Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Why not keep nights YOUNG?

Why not keep nights YOUNG?
Administrators need to take a hard look at the deadline for closure of pubs and restaurants

Party animals, pub owners, BPO crowd that sees the light of day at night, IT fraternity, students, tourists in a city that’s a transit lounge — they all want it. A nightlife that actually lives up at night, not one that goes to sleep well before the Cindrella hour. All those who venture out with the owls, not just for a drink, but for a late dinner, some music and some dance agree the 11.30 pm closure deadline is unreasonable, considering the city’s cosmopolitan character.
Interestingly, the police claim there are no representations from the industry to extend the deadline yet and the government cannot take a suo motu action to extend the deadline. And so, Bangalore goes to sleep before the night actually begins.
There was a proposal last year to extend the deadline to 1.30 pm like in several other Indian cities like
Pune and Mumbai. Former tourism secretary I M Vittala Murthy proposed this during his tenure “in the interest of the travelling public and tourists” and to give the feeling that it is a “city of the youth”. Bangalore has a large youth population, thanks to migration into the city for IT/BPO jobs and the large student community. When youth work late night, they need places to unwind.
“Moreover, young people are more mature these days and extending the deadline beyond 11.30 pm does not mean people will get drunk and indulge in immoral activities,” said Murthy.
The ban on keeping establishments open beyond 11.30 pm is on places that serve liquor. But Bangalore shuts down by that time, including entertainment places and restaurants. Murthy said extending the deadline does not damage a city’s life. “Bangalore is one of the fastest growing cities in the country and it does not make sense to call it metropolitan if such an early deadline is imposed,” he said.
Proliferating pubs once earned Bangalore the tag of Pub City. The moral police says these establishments cause immorality to increase among the youth. But it is up to law-enforcing authorities to decide on what the nightlife of a city should consist of, said Murthy. “A longer night does not necessarily lead to people getting drunk,” he added.
State tourism officials agree that keeping the lights on longer will develop the industry, encourage employment and ensure safety. But then, it’s claimed that there aren’t enough cops to enforce the law in case the deadline is extended. The new government is just warming up to its job, the budget is only just out and the files are yet to be looked into on the matter, say tourism officials.
It’s rockin’ elsewhere
Though one of the fastest growing cities in the world, Bangalore is way behind cities like New York and Madrid, or even Mumbai and Pune, closer home. Pubs and eateries in New York stay open as late as 3-4 am. Tourist guides to Madrid, Spain warn travellers that unless they want to be the only ones inside a club, they should not step into one till at least 1.30 am! Most establishments are open till even 6 am, truly a city that never sleeps.
Paris is relatively subdued but the world’s fashion capital has a swinging nightlife that extends to early next morning. Bangkok, famous for several other tourist attractions, has an official deadline of 2 am but several restaurants, bars and clubs are open till much later.
Metros like Pune are open till 12.30 am, though the moral brigade often talks of shutting down joints much earlier. Mumbai’s 1.30 am deadline leaves the city’s party crowd of celebs and jet-setters fretting and fuming. Delhi, reputed to have the best nightlife in the country, has places open till 2 am but the 9 pm deadline for shops leaves roads rather deserted and club-hopping can be fraught with danger. Kolkata’s laws prohibit serving liquor after 10.30 pm but that doesn’t stop several bars and restaurants from being open till even 2 am.
Nightlife is not about nefarious activities
In February this year, we had said that Bangalore, arguably India’s most modern city, doesn’t deserve this curtailed nightlife. A city throbbing with the energy of its young, cannot be denied permission to dance, shop or drink. Often those in the administration view nightlife as giving way to dark, nocturnal indulgences that may include time in nightclubs and gambling dens. It need not be so. A city with a bustling nightlife could mean acceptable social practices like shopping, eating out, drinking and dancing. The rationale behind the curbs on dancing at discotheques is beyond comprehension. Many big cities of the world allow an active nightlife but are by no means unsafe. The authorities ought to realize that Bangalore has a sizeable section of youth, business travellers, tourists and why, even local citizens who work late into the evening and need some time for relaxation and recreation. Dancing, for that matter, is healthy entertainment and viewed as a stressbuster. Such indifference to nightlife and Cinderella hours would only frustrate citizens who want to have a good night out — be it for shopping, dining or drinking. It is time the police and the excise department extended the closing time for shopping malls, restaurants and bars/pubs. Instead of playing nanny, the government would do well to ensure safe activity but crack down on violators and anti-social elements. RESTAURANTSPEAK ‘There should be discipline among people’
People are coming a little less these days to hotels in the Cantonment area — a dip of about 25-30%. It’s because hotels have to close early, and traffic congestion and parking are problems. It’ll be good if restaurants are open till 1 am, but arrangements should be made for safe and good transport and parking and congestion should be
eased. Now, closing at 11.30 pm means last orders are taken at 10.45 pm, but if we close later, people can relax and eat. I think 12.30 am is a good time to close. Srinivas D | MANAGER, HYDERABAD MAHAL
Many families come to our restaurant. We should create an atmosphere where people can come out late evening and be able to have a good dinner in a good atmosphere. While there should be nightlife, we should be careful to ensure there is safety, security and a family atmosphere so that the average Bangalorean feels comfortable to come out and eat. Vijay Kumar | MANAGER, DAL ROTI
It would be nice if all suburbs have food joints and when that happens, Bangalore can be like Singapore or Dubai. There should be good connectivity between suburbs and residential areas. In the interest of the public and the society, eateries could be open till 12.30 am. Everybody can have a nice outing and yet feel safe to get back home. Rushit Davda | MANAGER, LITTLE ITALY
Visitors to Bangalore find it difficult to get food late at night after meetings and work; they would have to go to coffee shops in expensive hotels. Why not have a nightlife with good restaurants open till a decent time? People come out on Saturdays and Sundays and after watching a movie at 7 pm, they look for a good place for dinner. People will feel good if they are sure there are quality restaurants open till 12.30 am. They can relax and eat. Once restaurants are open late at night in good numbers in different areas, there’ll be a good nightlife. Vijay Rao | MANAGER, OYE AMRITSAR
It would be a nice idea to have eateries open till 12.30 am. People and families would like a comfortable, secure atmosphere at good restaurants late after work. But Bangalore hardly has such options late in the evening, especially for business people and people who work late. Nightlife should be made like that in Singapore and Dubai, but there should be discipline among people. Frederik C | MANAGER, MUSEUM INN CELEBSPEAK

