Cynically called by some as the 'city of the tired and the retired', Chandigarh is now waking up, literally, and even shaking a spirited leg.
Night life, which was an alien concept for most Chandigarh residents till a few years ago, is suddenly alive as a night-clubbing culture is seeing more young and middle-aged people becoming part of the circuit. Whether you are a pub crawler who starts the weekend with a round of shots, or a happy camper in quieter locales, or you want to shake a leg to the latest dance numbers, Chandigarh has something for each one of you.
Be it a lounge, a night club or a discotheque, options in the city are growing by the day and night life is certainly becoming more happening now. And it's not the 'hard rock' and popular desi numbers alone that are luring people.
Over the past few months, Sufi music has infiltrated Chandigarh with live band performances popping up all across the city. From teenagers to the older generation, everyone seems to be obsessed with the ongoing trend.
Satva, a bar and lounge in Sector 26, has been the hot spot for hosting Sufi nights. The Pewter Room (TPR), just a block away, is the most recent to have joined the bandwagon.
Ritvick, a freelance event manager, told IANS: "This genre of music has a great deal of influence because we have all grown up on Sufi music, in some form or the other. It also has a commercial element that speaks to everyone regardless of age."
Rubia Chauhan, a regular party goer, said: "Gurunazar (a city-based band) night at Satva is my favourite. I eagerly wait to attend this Sufi night every week. It is relaxing and soulful after a hectic week of work."
Theme-based parties and special nights too are gaining popularity. The drinks, lights and music, everything is customized.
At nightclub The Blue Blazer, Sufi evenings every Friday are attracting good crowds. The place gets different bands from Delhi and Mumbai and the weekly event is already a rage among the live music lovers.
"Fridays truly rock as people get into the groove and sing and dance along with the band. The night is for people who want a great evening without a clubbing atmosphere," Ganeev Bains, owner of The Blue Blazer and TPR, told IANS.
And it is not only the couples and men who are having the best of times.
New attractions are there for girls or women and the club owners make a special effort to fascinate women customers on Wednesdays. Popularly known as the 'ladies night', where free drinks are served to the ladies, the idea is being lapped up by the target audience.
Neha Singh, owner of Girl In The Cafe, Sector 17, said: "Wednesday is the most important night of the week for us. This place is packed with women."
"Now, there is no hesitation unlike in the past. If a girl drinks, people do not look down or stare slyly any more. People have changed in our society. We are happy that the city is catching up with the metros," Swati Kukreja, a student at Panjab University's Law department, told IANS.
Peddlers in Sector 35 has given a new twist to the party scenario in the city. It's like an old English pub, and what makes it different from the others is that it has karaoke nights on Wednesdays to open jam sessions on Fridays.
"You can walk into this place wearing a T-shirt and shorts and no one will give you a look. This place is casual yet stylish," said Vipul Dua of Peddlers.
"Out of all, my favourite party destination is The Blue Blazer. A couple of years ago, there was hardly any night life in Chandigarh whereas of late the scenario is different," says Manpreet Singh Sarkaria, an entrepreneur.
Be it the city's youngsters, their Punjabi parents who swear by the Patiala peg, or working youth trickling in from other regions, all know how to make the best of the city's night life.
With a heady Punjabi flamboyance thrown in, things now really get 'spirited' late nights in Chandigarh.
(Mannat Mundi can be contacted at email@example.com)