Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Hunt Bar, Nagpur

The Hunt Bar
Hotel Tuli International

I must confess that this only bar that I was taken to in Nagpur was a huge eye opener for me. Comfortably cushioned chairs with enough space to curl up on your individual chair (after those little itsy bitsy pieces that pass off for chairs in Bangalore's pubs) . Muted lighting that was neither harsh on the eyes nor forced your pupils to alternatively contract/dilate because of the ever changing intensity. Well airconditioned. Muted hindi ghazals (the crowning factor) wooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhh what an experience!!

Drinking in Nagpur is quite reasonable so I'm guessing prices aren't too high. One thing nice about being a woman is that friends (male) you are meeting for the first time offer to buy you drinks. (this doesn't last too long though when they realise the quantity they are going to have to pay for ).

So I wasn't allowed to look at the menu. Complimentary nuts and chips were provided with bowls being constantly refilled. The setting was meant for Rum&Cokes so didn't even venture to try the cocktails. Crowd was sparse, so lots of breathing room. The few executives venturing to do business in Nagpur normally find themselves here at the end of an evening. Be prepared to see a couple of firangs around.

Service was non intrusive and pleasant

Saturday, November 03, 2001

Sparks, Bangalore

133, Raheja Chancery
Brigade Road, Opp. All Saints Bakery
Ph : 223 0306
BoB : 1.4

In my opinion Sparks is the best of the 3 joints that opened together around the same area. The other 2 being Urban Edge and Mars 2211. Sparks has one of the best lighting effects that I have seen in a Bangalore pub. Some really cool pyrotechnics happen with their lighting system. Not being an engineer I cannot give you more technical details, but believe me those lights are a real trip once u r on a high. Its a milder version of watching jalwa on a high. (the original jalwa not this digen $^!!ty verma remix)

The music, totally depends on their theme or DJ for the day. I have gone there on the 70's 80's flashback nite and the music was out of this world. I have been there on the Caribeean night and they had good rockin reggae and R&B kind of music. Some tribal nite they had this really lousy stuff, which the much hyped DJ Ivan kept talking of as "Listen to the tribal music" "Swing to the tribal music" "rock to the tribal music" every 10 mins. It was like the public around would definitely not mistake that stuff for tribal music, but because DJ Ivan says its tribal music and keeps re-inforcing it, then it must be so.

In short, take a quick peek, if u don't like the first 2 songs you hear, then leave the place and go somewhere else. You are not going to like any music over the rest of the evening at Sparks. Believe me.

Drinks are higher priced. Cocktails are between 180/- and 360/- The cointreau was ok, except for the grenadine light overload. BOB is about 1.4. Their snacks are decent. Check out the Fish Fingers. As their ad says "Wicked Lighting & music to wake up the spirits." Just chose the day when the music is to your taste.

Mondays - Rock
Tuesdays - Retro
Thursdays - Reggae & R&B
Fridays - DJ Ivan & friends.

Tuesday, September 18, 2001

TGIF, Bangalore

1 Carlton Tower,
Airport Road.
Phone : 5210570 / 5210571
Timings : 11am - 11pm
Bob : 1.5

TGIF is one of the couple of new pubs that have opened recently in Bangalore. Decided to check it out, having had a reasonably good experience of the TGIF in Chicago and in Delhi.

D‚cor is the standard TGIF stuff, with the propeller and the dollar bill on it signed by all the employees present at the opening of the pub. The propeller in Bangalore had a dollar bill, a 100 rupee bill and another note that I could not identify (definitely not due to the alcoholic contents of my cocktails). The bell and other stuff was supposed to be around but couldn’t see it too well because of this red lighting that they had. There is a huge karaoke screen too for those who are enthu enuff to want to exhibit their vocal talent or those who are too drunk to bother about their lack of it.

BOB varies between 1 to 1.5 depending on which brand that you want to try. Be warned though, there is a steep import tax on foreign brands. TGIF’s has a wonderful array of cocktails just begging to be tried until you read the fine print and realise that at Rs300/- + 63% import tax + 10.5% sales tax, tulleho wouldn’t be reimbursing you the cost of even a single cocktail at its current rates.

The food is bad. Do not go here if you are feeling peckish/hungry, you would be better off grabbing a couple of rolls at Fanoos in Johnson market before you arrive. The chicken wings were spicier at the US outlets than in the Bangalore branch. Their food was blander than the stuff I have tasted at the Goa beach shacks, which cater to exclusively foreign clientele.

Crowd is varied. Quite a few westerners, a couple of high-flying, suited-booted executives winding down after a hard days work, a couple of rich spoilt brats gloriously unrecognisable in their holi ka gulaal, even saw a couple of school kids in their uniforms celebrating the end of exams (not too sure about what they were drinking though).

