Last week was, by our standards, adventurous.
Mr. A A - who I had referred to in my post on the Bandra Farmers Market – is as we say in India, a dear friend. We had not met for a long time and Mr. A A decided to put things right and commenced a series of emails which culminated in our deciding to meet for a drink or three at the Big Bang. This is a new bar on the terrace of the God awful Kenilworth Mall popularly know by all as KFC Mall at Linking Road Bandra. We are not ones who like to go to a newly opened bar or restaurant. We like the good, standard, old fashioned, non trendy places in Mumbai.
This started our adventure.
7.30 was the appointed time. We reached the building and saw the sign advertising Big Bang. A bouncer dressed in black escorted us into an elevator which whisked us to the top floor into a small lobby with no discernible door. We were greeted by gaggle of thoroughly confused North Eastern girls. A door magically opened and we were out on an open air terrace with a bar running along its length. We perched ourselves on the bar stools at the bar. It was a cool late January evening, quite pleasant. Retro music playing, the place as dead as a Dodo and scores of staff. They must have outnumbered guests 10 to 1, well, I exaggerate, probably 7 to 1. We were handed a clipboard with a menu printed on standard A4 sized paper. No formal menu yet. All the usual drinks and all the usual snacks. There was a Happy Hour on till 11 pm. 1 free beer for every two. I did the maths; if you took the offer you could have a pint of Kingfisher for about Rs.165 plus taxes. Not bad.
The place was large, 5000 square feet they said. Pleasantly done up, nice to look at. As I said lots of staff all without work. And what does staff without work do? Talk on their mobiles. Yup, while on duty. Unacceptable in my book. We were seated at the bar and despite this we always had to ask for our drinks to be replenished. The music did sort of disguise the constant cacophony of the car horns coming from Linking Road. As the alcohol flowed conversation flowed and we did have a most pleasant time there despite the otherwise engaged staff.
Several drinks down it was time for a change of scene. So we trooped into the elevator and left. We walked a few steps, met another set of bouncers also dressed in the obligatory black and got into their elevator and went to Bonobo. This is an older open air bar also located in the KFC Mall. This place was smaller than Big Bang but was much more brightly lit and somehow seemed to have a much happier vibe. Once again we sat at the bar. Slightly more attentive service but once again the place was empty. A large portion of the staff was busy looking at something that was downloaded on the computer behind the bar. Once again, we had a most pleasant time but that was no thanks to the bar.
Both places seemed to have no discernible character and certainly no punters. They do not have the rough and tumble character of a Janata Bar at Pali Naka or the sometimes intimidating atmosphere of Totos or the super slick, suave swishness of Aer at the Four Seasons or Bombay High at ITC Grand Maratha. Both places have removed all vestiges of character and are bland and ordinary though, perfectly pleasant to have a drink. Nothing wrong in bland. Go here only if you can keep yourself entertained. The places contribute nothing to the evening. By the same token they contribute nothing negative either.
Sorry, just two photographs. I did not think it was necessary to photograph bottles of beer, or glasses of Vodka Soda or Whiskey water.