One of Hong Kong's most famous night spots, the China City Night Club, has closed, a victim of higher rents and changing tastes, media reports said on Saturday.
Famed for its lavish decoration, raunchy Las Vegas-style dancing shows, hundreds of escort girls and a raft of regular celebrity customers, the China City Night Club was the first club to combine Chinese and Japanese debauchery.
Described as Hong Kong's "only world-class nightclub" after it opened in 1982, the club became the place for businessmen to celebrate multi-million dollar business deals, spending as much as US$5,000 on food, drink and the companionship of a bevy of girls.
Celebrities were also enthusiastic patrons of the club that hosted visits by Brazilian football legend Pele and Hollywood star Sylvester Stallone.
The success of the nightclub mirrored the economic growth of Hong Kong as the former British colony capitalized on its position as the gateway to China.
In its heyday in the 1980s and early 1990s the club attracted more than 700 customers a night and raked in more than HK$1 million (US$128,000) a night.
But with the opening up of China and the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the nightclub went into decline. By the time it closed, the nightclub was attracting fewer than 100 customers a night and income dropped to less than HK$100,000 a night.
Speaking at the closing party, the nightclub's executive director Philip Ng said: "We've got customers from all over the world to share reminiscences about the time when millions of dollars worth of business deals were settled in the club and bottle after bottle of brandy were opened. But those days are no more."
Instead, Ng is planning to open another club, in a similar style, in the booming former Portuguese enclave of Macau, about an hour's ferry ride from Hong Kong.
Ng said that he believed the new club would more readily attract high-rolling gamblers from China who are being lured to Macau by its fast-growing casino industry.