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Cheap but chic bars crop up in Mumbai

Small and trendy, these suburban bars want to keep customers happy. Read on to know more about these hangouts.

entertainment Updated: Jul 09, 2010 14:30 IST
Naomi Canton
Naomi Canton
Hindustan Times

When Barcode 053 opens in Andheri at the end of July, it will mark the arrival of the third value-for-money yet stylish bar on Mumbai’s nightlife scene.

Quench opened in Bandra in April and WTF! entered Khar in May. All three offer casual, trendy environment that serve drinks and snacks at affordable prices.

WineCasual and cool

Ravi Sharma, director, of Crepe Station Café Pvt Ltd, who is opening Barcode on the former premises of Myst, a continental restobar, says: "People can come in shorts and T-shirts and still feel comfortable. There will be no door policy, cover charge or expensive drinks." The wooden interiors will feature high stools and tables. Offbeat paintings will line the walls and the music will concentrate on retro pop and rock.

"People want to go out often and they want more choices. They don’t necessarily want to pay premium rates on drinks," he says. "And they want to go out straight after work without having to dress up."

A similar concept, Quench, opened at Bandra Reclamation in April, serving drinks at quarter bar prices. Vineet Shetty, 23, whose dad actually owns a quarter bar, says, "Until a few years ago, quarter bars were frequented by middle-class male drunkards and were considered shady."

He adds, "Today, you find them packed with youngsters and foreigners because they are cheap. The concept of Quench was to offer prices similar to quarter bars, but with a different ambience, music and service." So, he and his partner made Quench feel like an English pub and put on recorded rock and old school music. "We wanted to open a place like Colaba’s Café Mondegar in Bandra," he says. "As young people ourselves, we know that freshers are earning salaries which are half of what their peers had three years ago. They have a limited budget."

Their business model is about having "loyal customers and being packed every day", he says, as is the case for WTF! "I am catering to a young crowd who go out often, are not looking for glitz and glam, but want hardcore value," explains owner Kishore DF. He says the difference between WTF! and a quarter bar is "the place is cool and westernised and doesn’t play Hindi music."

WTF! will open a second branch in Versova in September. Barcode will open in Colaba next, and Quench too is set for expansion.

Check out the price difference!

Glass of Sula Chenin Blanc

Barcode: Rs 229

WTF!: Rs 185

Quench: Rs 159

Blue Frog: Rs 450

China House: Rs 720

Zenzi Mills: Rs 328

Pint of Kingfisher:
Barcode: Rs 130
WTF!: Rs 150
Quench: Rs 119
Indigo: Rs 160
Prive: Rs 300
Zenzi Mills: Rs 200

Barcode: Rs 330
WTF!: Rs 200
Olive: Rs 632
Blue Frog: Rs 500
China House: Rs 800
Indigo: Rs 365
Prive: Rs 600
Zenzi Mills: Rs 400

Barcode: Rs 330
WTF!: Rs 200
Blue Frog: Rs 600
China House: Rs 650
Indigo: Rs 365
Prive: Rs 600
Zenzi Mills: Rs 500

Johnnie Walker Red
Barcode: Rs 320
WTF!: Rs 250
Blue Frog: Rs 450
Indigo: Rs 345
Prive: Rs 400

-Compiled by Sanjana Puri

First Published: Jul 09, 2010 13:48 IST