I ordered a desi pina colada (the 63% tax remember) and it was like a slush rather than a cocktail. They had put in some kind of dessicated coconut as an extremely poor substitute for coconut milk and my drink was 98% finely crushed ice. I guess they try to freeze the drinkers tongue to cover up for the lack of potency.

They had this huge sign saying “Try Dad’s original root beer” and a couple of other posters marketing its low calorie value. But all our requests for a dads root beer were turned down as not being available. Why advertise a drink if you don’t stock it ?

TGIF is supposedly open from 11 to 11. I do not think the afternoon break to serving alcohol applies to these guys. They have happy hours from 4 to 7 I guess, but am not too sre about this. Happy hours are on a 2 for one basis but not all drinks are available for this scheme.

My advice would be not to go to this place unless you have money to burn or have a friend or colleague who owes you a treat. Too damn expensive as a drinking joint in Bangalore where VFM (Value 4 money) is expected by most inhabitants.

Monday, August 27, 2001

Black Cadillac, Bangalore

Cha Che Towers,
50 Residency Road.

Located in Cha Che Towers. Same place as the White Dwarf. Opposite Purple Haze & Zapp. How many more landmarks do you want ???? Having entered Bangalore lately, I haven't seen BC in its previous avataar, so someone else might like to elaborate on that. But they have supposedly gone in for a revamp (which was why it had been closed 4 eternity, or what felt like it). It is located in the basement of chache towers (now isn't there some legislation against that in Bangalore city????)

As you walk in, the blue lighting hits you and so does the smell of food. Have you entered a pub or a restaurant you think as it looks more like a garden restaurant than a snazzy pub. Then you go inside where you do get the pubby feel (if u get wot i mean) And then you also have the option of moving outside into the open air. aah heaven !!! not to be clogged down by cigarette smoke!!!. There are these broken up vintage cars postioned along the wall. But they don't distract you for too long from the eyesore of the peeling paint of the rest of the building in whose basement BC is located. Music is good. Mostly retro, but now, they do ease in to crowd demand once-in-a-way and play the noise that passes off as music these days.

BOB is between .7 for an ice beer and 1.1 for others. Rum is about 70 for old monk and 75 for bacardi. The kababs weren't too good so I wouldn't recommend snacking here. Instead of being tender and juicy, they seemed encrusted in something resembling chinese rather than indian cooking. The raja special wasn't good either. So don't eat @ this place. No complimentary snacks. Snacks range between 75 - 200.

This piece wouldn't be complete till I share the PJ's about their washrooms. The gents room says "Elton John" and the Ladies says "Olivia Newton John". Nice place to relax when you want to go to a hip joint where u don't have to feel ashamed of your age or figure because of the over-abundance of anorexic 15+s .

Published on in 2001

Sunday, July 29, 2001

Zapp, Bangalore

Below Purple Haze
Residency Road

Remember the discoesque thing that Purple Haze had opened on its first floor called Funky Town ??? Well its been given a makeover and is called "Zapp" in its new avataar. Going by the success of all the retro nites in this pub city, the owners decided that this pub would only play retro stuff. Music is ultra cool for all the yuppies who no longer can understand the stuff played in pubs on "regular" days. Total jiveable, danceable numbers. They do not yet have a video collection as good as Purple Haze itself, but u can c the beginnings of it. They play the videos of whatever song is playing. See the similarity with Purple Haze as opposed to Urban Edge where he plays anything and passes it off for music while "Tom & Jerry" cavort on the big screen.The DJ is accomodating with requests but not about playing after 11:00PM.

Seating is warm and cozy. As the volume isn't ear-drum blasting it is possible to carry on a conversation with some effort (that is if you aren't jiving away on the floor). They have these little cabins along the wall and tables down the center. The dance floor is 70's style with lights on the floor that throw their beams upwards. Food is decent : we had some chicken tikkas and some other stuff. MOB is Rs80/- BOB depends on the brand. Cocktails were 150 onwards. The coconut daiquiri was good, the pina colada a little too sweet but ok. This pub opened on the 27th of July and hasn't really promoted itself too well, so it is relatively undiscovered. Give it a couple of weeks and it will evolve into a hipper Catholic Club without the price discounts on alcohol.

Saturday, June 30, 2001

Opium, Bangalore

Carlton Towers
Behind TGIF
Airport Road

Ok, that Behind TGIF, is soon going to change to "TGIF is in the same complex as Opium u know". Yes Opium is opening on the 4th of July and I think the owner has something going here. There's some connection with the ownership of Purple Haze out here.

