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Castle Hill Tavern karaoke venue review on www.where2sing.com

Castle Hill Tavern karaoke

If you are living north west of Sydney, and nearly an hour by road, then you've probably been to the Castle Hill Tavern...

It's one of those huge places housing a couple of nightclubs, a bistro, upstairs function room, childrens' playground, outside courtyard, and about three more bars. Honestly, you could go from the cradle to the grave without needing anywhere else.

And since it also has karaoke on a Saturday night, I don't know why you'd actually bother going anywhere else.

In driving there, you seem to be leaving civilisation rather far behind as you turn off the main road into a modern and spacious business park, and after a couple of small roundabouts further down you cannot fail to find the Castle Hill Tavern. There's plenty of parking, but I also noticed a courtesy bus buzzing around - which explained the plentiful supply of parking spaces.

Noise emanates from all parts of the building, but annoys no one as the rest of the business park is fairly deserted. Several entrances in the long, low building have signs announcing things like the nightclubs, but if you head in the Main Entrance you're immediately greeted by the sound of karaoke.

It's a deceptively large, square room. Turn immediately left, and you're heading to the bar. Turn diagonally right, and you're looking at the stage and the karaoke host. 'BP Entertainment' was printed on the huge black fabric banner on the wall behind the stage, along with the sort of naff symbols that have become synonymous with karaoke. Perched atop giraffe-like stands either side of the stage were small speakers - but there was nothing 'small' about the sound they were producing.

Given the choice of directions, I headed left to get a drink; now it's not often that I mention bar staff, let alone to give praise, but I have to commend the management of this place for their obviously comprehensive training. Notice me immediately, move to me before I reach the bar, get eye contact at an appropriate distance, smile and await my order - all done perfectly by the young guy, one of five young people behind the very efficiently laid out bar. Ah yes, you might say, easy when you've got half a football team there to serve - but we're talking about a room already holding upwards of eighty youngsters, and which will build to more than 140 later in the night; and I saw no one ever waiting for more than about fifteen seconds.

There's a note here for all venues out to make the most from their patrons: Oblivious of a sign near the far end of the bar pointing back to the area in which to be served, I stood in the wrong part, but was immediately and extremely courteously served without one hint of displeasure or even any mention of my mistake. I was served in this area about three more times before another customer pointed out the sign to me, and when I did move further down the bar and was served by the same girl as previously, I apologised for my previous mistake, and she simply smiled gorgeously and thanked me for noticing it. And, much later on I saw the young guy clearing half-finished and abandoned glasses from the tables, taking time to check with those standing close to ascertain which to take. This is a very professionally managed establishment, and is, in consequence, an extremely comfortable environment.

I did my normal head-count of patrons, and was surprised to find nearly ninety. The host, an energetic, very presentable young guy, asked for more singers. He then sang himself, and was a competent singer, as one might expect. Quite by chance, I had earlier that day received an email from a W2S 'Roving Reporter' who had visited this venue a couple of weeks prior, and who noted that slow songs were definitely banned, and that the host annoyingly wanted to sing along with everyone. Well, it must have been a different host, because this one could not have been more in keeping with the young vibe of the place, and worked tirelessly, and on . . .(full story on where2sing.com)


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