BENGALURU: When it comes to nightlife, there was a time not so long ago when people in many other Indian cities envied Bengalureans. But a visit to Indiranagar on weekend evenings now, and it’s apparent that the city is fast losing the tag of being a ‘happening place’. The pub-lined streets, where people could be seen queuing up to ‘let themselves loose’, now wear a deserted look.
Owners of restaurants, as well as shopping outlets, don’t mince words when complaining about the slowdown, while the residents say it has brought them much relief. According to pub owners, a major factor has been the ongoing music ban. “Business has come down very badly, and the ban on music is one of the reasons. The patrolling cops and restrictions prove to be a dampener,” said Girish, manager, Jimis.
“Earlier, the average footfall on a weekend was around 250-300, but it has now clearly dropped to half. There is no new crowd now, no pub-hopping taking place. At this point, we are reaching a risk point when it comes to business,” he added.
Since the music ban came into place, over 10 music venues have shut down, including the popular Take 5, The Humming Tree and Bflat Bar, which had a decade-long presence before it closed shop in September. Others are also painting a gloomy picture. “We have seen a decrease of over 50 per cent in our business. There is, of course, an ongoing economic slowdown, but the music ban has served as a direct factor. It is difficult to manage running costs now, while we used to have packed nights just a few months ago. If this continues, Indiranagar’s nightlife will come to a halt,” said Ganesh, manager, Black Rabbit, told CE.
Residents of the area, however, expressed mixed feelings over the changing scenario, with some, like 27-year-old marketing professional, Mathews Joseph, expressing their happiness.
“We are happy with the reduction in noise levels after 10 pm, especially around 12th Main Road. But when it comes to parking and overcrowding on the roads, that hasn’t changed much, since it is not dependent on pubs but the fact that people park vehicles haphazardly outside any establishment,” Joseph added.
Sumanto Mondal, a 29-year old businessman and Indiranagar resident, said the drop in numbers may be because accessibility to pubs has become easier in town, with areas like JP Nagar and Koramangala housing a string of new places. “Indiranagar seems deserted now, maybe because it was overcrowded in the past few years, and now it has relatively fewer people,” Mondal said. “However, the knuckle wrap on venues playing live music for being too loud or not having proper licensing has also upset many. People have, after all, been visiting Indiranagar for its charming atmosphere and range of entertainment and hospitality options,” he added.
Many others, however, clearly expressed their disappointment with the current situation. “The music ban has caused the shutting of venues. Many of us feared that the present government will take steps to cut down the nightlife,” Suhail Ahmad, a 32-year-old techie who lives in the area, said.