Opium is built on the lines of the Lounge Bars that have been gaining popularity in Mumbai. They have these sofas and really comfortable seating areas on one side. Chairs in the middle, and a huge bar at the other end. The lighting and paintings are supposed to represent dawn to dusk, so the sofa area is well lit up and this gradually darkens down till you reach the bar. The floor has these little lights in between. Kind of silvery walls. I felt it had a quality of understated chic and elegance.

The first thing u see as you enter is the DJ console located just at the entrance but way above it. Constant scrutiny still didn't help me identify how he ever got into that little way-up section -- there didn't seem to be a particular entry/exit point to get into that console. Final analysis: he uses a ladder to climb into that cubby hole of his, and then the ladder is taken away so he remains out-of-bounds for the rest of the evening.

This same guy is opening an open air restaurant next to Opium and an Indian restaurant next to that, so we were kind of sampling everything. If you ever go here, do have their Chocolate Mousse its better than anything i've tasted anywhere. As we were not shown a menu card, I am not too sure of the rates. But he said they would be commensurate with those of Sparks, Urban Edge and Mars 2211.

Music was decent and played at a reasonable decibel level. Try their chinese crispy fried vegetables. Their cocktails are also good. Well blended. Definitely worth a try.

Later changed my opinion, their food isnt good at all. Its this night n day kind of decor. N they no longer put in as much rum in the mousse as they did on the first day. "People Complained" or so they say

Thursday, June 21, 2001

Cosmo Village, Bangalore

Midway between Shoppers Stop and Brigade Road.

Nice quiet joint. In the early days (2-3 years back) they used to have these really comfy sofas where you could put your feet up (literally), sample some fusion cuisine and enjoy your drink. The low lit, no music blasting kind of place.

Although Cosmo has gone in for 3 new looks for its 3 floors, the music is still at a pleasant decibel level, the waiters still courteous. and the ambience is still something out of a 60's Hollywood flick. At least at the terrace level.

The terrace level is something like the 180 Proof garden in a way. With individual sofas and an eclectic yet comfy feel about it. Of the other 2 levels, one reminded me of the 180 ft restaurant in Indiranagar. The other was comfy sofas in an air conditioned room. The terrace level's my favourite because of the added open air advantage.

Drinks are about a 100 bucks a peg. CD's are 20-25 bucks extra. Snacks are in the 100-250 range. They serve good dinner too. So if you want to make a meal of Khau Sway or a similar single dish meal after you are done with the liquid refreshments, then this is a nice place to go to.

Ideal for a casual, open yet intimate kind of evening.

Saturday, June 16, 2001

Downtown, Bangalore

41/42 Residency Plaza
Residency Road
Ph : 5582050
Timings: 11 A.M to 11 P.M
Happy hours: 11 A.M-6 P.M (50% off)
Bob : 0.8

I guess I will always be a little senti about this pub because this was the first pub that I had seen the insides of around 6 years back. I loved the music then and I love the music now.ÿ

BOB is 0.8. A mug is rs35, a pint 70 and a Pitcher is 175.ÿ Cocktails are in the range of 90 to 200. Their Pinaÿ Colada is one of the better ones that I have tasted in Bangalore ( Bangaloreans seem to prefer beer and all other drinks at most pubs seem sub-standard).ÿ

The music is slow and hard-rock and generally the danceable kind.ÿ Not the techno stuff where all you do is shake like an electric current is being passed through you. Eagles, Led Zep, Pink Floyd, Beatles, Ricky Martin .... .ÿ

The interiors are quiet. If you want to seat a big group, there are these huge seating areas where you can still feel that you are on the same table (even without the influence of the liquid you have come seeking).ÿ Idealÿ setting for having a party when you have a lot of friends.ÿ

The only problem is the crowd. Although they do have a small dance floor (a rarity in Bangalore) you wouldn't really feel like dancing with the kind of crowd on the floor. Seems that most of my kind of people prefer to dance to techno (or at least pretend to), so the kind of people at a place that plays my kind of music is not my kind at all. A catch-22 situation for sure.

Well my problems are not yours, so if you like a littleÿ "old fashioned" music and want to shake a leg and don't mind your floor-mates (as in dance floor) then this is the ideal place to be.

Friday, March 30, 2001

Bunker, Bangalore

Residency Road
Ph : 5585140
Timings: 11 A.M to 11 P.M
Happy hours: 11 A.M-6 P.M (50% off)
Bob : 0.85

If I am not mistaken, the Bunker is below what used to be called Oaken Cask before I arrived in Bangalore. Located strategically between Galaxy and Symphony theatres it is an ideal place to pop in for a short break between movies.

