Where’s the party tonight? Home or the highway?

MORE THAN LIQUOR: Parties and night-outs are not only about drinking but also about the music, dance, food and socialising.

MORE THAN LIQUOR: Parties and night-outs are not only about drinking but also about the music, dance, food and socialising.   | Photo Credit: — FILE PHOTO: K. BHAGYA PRAKASH

Sharath S. Srivatsa and Raghava M.

Thanks to the Cinderella hour, young Bangaloreans find themselves all dressed up with no place to go

BANGALORE: A section of the working population in Bangalore that has tweaked its circadian rhythm to cater to the economies of the other hemisphere finds it a tough call to do what young people do after work: unwind and maybe party during weekends.

Thanks to the early deadlines for the closure of bars, pubs and restaurants in the city, these youngsters and other night birds are finding it increasingly difficult to relax after work outside of their homes.

Work culture among young professionals has changed during the last one year, Ashish Kothare, president, The Association of Bar and Restaurants, Pub and Hotels, Bangalore, told The Hindu.

Recession and the fear of being laid off have forced those who have managed to hold on to their jobs to put in longer hours.

“With traffic being what it is, it is difficult for people to reach pubs or hotels before 9.30 p.m. The last order has to be taken before 11 p.m., leaving them very little time,” he said.

Mysore is hotspot

“Weekend parties are moving out of Bangalore due to the restrictions, and Mysore has emerged as the destination for partygoers. We are only asking for extension of the deadline to 1.30 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Despite several representations, nothing has moved,” Mr. Kothare said and added that applications to start discotheques that will conform to existing guidelines have also not received approvals from the Police Department. Even the Tourism Department’s plea to extend restaurants’ closing time in the city has received a frosty response from the administration, while campaigns such as Bangalore Bleeding pushing for a less dreary nightlife did not yield results. Parties and night-outs are not only about drinking but also about the music, dance, food and socialising. “A city that boasts a vibrant music scene and is home to many bands is unfortunately devoid of good music in the night,” said Chirag, a private company employee.

Suburban bashes

Due to restrictions, parties at suburban farmhouses are becoming popular among party-goers. Organised under a licence called CL-5 from the Excise Department, invitation is mostly through word-of-mouth and restricted to small groups.

Farmhouses around Devanahalli, Sunkadakatte, Magadi and Kanakapura rock with bashes organised in the name of kitty parties, birthday or marriage parties.

“It is a new trend where dance and other forms of entertainment take place, all restricted in the city,” a senior Excise Department official said. There is a jump in the number of such applications, he added.

The more adventurous among the night birds hit the highway after the 11.30 p.m. deadline and these long drives could be up to Nandi Hills, or the coffee shops near Kolar, Bidadi and Maddur, where they hang out for hours.

“Though we know drunken driving is risky on highways, many of us have no choice,” Mr. Chirag reasoned.

Meanwhile, restaurants in the city are also devising ways to get diners to come.

While closing hours remain the same, they are opening early.

Some open by 4 p.m. for “sunset parties” that go on till 11.30 p.m., while some others offer tempting lunch buffets along with liquor starting at 1 p.m.

“Everyone, including the business, will benefit if the deadline is relaxed. We tried through the Bangalore Bleeding campaign to no avail,” said Carlton Braganza of Opus, a popular hangout.

Security to women

To this, the Excise Department official said: “Deadline extension may not be possible unless the issue of providing security to women staff by the owners of bars and restaurants is resolved. Though we have insisted on a “naukaranama” (a list of employees), we have not received any.”

Many bar owners are simply not ready to commit on security to women staff on night shift, he added.

Excise Commissioner Yogendra Tripati, however, said circumstances do not favour extension of the deadline, and that entreaties are “not under active consideration”.

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