Girgaum was a mix of the residential-cum-commercial from the early 20th century when small cottage industries began to function cheek-by-jowl the living quarters in many a wadi. The iconic Gaiwadi, for example, still sports factories and galas within its premises.
Just off Girgaum, in the area then called Sonapur, were a number of taverns in the British era. These clusters of taverns, owned by the Parsis and Portugese, attracted "soldiers and sailors and low-class clerks". The taverns led to a few supporting businesses in Girgaum.
The more honourable professions such as money-lending, trading, local commerce also clustered in the area, as also the professions and businesses related to the arts and theatre. We would find dhol-lezim makers and teachers right here, many of them have shut down or moved on, says Sangita Pisal, 35, who now lives n the suburbs.
Girgaum now sports the usual modern city mix of air-conditioned commercial establishments, small offices that were converted from small homes, a few specialized businesses in its various lanes alongside the old world, somewhat dingy stores where new-age aluminum foil sachets of crispies easily grab attention over their home-grown rival chips stocked in large glass jars.