Mumbai’s nightlife has lost yet another address. The Bandra bar called Rehab, which has remained mysteriously shut since May this year, will no longer be a pub. In the first week of September, it will be relaunched as a fine-dining restaurant called Original Gourmet.
“We couldn’t function properly (as a bar) as per the rules that date back to the ’60s, and we didn’t want to be called illegal when we’ve done everything legally,” says Ranjeet Bindra, managing director, Aallia Hospitality.
Various other city clubs like China House (Kalina), Trilogy and Aurus (both in Juhu) and Prive (Colaba) have also been ‘temporarily’ shut for the last eight months. “How can a business run if the rules are not clear? We realised it’s better to function as a restaurant, even though nightclubs do a lot better in Mumbai,” adds Bindra.
The new restaurant will be located on the same premises and will serve multi-cuisine fare. The makers had a limited period of three months during which Rehab was fully functional, to recover their initial investment. “We lost a lot on salaries and rent,” he says. “So, the interiors will only undergo cosmetic changes.”
He adds, “We had to get new furniture, however, there will be no loud music. We sympathise with the residents of Bandra. Inevitably, in the past, weekends would lead to overcrowding in the nearby lanes. But we never wished to disturb anyone.”
Rehab to return
Even though the bar has shut down, it will return to the city soon, promises Bindra: “We want to start Rehab again, but it will be in a commercial zone. The government needs to define a place and make rules for nightclubs as per the present times; and allow us to stay open till 3 am at least. Pune’s nightlife is better than Mumbai’s now. Why the difference in the same state?”