Chandigarh residents are best known for their flamboyance and stanch belief in partying hard. Be it the city's youngsters, their Punjabis parents who swear by the Patiala peg, or the working youth trickling in from other regions to make the best of the city's IT sector - they all love their drunken stupour - and so have been dreaming the same dream ever since Chennai and some cities of Tamil Nadu (namely Madurai and Tiruchy) got a go-ahead for liquor to be served 24x7 in five-star hotels' bars.
Is Chandigarh ready to down hard drinks round the clock? HT City does a reality check.
We want booze!
Puneet Malhotra, an IT professional working at IT park, Chandigarh, sounds desperate, "I hate the fact that five-star hotels in the city don't serve liquor 24 hours, because some professionals in our industry get free late from work. We would like to party after work with our friends, and go and chill out." Another party goer, Panjab University law student Amarjot Randhawa believes this would mean their parties aren't interrupted. "Five-star hotels should have the licence to serve liquor at all times, because there are many instances when our parties have been cut short because of this deadline to serve liquor."
How viable is it for Chandigarh?
Anil Malhotra, general manager at Hotel Taj-17, reasons, "We serve liquor till 12 am during the weekdays and till 1 am during the weekends. The Chandigarh administration has been kind enough to extend this deadline whenever we have requested them to. But I feel five-star hotels should be given a 24-hour licence to serve liquor thrice a week during the weekends, because that's when crowds actually like to party till late and five star hotels are well-equipped to handle any type of law and order situation."
But AK Malhotra, general manager at CITCO, Sector 17, would like to disagree, saying, "We definitely don't need a 24-hour liquor serving licence considering the social parametres of Chandigarh and Punjab. The youngsters here love to party at night, so it won't be safe for them to mix drinking and driving, something that is being curbed by the Chandigarh traffic police as well. Also, the food in our bars at Hotel Mountview is served for a limited time. So, if we serve liquor for 24 hours without food, it makes no sense and we don't want to promote drinking amongst youngsters."
Vivin Kuriakose, food & beverage director at JW Marriott backs the idea for the revenue it is bound to generate. "If we get a licence to serve liquor 24x7, it will definitely bring a cheer on the faces of our foreign guests and some expats who like to party till late night. This will also increase the beverage revenues for hotels and generate more taxes for the government."