Sober weekend: pubs, bars open without spirits

Sober weekend: pubs, bars open without spirits

Sober weekend: pubs, bars open without spirits

Music played to empty chairs and tables at popular resto-bars and pubs on Church Street on Saturday.

The street’s many watering holes have gone dry to comply with a Supreme Court order banning the sale of alcohol within 500 metres of national highways. M G Road, parallel to Church Street, is officially a national highway, and the ban kicked in on July 1.

“Church Street is sleeping today,” said Dominic Aprem, manager of Coco Grove beer cafe. He has never seen the street, known for its boisterous parties, this quiet.

“You see hundreds of youngsters walking about on Saturdays, but today only office-goers are here,” he said.

Waiters stood around without any work. The odd customer who strayed in walked away on being told no alcohol was being served.

The scene was similar at other resto-pubs on the road. The crowd was sparse at Russh, which was serving mocktails and had its kitchen open.

Manager Denzil Das said, “We are just going to wait and hope that we are able to start serving liquor again.”

If that doesn’t happen, the crowds could get used to a dry Church Street, he mused.

Himadri, a student out with friends, was surprised she couldn’t get beer anywhere. “Church Street has no charm without these pubs and bars. I wouldn’t come here just for the food because you can have that anywhere. As it is, the food in bars is generally overpriced,” she said.

Older hang-outs like Koshy’s were not hit as hard but certainly opened to a dull weekend. “In the morning and afternoon, the crowd was not bad. But the evening rush that we used to see is absent,” an employee said.

Most customers did not know Koshy’s wasn’t serving alcohol. “By next week, everyone will be aware and we expect this place to be empty,” he said. Maya Chettri and her friends were excited they got into Church Street Social without having to wait for a table.

“We had never been to Social before; there is always a long queue and waiting list. We were happy we got in and then realised why there was no crowd,” she said.

Her group settled for fresh-lime soda and finger food.

Two other popular hangouts in Indiranagar and Koramangala that DH visited also wore a deserted look. The usual weekend buzz was gone.

They are here

UB City saw an unusually huge turnout on Saturday. Many groups had strolled up from Church Street to enjoy drinks and dinner. Vittal Mallya Road is technically 500 metres away from M G Road, and so the highway liquor ban does not apply to it.

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