Weekends have always been busy for city pubs

Weekends have always been busy for city pubs

Bangalore’s pubs are certainly  comparable to the best pubs in the world in terms of look, tone, music, eats and hanging out. Not only ourselves, but expats too vouch for the classy ambience the pubs have and the classy music they play. But does Bangalore have a world-class night life? Not yet. It’s lukewarm, just the beginning. The makings of a night district are there but will take long for Bangalore to have one on the lines of London, Dublin, Seoul or New York.

Seoul has the renowned Shinchon district which has both traditional and modern pubs and plenty of live music on the roads within the district, open till 4 am. The district is exclusive and clearly the hub for youth and working executives. Dublin has the very famous Temple Bar district.

No traveller to Dublin will miss the Guinness beer at one of the oldest pubs of the city - also called The Temple Bar. People sip beer watching traditional Irish music played live. London has the world renowned Soho district - the hub of nightlife and entertainment. The Soho district is famously called the titan of the London night - where you get to see strip clubs and sex shops, cocktail bars, cellar bars and clubs with the bitter beer.

Pub representatives say Bangalore is nothing like the three cities and would take years to build and boast of a high-voltage, elite and exclusive night-entertainment district.  Asked whether Bangalore has a world-class night life, a pub veteran who did not want to be named and who has been with Guzzlers Inn for long, said it in one word, ‘’No’’.

Asked again whether there was at least a semblance of it, he said: “There are signs of a very frail night life now, but its going to take very long before we can speak of an elite entertainment district in Bangalore.” Guzzlers has an ambience that brings in lot more people towards evenings than at late nights.

Ashish Kothare of Legends of Rock and Le Rock, two popular pubs, one in Koramangala and the other on Brigade Road cross says there is no craze over nightlife. “There are some signs of night-life but there isn’t a vast movement. Typically two groups come to pubs - college going youth between 21 and 26 years and working executives between 28 and 35 years. The executive group is a mature crowd.

They stay on till 12 midnight, maybe 12.15 am, but not really till 1 am. It is just one bunch that stays on till 1 am - college youth. The mature crowd feel satisfied by midnight and do not want to stretch their time. There is some relief in not having to rush home by 11 pm or 11.15 pm. My assessment is that all pubs in the city see this divide and youth tend to stay longer. Overall I’d say as of now the extension of time has made a 10 per cent difference. Things are a bit relaxed.”

A representative of Hard Rock Cafe says there is a mild difference after extension of timings till 1 am. “We have noticed recently a part of the crowd comes in after 9.30 pm. Typically people were used to winding up at 11.15 pm. Now, some sections of youth and working lot, including expats, stay on a bit longer. There has been a small difference, but it remains to be seen over a few months what the trend is.”

Pekos Pub on Brigade Road cross has altogether decided to stay away from late night service. Pekos personnel said the pub closes at 10.30 pm, urging people to leave by 11 pm. “Safety is a key concern for us. We would like to have people go home safe. Also, a different licence is required to work as per the new regulations. As of now, we are happy working with the original timings and shut shop by 11 pm.”

The Tavern Pub on Museum Road is open till 1 am on weekends. Their personnel say that the pub sees a lot of executives and a sprinkling of youth. As the new timings have opened up the weekend, the pub has begun to see groups coming in at 10 pm and even 10.30 pm, aware that they can relax till 1 am. We cannot say that there’s a massive change, but some people tend to stay a bit longer. Typically older people stay on till 12 midnight and sign off.”

But most agree that Bangalore is westernised a fair bit, not so much as to be better than the westerners themselves in the entertainment space. The cantonment in Bangalore is the symbol of everything modern, while the city areas are traditional with plenty of traditional communities and professions. The pubs in Bangalore came with the British, but local people here who experienced a semblance of British/western culture adopted it.

Bangalore then got all its famous pubs through these new people who liked the English/Western spirit and who were called the emerging middle-class of India. Nightlife or not, the pub culture is here to stay.

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