On a Sunday evening at Pecos, an iconic pub set up two decades ago as a Mexican food joint, a group of techies in tight black T-shirts and frayed blue jeans plays air guitar and swigs mug after mug of beer, to the accompaniment of Pink Floyd and The Grateful Dead. The classic pub
Happening cityBangalore is home to some 1,000-plus bars and pubs. We discover this in the middle of the week on Wednesday. Sutra (and many other upmarket destinations) is not empty as expected, but buzzing with life as a Bollywood theme runs wild for the evening.
1/4 Church Street,
Phone: 25586512, 25584595
Cover Charge: N.A.
USP: Space-age décor, with a capsule for the main area, a porthole to enter the pub. Great happy hour deal on beer.
Beer & snacks for two: Rs 500
The original pubs set up in Bangalore were bereft of style, instead focussing on draft beer and good music (Pecos and more recently Windsor Pub). The attempts at “style” were kicked off by the likes of Sadhwani, who thought up both NASA and Pub World after going overseas. Incidentally, what started simply as The Pub in 1986, as an old fashioned English pub, got re-tooled to NASA in 1993 when the whole pub-hopping scene kicked-into high gear. “Dozens of pubs opened in the ‘90s and many of them shut down as consumers began narrowing preferences,” says Sadhwani.
He may have been an early beneficiary of Bangalore’s evolution from a slumberous pensioner’s paradise to India’s IT Capital, the boost in spending power is no guarantee of success with many well-known names, ranging from the hip 180 Proof (now the more sedate 1912), to downto-earth establishments like Black Cadillac and Oaken Cask, crumbling in the face of newer and more innovative establishments.
“There is little guarantee of success in this market; service and innovation are critical,” says Sadhwani.
Locking in visitors
1, Nagarjuna Building, Castle Street
Cover charge: Rs 500
USP: Great music. Tunes here are more mellow, in keeping with the older crowd.
Beer & snacks for two: Rs 1,000
For the elite only
The Taj West End , Race Course Road
Cover charge: Rs 2,000
USP: The preferred place for young romantics. Discreetely set tables keep the young happy. DJ Yon’s tunes keep partygoers bogeying
Beer & snacks for two: Rs 2,500
Elsewhere, at Blue Bar at Taj West End, couples look for some privacy. When this writer wanders in late on a Saturday evening, there is not a single chair free and even the bar is packed with people chilling out.
Bar with a view
The 13th Floor is such a popular hang out on weekends that no reservations are taken after around 7 p.m. on Friday evening and the rush is always for the outside seating, where you could sip your Martini and take in the panoramic view that the joint offers. Frequented by an odd assortment of young pub hoppers and wide-eyed expats, 13th Floor has the added advantage of being right next to Ebony, one of the few restauarants in India's IT capital to serve Parsi cuisine.
Not everything is hunky dory, though. We soon encounter the disgruntled element in Bangalore’s pubbing crowd. “We’ve barely got started,” complains Chris Avinash, a city-based musician. There is little scope for late workers to grab a drink. With most people working late, it gives them at best an hour after work to hit the happening places. With a quarter of his pitcher left and half his plate of beef tacos uneaten, Avinash may have to hurry if he is to catch the rapidly nearing closing time of 11.30 p.m