If you wander along the third floor of the Palladium in Lower Parel, hammering can be heard behind the screens where the Comedy Store is due to open.
But the opening of India’s first standalone comedy club has been delayed — yet again. Initially the launch was meant to happen in December ‘09; but was postponed to January 2010. The date was then shifted to March but is now scheduled to May 6, with a grand opening party on May 7.
Paul Tough, consultant to the CEO and founder of the Store, Don Ward, insists this is the final opening date for the three-floor club.
“As with all these projects, there are parts of our venue, the likes of which have never been built in India before, so although we have great architects and designers on board, the translation of the plans has taken a bit longer,” he explains.
“We are not worried, and since the ground floor of the Palladium will be completed by mid-April, the whole building will be only up and running when we open in May, which is even better. We just want to make sure it’s right,” he asserts.
The auditorium of the club, located on the third floor, will have a semi-circular stage seating 300, where the comedians will perform. It will be ready in a week. The bars and restaurants will be complete by the end of March. The third floor will also have a tapas bar seating 200, decorated with Comedy Store memorabilia.
On the fourth floor, there will be a fine dining restaurant, bar and casual dining space called Soho serving multi-cuisine food. The fifth floor will have a mezzanine area where people can look down on the floors below, as well as a VIP room. Live bands will be brought in to perform at the bars.
Ward’s daughter, Charlotte, who is half French, and has worked at hotels and restaurants across France, is moving to Mumbai to be the assistant general manager.
By mid March, most of the team will be in place.
The Store will employ 150 staff, many of which have already been sent to London for training. “It will be ready by the end of March and then we just need to spend time training staff and doing food testings,” Tough says.
It takes planning
“We could have opened on the last weekend of April, but it is a dry day, so we postponed it,” he says. The Comedy Store will have reserved spaces in the Palladium car park, which has 1,100 spaces. “There will be enough spaces for everyone as we will be open at night when most of the shops are closed,” Tough adds.
Tough and Ward have also been looking at sites in Goa, but Tough says nothing is confirmed yet. “We are getting offers from all over India to open up Stores, but our focus is on getting the Mumbai one running,” he adds