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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

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February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Karaoke Heroes

Cathay Pacific

Recently, there was an article in the Boston Globe regarding my favorite DJ karaokist Joe Pet, but I think I can do a better job describing the scene, the singers, and why it’s so popular. There are monetary contests, the food is fabulous, and it attracts college students because of its proximity to UMB.

For good food, perhaps a Pu Pu platter or General Tso’s chicken, and near-professional entertainment, competition is fierce. It’s definitely a cool place for Quincians and Bostonians to strike a note for American Idol wannabes.

Every night is different with all types of singers-some very talented, some less so. Also, there are some people who are more known for their showmanship than for their singing. Great food, great entertainment, and great service are a part of Cathay Pacific.

The parking lot is always full for a reason. The 30-year-old establishment, one of the longest running restaurants on the South Shore, is somewhat of a landmark visibly located at the apex of Hancock and Newport Avenue, right over the Neponset Bridge.

A friend of mine, the Veteran’s Affairs Representative at UMB, calls it “Cathay Pathetic,” because it is a little cheesy with its lion statues and gold crown moldings. But cheesy is fun, and after a few White Russians I am ready to sing Colbie Caillat or Jewel. And who doesn’t love my rendition of The Perry Band’s “If I Die Young”? I even got third place in the semifinals on my 30th birthday.

“Lots of college kids come in on Tuesday night for the karaoke. What makes this place unique is the cocktails, meals, and atmosphere. Everybody comes here for something different,” said George Chu, general manager at Cathay Pacific for 20 years.

Chu said he likes the diversity of people that come to the restaurant. “We are a people-oriented staff. People should come here because it is a friendly, comfortable and clean establishment.” He admitted that he doesn’t sing, because it would scare away the customers.

Chu explained that some people come here for the entertainment or to see the news. During our interview an on-duty cop peeked into the bar to catch a glimpse of the Red Sox game.

Between acts, Pet sings, too. It always makes me chuckle, because he has a classy Italian suaveness about him, and he very often sings gushy 80’s love songs. Again cheesy, but cheesy is sometimes good.

“I enjoy this job a lot and some of [the people] are very talented. It is very relaxed, and laid back with no pressure. Everyone is friendly here,” said Pet.

The audience is as diverse as the music. Gerard works in a prison and commutes to Cathay from Attleboro. “I have been coming here for 15 years. I like to sing and I like the atmosphere. The people are really nice. People think I am a rapper because of my head scarf, but I really like to sing Country and R&B. Joe [Pet] is wonderful.”

“I come here when I have a chance for the entertainment and a drink. I work a lot in various hotels in Boston, sometimes very late,” said Manny, who admits shyly in his strong Spanish accent that he “does not have a singing voice.”

A variety of music is readily available. People from all walks of life, young or old, distinguished or casual, come together at Cathay Pacific to enjoy a drink, sing, eat, or just watch. Pet boasts that he has over 275,000 songs and he does his best to keep up with the new songs to “keep it fresh.”

This blue-collar ambience is unusual, with a clash of ornate Chinese decorations and a rustic, casual bar. While the Cathay staff and management work hard to please the crowd, Pet continues to entice karaoke lovers.

About the Contributor
Felicia Whatley served as the following positions for The Mass Media the following years: Managing Editor: Spring 2009 *News Editor: 2009-2010 *Whatley served alongside Caleb Nelson for these years.