We are a global city, but why do we sleep so early? The 11 pm deadline doesn’t go well with our image. Nightlife doesn’t mean just drinking and dancing, but being able to eat, dine, shop, go to a cultural programme, maybe a bookshop and even buy your groceries. If we can do all this in Dubai, why can’t we do it here? We have a workforce that works late. Many from the BPO sector tell me they finish work by midnight, then go home to cook and eat. Why can’t we have good restaurants open for everybody, particularly for those who work at night? More policemen can be recruited to take care of law & order if they are understaffed. Let them focus on maintaining discipline, rather than closing down pubs. We should certainly have security and a secure city, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a thriving nightlife. Prasad Bidapa | FASHION GURU

An extra hour for restaurants and eateries will be fine, but we need to consider security. The police have a manpower shortage and we should address that issue. After setting up such infrastructure and guaranteeing safety, we can think of keeping restaurants open for an hour more. I think 12.30 am is a good time. It’s really a matter of checks and balances. Prem Koshy | RESTAURATEUR

If the police are able to maintain social order and ensure that no untoward incidents happen, I don’t see a problem with having restaurants open late. Unfortunately, there have been instances when people are attacked, as it happened to a young couple recently. It was no fault of theirs, they were just having a good time. If you ask them the same question, they may say that unless there is police bandobust, they wouldn’t want to be out at night. If the police can’t ensure safety of people due to shortage of manpower, it’s better to close early. Let’s have a nightlife, but with security and safety. We should think about this carefully and sensitively. Waseem Khan | PHOTOGRAPHER

In cities across the world, there is nightlife and even dancing, which is a yardstick for measuring how forward-looking we are. Bangalore doesn’t seem to have a thriving nightlife. Twenty years ago, people would have parties till late night. Now, when the city is turning corporate, why are we going backwards? My parents tell me Bangalore had a much more healthy nightlife then. Rohit Barker | DJ

There is no great city in the world without a good nightlife. Why shouldn’t we have a good, vibrant nightlife? Bangalore had a great culture in the ’80s and ’90s and it was far more liberal. I don’t know what the problem is. We should be like any other international city, vibrant and awake. Are we a bit conservative? Looks like we are going backwards. Manoviraj Khosla | FASHION DESIGNER


At Sunday, August 3, 2008 at 8:44:00 PM GMT+5:30, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In cities across the world, there is nightlife and even dancing, which is a yardstick for measuring how forward-looking we are. Bangalore doesn’t seem to have a thriving nightlife. Twenty years ago, people would have parties till late night. