Night clubs and Khan Market don't go together. But save for that one misgiving — and only if 'clubbing' is routinely a verb for you — the place is a loafer's paradise.
Coffee: There's plenty of choice for a good cup of joe here. But the best ones go to Market Café, Café Turtle and Barista Créme
Drink: Route 04 wins hands down. Whether it's the coffee shake or a shaken and stirred martini, this is the place to go to, especially if you can block out the Puppies.
Quick-bite: If you love pizzas as much as the next person, here are the two best places to go to - Amici (Rs 350 onwards), which makes the best woodfire oven thin-crust pizza, where the service is impeccable and waiters smile — and Chicago Pizza (Rs 70 a slice) which is on the other end of the middle lane.
Meal: Go Mediterranean at Latitude above Good Earth. Order some hummus, baba ganoush, tzatziki and capponata with crisp pita bread to begin a meal that's fit for a sheikh.
Dessert: Now that you've parked in Khan, you might as well head to The Ambassador hotel and the old favourite Yellow Brick Road for their spongy chocolate and vanilla dessert - The Bull's Eye (Rs 395). And don't bother eating at The Big Chill, the service sucks.
In 2007 the loafer's paradise was called by a Cushman and Wakefield report 'the 16th most expensive retail space' in the world.
That didn't make a difference to the shutters that came down at 8.30 pm. All the activity Khan Market saw was in the day. Wives and women of expats and bureaucrats would throng to Khan in the day. The crowd was swish, English-speaking, well-dressed and usually on that side of thirty.
Circa 2010, things are different. There are more restaurants. The owners of these places are younger, more with-it, and clued into the vibe that sells. Like Abhimanyu Singh Rana, co-owner of the American-style eatery, Route 04, “This market made Barista get a liquor licence.”
In the last seven months, the demographic shift has been in-your-face. Forty-five has given way to twenty-eight. The college crowd is here, the twenty-somethings are here — and not the least of all because market forces have allowed people to drink till 1 am.
There's Blanco, Café Oz, Route 04, Urban Café — all of where you can tank up on your chilli-vodka-sodas till 12.45 am — when you place your last order and stumble out.
Earlier Chonas was your only option to get a drink — even today an Old Monk chota peg comes for Rs 125. Today you're spoilt for choice. Think back a couple of years when parking wasn't such a b*tch. Now, ever so often, you see a bunch of guys feeding on their take-away tikkas, leaning on the hoods of their cars, and sipping from plastic glasses what you can only hope is Sprite.
There have been other changes as well. The scene turns a darker shade of blue post midnight. One can find white women being solicited.
But some things remain. It's still a hang-out of the rich. The cobbled middle lane is filthy even today — some call it "character". But the feel is different. It's distinctly younger — and not just because the writer is older. The expats are still there.
The difference is folks are no longer shuttered out at 8 pm.