BoB is 0.85. A tap costs rs30, a pint 60 and a pitcher costs 150. No free snacks though. A large rum cost me 110 bucks and the thums-up was an additional 30 bucks, which I felt was daylight robbery. The draught beer is Kingfisher, as in most pubs in Bangalore.

I had just finished a gruelling 3 hour session at a business meeting and sat through 3 hours of a movie and decided that i needed to chill out. But the guy I was with had some urgent unfinished business to take care of, so for the first time in my life I experienced sitting alone in a bar. Well of course I got the occasional stares but otherwise it was quite cool in spite of it being a Sunday night. Of course this didn't stop me berating my friends when they finally put in their appearance around 30 mins. after I had been there alone with my tap.

The music varies from Tina Turner to Guns'n'Roses. The DJ is extremely accommodating and entertains most requests unlike some other places I knowÿ The Bunker can be split into 3 seating areas. One is the family room on the outside which is separated by a glass wall from the main pub. Then the inside of the pub itself has 2 different areas: one has the psychedelic lights and neon colored seats and the other is a more comfortable seating area where you can choose from sofas or bar stools.

They have this huge TV, I think it’s a 29" and one or two smaller ones. People who come here vary from teenyboppers celebrating a birthday party to business executives unbuttoning their coats and loosening their ties as they enter.

I didn't taste their cocktails as they weren't recommended by anyone I knew; they range between 150 and 250. Maybe I will review the cocktails on a day when I am in a more experimentative mood.

Snacks range from rs30 for the nuts and chips to 100 for the non veg. items. We had the drums of heaven. But I wouldn't recommend them to anyone else. We had to wait for ages for them and by the time they came it was stone cold and not too tasty either.

In the beginning the waiters were really nice and accommodating but then the headwaiter started getting on our nerves. Would insist on refilling our mugs from the pitcher after we had hardly taken 2 gulps. I guess there was a shortage of pitchers by then and a major recycling movement must have been on. He would insist on holding a light to our cigarettes in spite of us having taken our own lighters out (Was he afraid that we would burn the place down ?)

Anyway, after some time his service became a bit too ingratiating so we decided to prepone our trip to the disco which I will review in my next missive.ÿ

Monday, March 19, 2001

Tiffany's, Bangalore

Vittal Mallya Road
Ph : 221 3130/ 221 0377
Bob : 1

Never thought that this would be a place to drink. After all those books floating around the place, always associated Tiffany's with a breakfast joint within India or without.... Would never have stepped into this place except for the unfortunate incident of a car breakdown and what a find it turned out to be.

Tiffany's is THE Place to go for a relaxed afternoon drink and meal. No loud music. No over 13 somethings competing for acoustic and physical space. No outrageous display of flesh to make u feel guilty about missing those morning walks. What better place for a relaxed afternoon and a chilled beer.

There was some really unobtrusive music playing- point 1 against Tom's
Comfortable seating - point in favour of Tiffanys'
No Christian Brothers -point to Toms
Lots of jogging enthusiasts around - point to Toms
Good service- point to Tiffany's
decent food- draw
yakkable quotient - draw
relaxed atmosphere- draw

I guess u could call Tiffany's an upmarket Tom's. Cocktails were about 100/0 bucks each ; BOB around 1. Free MOB with a sizzler. Really nice waiters - not too officious or patronising or loud. Just nice, with a hint of that old world charm around them.

Yes, this is a good place for a weekend afternoon beer and biryani kind of a thing.

Wednesday, January 24, 2001

Jazz Garden, Pune

Koregaon Park
Bob : 1.25

The Jazz garden is set in a cluster of restaurants serving cuisines of different countries. (catering mainly to the foreigners who frequent the Osho ashram) What sets it apart is its open air setting.

There was a huge stage on which the 3 piece band looked woefully small. They were playing 60’s music and we could recognise a couple of the numbers. Non-recognition of other numbers was not due to our ignorance of 60’s music. I believe they have different bands every time. Something of a talent search I guess. Hope you have better luck with them.

BOB is about 1.25 depending on which brand you would prefer. Some of the coctails were decent but the coconut milk in my pina colada defnitely passed through a dehydration process on its journey from its originating coconut to my glass. I also felt that the alcohol content in my dessert of Crepes with chocolate rum sauce was higher than that in the Pina Colada.

The head waiter was more than helpful although service was a little slow. The fresh air was invigorating with warm liquids inside us. A beautiful setting for evening drinking in the summers.

You do get a lot of firang crowd because of the proximity of the ashram, also a lot of students from the various institutes springing up in and around Pune. It’s a student puller because of the informality of the place. Jeans is almost de-rigeur other than the maroon outfits.

Worth a try if you are the type who feels claustrophobic with all the tobacco fumes in regular pubs or are in the mood for some fresh air after a long day at office.


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