Saturday, June 25, 2005

delhi bar ettiquette

Can anybody explain to me why bars in Delhi insist on playing music at deafening volume? Waiters have objected to my complaints variously, but Shaila got the best answer so far: "Madam, nine o'clock: Pub has started." Another guy told us that they wanted the music loud so people would hear it on the street (two floors below) and think the place was "happening." When I asked him how he would convince them it was "happening" after they came in and discovered that nobody was in the place except two drunk journalists (one bald), he had no response. When I went outside with him to confirm that the building's sound-proofing had thwarted his plan, he resorted to obfuscation.

I AM getting old, and I don't have any daily office grind to escape from at the end of the day, but I don't think I'm being unreasonable here. When everybody is sitting down in restaurant format, it's not a dance club. Right? Are there really people out there who will leave if the music isn't loud?

The only place I've found that will actually entertain requests to turn down the music is Flame's (their grocer's apostrophe, not mine) in GKII M-block market. That, and their shockingly cheap booze, has made the place the hangout of choice for a good cross-section of young professionals, student types and the usual red-eyed whiskey drinkers.

On another note: Isn't it time for GKII M-block market to go through some kind of renaissance? How many bath and toilet fixture shops does one need on top-end real estate? This area used to be the bar capital of Delhi (OK, that's pushing it) back in 2002 or something, but is anyone still interested in drinking in watering holes like M-52? Club Zeros finally died, but was replaced by something equally awful and twice as expensive called ffad or something. Fffuck that.

For the greater good of the city, I therefore humbly offer my services:

Jason Overdorf
Drinking companion, drunk-eye-for-the-sober-guy and barstool consultant par excellence, more than fifteen years experience in New York, Taipei, Beijing, Hong Kong and Delhi

-drink evaluation
-noise-level metering
-talent scout
-withering interior decoration tips
-general bonhomie

Don't let this opportunity pass you by.


shyam said...

Well, most joints in Delhi are going through a bad phase anyway, so don't expect to see much of a change in GK II, I guess most will close down as time progresses. I do not really like Flames for the crowd, it tends to get a wee bit shady at times, but yeah, the booze prices rock and so does the roast lamb sesame. The Chinese joint Chungwa too is pretty okay.

The old coffee shop at Qutub Hotel, now taken over by another of Moshe's expensive creations?, used to be a lovely place, nice huge sofas, lots of space and the works. The other place that still is a personal favourite of mine is the All American Diners at IHC. Not quite cheap, but it is my preferred joint for a quiet bite and a drink.

Jason Overdorf said...

Flames does have its dodgy customers, now and then, along with big Punjabi families who let their kids run all over the bar tripping up the waiters. What I like is that some people (myself included) feel comfortably bringing women along. Despite the leches glowring over their whiskies. My biggest complaint is that it's a restaurant pretending to be a bar, which goes for about 100% of the places in Delhi.

RE American Diner - All I can praise about the place is that they're the only outfit in Delhi that serves truly cold beer, and they make a mean ice cream sundae. The rest of their American food is sad and pathetic, like Denny's restaurant food that has been freeze dried and reconstituted for astronauts.

Re the sketchy customers: A girl I once met was gushing praise for Delhi because, she claimed, women can do anything they want here. She cited the example of Buzz, where she can go out with her girlfriends and they can call someone from the restaurant to escort them to and from their car in the parking lot! As long as that kind of thing persists, I'm afraid that every watering hole will remain a little unsettling for women. My beef is that they all think that the way to keep out the riff raff is to jack up the prices. News flash: there are just as many scumbags and goondas who can afford a Rs. 200 drink as can afford a Rs. 100 drink.

shyam said...

Well, yes, I have to agree with you about Flames that the save the lechers and the place itself pretending to be a bar, none of my female friends have ever been groped at there, which I can't say about most of the other fancy places. Since it would be too much to expect the average Delhi tippler to know how to check out women without being offensive, the stares and glares are something I could (unwillingly) live with.

I've developed a distinct distaste for Buzz over time for a) Everything is overpriced b) Music is not quite my kind c) Music is way too loud d) the place is too cramped. But yes, I've seen quite a few women having a good time there by themselves and not have any problems. Once me and my friend even escorted one of them to someplace nearby where she claimed she lived because she was too high and we were not too sure if she'd reach there safely after going to the parking lot to get her car. But if noise and the pubbish atmosphere is what I want, I'd settle for Turquoise Cottage, though the music has become so repetitive and is too crowded on most days for my liking. Qba and DV8 too were nice, but again, way too expensive for regular visits.

I could never get the point about hiking prices to avoid the unsavoury crowd, if that theory were to have worked, then places like F Bar should be like heaven, but it was so unbelievably shady the last time I was there. Moreover, when you got politicians and moneyed ones muscling in just thanks to who they are, it really does not count how much you gotta pay. Once we were threatened that the chap who groped at my friend was a politician from Bihar and that he was carrying a gun on him at that time, so we better not make a fuss about what he did. It is that weird!

phucker said...

Can anybody explain to me why bars in Delhi insist on playing music at deafening volume?

For the same reason that Enquiry desks at Public-sector banks tell you "I don't know, ask the Teller, or somebody else".

For the same reason a two-wheeler assumes that the one millimetre of space you've left between yourself and the (monster)truck is a way of saying: "By all means, two-wheeler sir, feel free to squeeze thru and ruin my paint-job"

We. are. like. this. only.

The only place where I've been able to have a decent time (consistently over a 3-year period) is at Geoffrey's (Ansal's Plaza)...but even that place is over-priced...and that's 'resto-bar' than club/pub...

Anonymous said...

Dilli IS Dilli. Drunken Monkeys with moneybags can't be better than Drunken Monkeys with a hole in the pocket.
Guys, forget it! Just go to Bangalore. and start a blog on the bloody traffic there!

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