Vatsal Goel just wanted a nice booze shop in his hometown of Noida: "A place I could take my girlfriend to and pick a nice bottle of wine, without judgement." Since the 21-year-old didn't find that, he did the next best thing: he opened his own, topping it with a Greek-themed café. And so Vogue - Modern Theka and Kitchen was born.
"I wanted to break some taboos in India. Nobody talks about sex, but we have the second highest population in the world. Just as nobody talks about alcohol, though millions in the country consume it," says the Exeter University undergraduate, adding, "Honestly, I just wanted a space which sells alcohol by people who can actually guide you through the vineyards and distilleries so you can pick the best beer, wine, or spirit for the occasion you are celebrating or the evening you are spending."
While the liquor shop, or theka if you will (and you will), offers premium liquors at MRP ("I know Noida liquor stores have the habit of charging over and above the MRP, and so we give bills for every bottle sold"), it also has a café where you can responsibly enjoy liquor in a safe space.
"We have a Rs 500 cover charge to enter the café, which is redeemable against food orders. We want to filter out the crowd so that there are less chances of ruckus or misbehaviour," notes Goel.
Vogue - Modern Theka and Kitchen, therefore, hopes to bring a fresh change to Noida’s food and nightlife scene. The high end liquor showroom which stocks the best of premium beer, wine and liquor brands from across the world is already eating into the Noida liquor market, with Vogue reporting the highest sales volumes in the city for weeks now.
"While you don’t make a lot from liquor sales because of the overheads, we are seeing an average of Rs 5 lakh sales on a daily basis, having reached a high point of Rs 10 lakh in sales on December 30," says Goel, noting that he had put in an initial investment of Rs 90 lakh, when he opened the store. "I expect we’ll break even by mid-2021."
Meanwhile, the restaurant located upstairs skates along on the concept of BYOB where you can pick your booze from the showroom and enjoy the food served at the café. "I am proud that we have a huge female clientele, with ladies being able to come in and take their time in choosing exactly the kinds of drinks they want. Even if some of them don’t go upstairs to the restaurant, I am happy that they see the friendly, informed space we have created," says Goel.
"This was just supposed to be a one-off store, but seeing the response we have got, we are definitely thinking of expanding, starting from within UP," signs off the young entrepreneur.