived in tank tops and baseball hats, and upon entering said “yo.”
** I know at least five people who will think this post is about them. It’s not; it’s based on about 20 comments over the past year.