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Premium Shops Eat into Dingy Bars' Patronage

It looked as if a large number of tipplers have called it quits if one goes by the dearth in patronage for dingy bars and small outlets of Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) in the city.

Published: 01st January 2014 07:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st January 2014 07:36 AM   |  A+A-

TASMAC-premium-outlet

It looked as if a large number of tipplers have called it quits if one goes by the dearth in patronage for dingy bars and small outlets of Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) in the city. But in reality, the police crackdown on drunken driving, high sales at the newly opened elite liquor shops and exciting offers from swanky hotels have led to the previously unheard phenomenon, that too on the New Years’ eve.

According to sources, TASMAC business fell by nearly 30 per cent on Tuesday. Owners of Tasmac outlets on condition of anonymity said that the business has taken a beating in the bars with the recent police crackdown on tipplers in the strategic locations.

“The business has been down by nearly 30 per cent in the bars during the last one week as most of my customers prefer to drink at homes rather than in the bars,” said an owner of a liquor shop in busy Koyambedu.

Senthil, a bus owner, who used to frequent the bars during New Year celebrations, said that people now prefer to drink indoors.

“During last week, I have been caught by police many a times. They used to conduct test to identify whether there are traces of alcohol in the breath. A minimum fine is Rs 2,000,” he said.

“So why would I spend an additional Rs 2,000 after drinking for a measly sum of Rs 200,” he reasoned.

Many hotel owners feel the lack of festive atmosphere in the bars is due to the clampdown by the police. “How could you expect the bar to get customers when the cops are stationed merely 500 metres away from the outlet,” asked an owner.

Many outlet owners say that many hotels used to source liquor from TASMAC outlets on New Year’s eve. But now this too has taken a beating with the opening of premium outlets. The swanky outlets have resulted in the loss of middle and upper class cientele this year, says a outlet owner in Chinmaya Nagar.

Reminiscing the good old days when the parking lot near to his shop used to be full of tipplers, a bar owner said, “Business used to pick up between 9pm to 9.30pm... These used to be full. But not now,” he recalled.

“With police strictly implementing the 10 pm deadline, the bar owners have much to be worried about. However, many have stocked the supply to welcome the new year with gusto,” said one Arul, who bought three liquor bottles to welcome 2014 on a high.



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