Solana is a new, sprawling shopping mall by Chaoyang Park, opened just in time for the Olympics. It’s received a decent amount of exposure in the media (it has an LL Bean store!), and the All-Star Sports Bar & Grill, a high-end sports bar, has been pimping its place in all the entertainment magazines. The bar boasted that it was going to have 60+ flat-screen TVs, so I had to check it out.
I went to Solana this afternoon and found … nobody. Well, I’m not counting the construction crews that were feverishly trying to finish parts of the mall. Three days before the Opening Ceremony and the brand spankin’ new mall was virtually empty.
And perhaps worst of all, the sports bar looked like it was weeks from being finished despite claims that it was opening on August 2. But I won’t rule out the bar opening by Friday (the day of the Opening Ceremony) — in China, stores seemingly pop up overnight.
For all the ballyhoo about the financial windfall of the Olympics, I just don’t see many businesses prospering (Not to mention the ones that were closed by officials). There’s just too much competition, too many bars to patronize, too many nightlife areas and too many choices. Some one has to be losing a lot of money.