What happened to the Arrival Hall Miramar Snack Bar at Kai Tak Airport?

Submitted by starcraft6fan on Tue, 05/11/2021 - 16:31

Hi all! I uploaded some stills from movies in the 80s (hopefully it's ok), Aces Go Places 最佳拍檔 1982, and The Occupant 灵气逼人 1984. They all show that there was a Arrival Hall Miramar Snack Bar behind the Arrivals Hall flight display board. The board was then suspended from the ceiling.

kai-tak-arrival-hall-miramar-snack-bar-1.jpg, by starcraft6fan
kai-tak-arrival-hall-miramar-snack-bar-2-board.jpg, by starcraft6fan
kai-tak-arrival-hall-miramar-snack-bar-3-entrance.jpg, by starcraft6fan

Edit: Link to the scene in The Occupant on YouTube: https://youtu.be/w3a5o0nw5A8?t=37

kai-tak-arrival-hall-miramar-snack-bar-4-another-view.jpg, by starcraft6fan

Link to the scene in Aces Go Places on YouTube: https://youtu.be/ehXyYAs3MRQ?t=113

kai-tak-arrival-hall-miramar-snack-bar-5-90s.jpg, by starcraft6fan

A subsequent still from a youtube clip of Kai Tak Airport in the 90s shows the area behind the display board being completely boarded off, the board now being supported from the ground. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETge_x4C-og&t=290s

What happened to the Snack Bar? Why was the area boarded off - presumably too many people were sitting there without buying drinks? If the area was boarded off, what was it being used as?

For a while I was wondering if the movies merely created the set, but then I found the floor plan of the Arrivals Hall in Kai Tak, and it does show a coffee shop under/next to the display board: https://archive.is/CigOE The steel railing underneath the board is present in both the movies as well as the youtube clip.

There is a website called "hkmemory.hk" in which I found a photo of the Kai Tak Arrival Hall claimed to be taken in 1981. On the right of the greyscale photo, there were two gentlemen sitting down at far back. Also, it shows a flower trough instead of the glass wall shown in the second photo above. The copyright of that photo belongs to HKU Library and the registration number is AVN_2-4.

I also noticed that Regal Meridien Hotel, the closest hotel to Kai Tak Airport linked by a flyover, was completed in 1982. There were several eating places within the hotel, so this might have greatly affected the business of the snack bar in the Arrival Hall. The hotel was renamed to Regal Kai Tak Hotel in 1998 when the airport was relocated to Chek Lap Kok and renamed again in 2002 to Regal Oriental Hotel.

Thank you Jimmy, that was very helpful. At least we now know the snack bar was not a movie set!

Looking at the schedules on the board (wrt. the hkmemory.hk photo), Northwest has been flying Tokyo -> Hong Kong since the 60s (https://archive.is/IOiDl) and through the 80s (https://archive.is/XIhRp)

The flight arrival schedules also match up with the schedules seen in the movies above and real March 1980 Kai Tak arrival schedules (which are hopefully correct):

Page 1: https://archive.is/ItN5T

Page 2: https://archive.is/ZaogZ

Page 3: https://archive.is/9A0nV

Impressions were the Snack Bar was not busy nor well patronized.

That said, the Miramar Hotel ceased to be the concessionaire for restaurant services at Kai Tak in 1985. It had a long association with Kai Tak. Scroll to Page 246 of the Hong Kong 1986 - Annual Report for the year 1985 as viewed here 



Maybe the snack bar was closed to make room for an expansion of the passenger handing facilities. From here:


"Stage 5 development of the terminal was commenced in 1984 and completed in 1988, increasing the design capacity to 18 million passengers per annum by adding terminal parking facilities, check - in counters and baggage reclaim units."