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Meet nightlife mayors from around the world

With talks of Mumbai becoming 24x7, the world’s purveyors of living it up show us how to work hard, and party harder

brunch Updated: Feb 24, 2018 23:28 IST
Farhad J. Dadyburjor
Farhad J. Dadyburjor
Hindustan Times
night,nightlife,night mayor
Left to right: Mirik Milan (Amsterdam), Riyaaz Amlani (Mumbai), Frédéric Hocquard (Paris), Amy Lamé (London) and Jorge Sanza (Madrid)(Shivangi Kulkarni)

One of the most integral aspects of a city is its nightlife, not only socially and culturally, but economically too. With talks of Mumbai becoming a 24x7 city and to discuss the chinks in the armour when it comes to India’s nightlife, restaurant mogul Riyaaz Amlani brought down Night Mayors from around the world for the India Nightlife Convention and Awards last year. Brunch sat down Mirik Milan​ (Night Mayor of Amsterdam​), Amy Lamé​ (Night Czar of London), Jorge Sanza (Night ​Ambassador of Madrid) and Frédéric Hocquard (​Deputy Mayor of Night Time Policies, Paris​) for a tête-à-tête...

​What do you see as the new trends in nightlife in your city?
Amy: A lot of people in London are working at making nightlife more inclusive and expansive. I think the biggest thing that’s changed is the introduction of the night tube. Every Friday and Saturday night it runs 24x7, so that’s encouraged a lot of new places to pop up.
Jorge: Since the new political party came into power two years ago, they are more open to parties on the streets or in parks. Also, after gin bars, now vodka bars are very popular in Madrid.
Frédéric: There is a lot of diversity now in Paris. A club need not only have techno music – there are different kinds of music, different forms of amusement.
Mirik: We introduced 24-hour licensed places which are multidisciplinary – it could be a mix of co-working, bar, restaurant, gallery with even DJs performing. Some even organise kindergarten lunches on Sundays for the parents’ kids to play.

Do you think cities in India need a Night Mayor?
Amy: Yeah. I think Mumbai is a global city and all global cities should have one. Mumbai is clearly on the map for its culture and nightlife.
Riyaaz: I think we first need a proper nightlife and then yes, we need a Night Mayor. The scary part is that nightclubs are shutting down, I think that needs to change. They are a very important part of the social fabric of going out and our culture. Right now, we are at 32 different licenses from different authorities for opening a new place – which has come down from 42! One of the best things that Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis did was doing away with getting police licenses, but there’s still more work to be done. A restaurateur spends 50 per cent of his time doing all this running around rather than concentrating on his restaurant.
Mirik: I always say that you don’t start with having a Night Mayor, but having a conversation about nightlife – which we are having now. So that’s the first step.

Which is the best club in the world?

Mirik Milan, Night Mayor of Amsterdam (Shivangi Kulkarni)
Jorge Sanza, Night ​Ambassador of Madrid (Shivangi Kulkarni)
Frédéric Hocquard,​Deputy Mayor of Night Time Policies, Paris​ (Shivangi Kulkarni)
Riyaaz Amlani, Restaurant Mogul (Shivangi Kulkarni)

Nowadays everyone is obsessed with their phones. Should cellphones be banned at restaurants/nightclubs?
Amy: I wouldn’t want to ban them (laughs). In one way, phones are very helpful in nightclubs because sometimes you get separated from your friends and the only way to connect is through your phones. Also, now, having Wi-Fi in clubs is very important. But, I have to say at the same time, we are social beings and the reason we go out is because we crave human interaction and don’t want to be stuck staring at our screens.
Mirik: There are a lot of nightclubs (in Amsterdam) that don’t allow phones on the dance floor. I think it’s better to experience the place, rather than just looking at a screen.

What Indian food are you keen on trying while here?
Amy: I eat Indian food in London all the time. You know that our national dish is an Indian dish, right – chicken tikka masala. Yesterday I went to Trishna and now I would really like to try idli, dosa and some of the special dishes for Navratri. It’s such a privilege to eat Indian food in India.
Frédéric: In Paris where I work, we have a small Indian district. I like biryani. While I am here I want to discover not only the restaurants, but also the parties on the streets at night.
Jorge: I want to try everything because I love Indian food – tandoori, curry.... There are more Indian restaurants in Barcelona than in Madrid. Now it’s quite popular.”
Mirik: “My wife and I love butter chicken. And I’m learning to make a better curry at home.

From HT Brunch, February 25, 2018

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First Published: Feb 24, 2018 21:09 IST