Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Gladstone Hotel Renovations: What new changes mean for Gladstone Karaoke

Folks, I’ve gotten to see the renovations at the Gladstone Hotel and learn about the changes going on there. The renovations themselves actually give the Melody Bar a nice face lift. Like many restaurants today they are going for the night lounge motif. This makes party events easier to host and facilitates more mingling. The booths on the east side are gone in favor of a longer bench with separation tables making it easier to seat more people. The couch in the back is replaced with a small lounge seat and longer tables. The front has low table made of 3 large stumps slices giving a more formal look. The center now has a stand up table to expand the bar and some fashionable muffling material has been mounted on the ceiling to improve sound/noise levels.

The Melody Bar alterations I found positive but what will be disturbing for karaoke fans are the karaoke schedule changes:

Old Schedule: 10 AM to 2 AM
New Schedule: 12 AM to 2:30 AM

This cuts the karaoke show in half! Live Acts are being moved from 8 PM to 10 PM. This is a grievous turn for karaoke loves. Almost feels like they intend to eventually cut the karaoke all together. And with it could happen. This is the second change to the karaoke schedule in as many years. Earlier they cut the Thursday night karaoke although Thursdays don't draw really a large crowds on average. I spoke to one of the Gladstone managers about the changes and what motivated them. The response was the Gladstone is looking to generate more revenue from the dining crowd and requests had been made for more dining. The schedule change were the response.

We karaoke fans know most shows start at between 10 to 11 PM for the reason that they draw better crowds. Midnight shows tend to get people drifting in from nightclubs and few of those dine and often had had plenty to drink elsewhere. In my experience late start times like this draw a lessor crowd. A lower attendance may give the Gladstone a reason to cut the karaoke completely and thus reduce thus budget. Many places are under pressure to cut costs due to people dining out less on average owing to concerns about the economy. My fear is this could backfire on the Gladstone in terms of attendance and revenue. It will certainly hurt karaoke lovers. The best case scenario is the same audience attendence, inability to sing due to reduced show times and same long queue. The most likely case is karaoke lovers are turned off because of the later start time and reduced duration and go elsewhere. (Most Karaoke Restaurants start at 10 PM and there are numerous examples on this blog)

The food is still amazing (sampled quite of bit of the new food, I especially recommend the nachos) and I’m told an expanded menu has been done to draw more diners to the Gladstone.

If, like me, you feel that this schedule shift at the Melody Bar is not ideal for karaoke lovers or their business in general, please write to the Gladstone Management and owner and let them know what you think. Best people to e-mail to are Alec Badley, the Hotel Manager at alec at gladstonehotel.com, and Christina Ziedler, Hotel President at Christina at gladstonehotel.com. Hopefully we can convince the Gladstone management to find another way to allow people to enjoy the dining without endangering one of the great karaoke traditions in Toronto.



At 11:27 AM, Blogger milo said...

i was actually very disappointed in the new menu it offered none of the fresher option i would typically choose and instead only had burger, poutines, and fish and chips. It was one of my favourite places to get weeknight dinner but i will have a hard time convincing my partner to ever return after waiting 20 minutes for a drink in the lack luster service we experienced since the renovation.

At 9:25 AM, Blogger Michael Clarke said...

If you want to catch the professional working crowd you need to keep the 8-10 spot open for Karaoke.


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