When we catch up with Riyaaz Amlani, CEO and managing director of Impresario at the newest outpost of Social in Khar (the first in the suburbs), we find him in the middle of a tasting session before the workspace-cum-bar opens to the public on November 8. Apart from large sofas turned into swings, and the signature red bucket that holds the newspaper-styled menus, the two-storeyed space will also feature an outdoor skate spot, in association with Red Bull. “The city doesn’t have a dedicated space for skateboarders. They are usually skating along Marine Drive or Bandra-Kurla Complex, which is not always safe,” says Amlani.
Designed by ace skateboarder Nick Smith, who is part of the Third Eye Tour — an annual skateboarding competition held in Bengaluru, Goa and Hampi — the skate spot is a first for the city. It can be used by professional skateboarders to practice their moves and by novices who are interested in the sport. The skate spot is also an attempt to differentiate this outlet from the others (in Colaba and two in Lower Parel).
Known to capture the city’s various cultures through the décor at each of his offerings, for the upcoming Khar Social, Amlani is inspired by low-income housing. “When people think of grunge, they think of American grunge, but not Indian. We did a lot of research by going to low-income houses in the city,” says Amlani. So, you’ll find elements like corrugated sheets, bamboo scaffolding and table tops made of discarded framed doors at the restaurant.
The idea for the skate spot, too, emerged from the narrow bylanes of Dharavi, where one can find local boys skateboarding on cheap, handmade boards. For 21-year-old Sagar Waghela, a resident of Dharavi, this skate spot is a blessing. He had participated in the Third Eye Tour in 2013 and was the second runner-up. “To To me, skateboarding is all about freedom. There are no rules to follow,” says Waghela, part of a group of seven skateboarders who go by the name Meteoric.
Watch some cool skateboarding tricks by Meteoric
So far, Mumbai’s skateboarders had to make do with any smooth surface that the city offered. However, with the Khar Social skate spot, skateboarders in the city will get new ground to glide on.
Khar Social will launch on November 8.
Where: Rohan Plaza, 5th Road, SV Road, Khar (W)