In a gross violation of government regulations, Zygo, a new bar at Metropolitan Mall, has employed woman bartenders, escorts and an expat woman chef. Haryana is one of the four states in the country where the Excise and Taxation Act does not allow women to be employed in bars, though neighbouring Delhi opened its doors for women bartenders three years ago by amending laws.
It is common practice in Gurgaon where women are deputed at gates of bars for luring customers while the toothless excise department remains a silent spectator. Other states where women bartenders are not allowed include Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh.
At the launch of Zygo on Friday, a female bartender was seen serving liquor with other male bartenders till wee hours. “I am excited to be a part of Zygo,” she said.
Apart from female security guards, young women attendants were seen handling registrations at the entry gates of the bar which is located on the second floor of the MGF Metropolitan mall.
Bar owner Nitin Chawla told HT, “Zygo will fill in the need of having such a bar in Gurgaon which has a safe environment for women and families. The presence of female staff, bartenders and security guards will be our USP.”
Clearly unaware of the Haryana government regulations, Chawla comes from the steel industry and Zygo is his first venture in the city.
A press release issued earlier this month by the bar’s PR agency stated, “Other highlights are the Italian lady chef manning the world cuisine restaurant, lady security guards in attendance and lady bartenders stirring up exotic drinks for the revellers.”
Manbeer Chaudhary, president of Hotels and Restaurants Association of Haryana, said state chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had turned down the association's repeated requests to allow women bartenders in the state quoting “socio-political reasons”.
Meanwhile, a senior excise and taxation officer admitted that bars employ girls illegally in Gurgaon and said it was difficult to prove it as they are shown as normal visitors during raids.