More and more youngsters in Bengaluru are ditching pubs and restaurants and opting for house parties instead.
The reasons are many, from the infamous ban on live music to the high prices of drinks and food.
Communications professional Vishaal Mudholkar attends house parties three times a month, mostly on weekends, and also occasionally hosts them.
“It’s expensive to go out and party outside, especially if you are a stag entry. Also, house parties are safer. On many occasions, I’ve personally witnessed bar fights. I’d rather party at a friend’s place or my place or even rent a villa and throw a party there,” he says.
What if neighbours complain about loud music?
“We sometimes take permission from them or inform them in advance. If they complain we apologise and decrease the volume,” he says.
For Sneha Chakrabarty, also a communications professional, house parties are economical and convenient.
“You can choose to dress up or not, have a closed group, control the volume of music, order food according to individual choice, and no one has to worry about drinking and driving back home,” she says.
When it comes to dressing up, it’s a relief for guests they don’t have to. As Sneha says, “You don’t have to kill yourself wearing your stilettos.”
Sneha James, PR professional, says house parties are a time to try your hand at cooking. You can also play card games and generally have a good time. “Good food and music are a constant. Phones are usually banned during this time,” she says.
MNC employee Sreeja Sreedharan doesn’t like going out, so house parties are a default choice, but she acknowledges challenges exist.
“Firstly, it really helps if you live in a cool place. Then your neighbours don’t mind and you can play music. Also, you don’t know how drunk your guests are going to get. If it’s a pub or bar, they usher you out. But in your house, you have to do the cleaning if it gets messed up,” she says.
Then there is the problem of the ‘plus one’. “Sometimes guests bring a plus one with them and you might not be comfortable with having random people in the house. But thankfully, this hasn’t happened to me,” she says.
Sreeja has dogs and lets her guests know upfront she is not going to lock them up in a room or put them outside. “I ask them not to wear black, and generally to be careful. And of course, I tell them in advance what the menu is,” she says. People with children find house parties safer and easier for feeding and naps.
Why this aversion to going out? Dr Sumalatha, clinical psychologist at BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital, lists commuting stress and fatigue among the reasons.
She says ‘noise annoyance’ has is now recognised as an important environmental stressor.
“People avoid noisy places when stressed. Noise annoyance may be accompanied by negative emotional responses, such as irritability, distress, exhaustion, and a wish to escape the noise. Severe annoyance has been associated with reduced well-being and health,” she told Metrolife.
Tweak: Pubs offer house-party menus
Many pubs and restaurants, aware of the trend of house parties, are changing their strategies. Some are adding exclusive house party menus to their range. Ranveer Sabhani, business head (south), Impresario Entertainment and Hospitality, notices a global trend towards ordering in.
“More and more people prefer dining in, and lazing around and watching Netflix. With the music problem in Bengaluru today, people are moving towards entertaining in their own houses,” he says. Impresario owns the Social pub chain in Bengaluru. Its customers can now order in or take away food by the kilo. “They can choose to order 500 gm, 750 gm or one kilo. The usual favourites like the ‘China boxes’ and the ‘Andhra mutton biriyani’ are in great demand,” he says.
Kanchan Achpal, chief of marketing, Smoor Lounge, says people especially in gated communities want to chill in their own homes.
“They didn’t want ready snacks that lose flavour during reheating. So we came up with dishes that are marinated, like cottage cheese and chicken, which they just have to cook and give the final touches to,” she says. They also set dishes in cutlery that the customer brings in. “From lasagna to macaron towers, people ask for dishes that they can go home and set on their tables in their own cutlery. A lot of people also give us their silverware to put desserts in,” she says.
Why house parties?
Saves money: Drinks and snacks don’t cost a fortune. Neither do you have to pay premium cab fares. GST up to 28 per cent and tips can together burn a big hole in your pocket. (Five-star restaurants charge 28 per cent GST, whereas A/C and alcohol-serving restaurants and resto-bars charge 18 per cent. Non-AC and non-alcohol places are subject to 12 per cent GST.)
Music you like: You can play your favourite genre at a volume comfortable to you, instead of putting up with whatever the DJ plays (and they mostly don’t even take requests).
No screaming: You can chat with your friends and catch up on the latest gossip and not scream to be heard over loud music.
No time restrictions: As long as you are not disturbing your neighbours, your party can go on till whenever you want.
No driving back: You don’t have to designate a driver. And everyone can sleep it off till the morning and then go their way.
A party that costs Rs 20,000 at a pub can cost anywhere between Rs 6,000- Rs 8,000 at home (approximately).