The Rs8 lakh licence fee for restaurants and bars and the hike in liquor prices by 20% to 25% is likely to hit Gurgaon’s nightlife hard. Restaurant and pub owners fear loss of business as regular party-goers are likely to go over to neighbouring Delhi. Establishments serving liquor are already allowed to operate till 1am in Delhi, where the price of liquor is also cheaper.
Speaking about the hiked charges under Haryana government’s new excise policy, Randeep Dhingra, owner of the bar and restaurant Twist at CyberHub said, “The government has increased as much as they could. It is not just the extension fees; we will have to shell out a total of Rs35 lakh per annum to sustain in the market”.
Shiv Karan Singh, managing director of Circus, a restaurant and bar in CyberHub, said, “Who will want to pay extra to party in Gurgaon? People will go to Delhi and those who come here from Delhi will no longer visit the city. We will be hit. Now, people from Gurgaon will start visiting Delhi to enjoy drinking.”
On September 18, 2013, the Haryana excise and taxation department had decided to extend the deadlines of pubs and bars from 12 midnight to 1am, making Gurgaon the only place in the national capital region (NCR) where establishments could stay open till that time.
However, now that Delhi’s restaurants and bars have similar timings, people have already stopped coming to Gurgaon as the closing time remains the same and they don’t have to risk driving back to Delhi drunk, Singh said.
Echoing the sentiment, Tanay Chatterjee, a senior MNC executive and a regular partygoer said, “Who will spend so much on liquor when Delhi is just a half-an-hour drive? We would prefer to party in the capital instead of our area.”