BANGALORE: Just ahead of last weekend, the state government extended the deadline from 11 pm to 1 am for bars and pubs in the city on Fridays and Saturday. This came nearly a week after the announcement that eateries could remain open till that time throughout the week.
After a three-month trial during the weekends (Fridays to Sundays) that culminated last week, for some eateries and pubs this means better business, while others are simply happy to have a choice.
Located in a central city area, Lakeview Milk Bar on M G Road had applied for permission to continue business till the later hours even before deadline extension trial. “Empire, Imperial and the like stayed open till 1 am. Even we don’t serve alcohol, and families come here to enjoy their ice cream. Unfortunately, our application remained pending,” informs Nagaraj S L.
He says although business is definitely better during the weekends, they choose to remain open till the new deadline on weekdays as well.
Proprietor of Richie Rahhams, a restaurant chain that specialises in biryanis, Muddasir Abdul Rasheed says that business has gone up by around 15 to 20 per cent. “There might not be too many people at a time. It’s just that they know that they can come till later and we’ll still serve them,” he adds.
Sunil Shetty of The BFlat Bar, Indiranagar, too says that the rush has eased out a little since last weekend. “Our clientele is of a slightly older age-group, usually in the thirties or up. So sales might not have risen by much, but it’s a relief that on weekends we don’t have to throw people out by around 11 pm or 11 .30 pm,” he declares.
He observes that customers still generally empty out by around 12 am. “People still have to get used to it. Effects of 15 years of the 11 ‘o clock deadline don’t wear off that easily.”
Moreover, he’s glad that for pubs and bars, the deadline extension is restricted to the two weekend-eve nights. “No one wants to party on Sundays,” he adds.
Eateries in residential areas too mostly prefer not to remain open later than 10.30pm. “I start serving coffee, tea and idlis at 5.30 in the morning, so I close by around 7 in the evening,” says B S Nagaraja Dhanya of Vadiraja Kendra, Jayanagar 3rd block. “Finding workers, especially for the later shifts, is a huge problem.”
However, as secretary of Karnataka Pradesh Hotel and Restaurants Association, Dhanya says that this is a welcome move. “I have heard complaints from some owners of restaurants with pubs or bars attached that the extended deadline means that more anti-social elements hang around. But by and large, everyone is happy,” he says, adding that a later closing time of eateries will prove convenient to tourists too.
“They may enter the city late at night. Often, if they’re driving, there’s not much to eat en route. And if they find all restaurants here closed as well, they might be disappointed.”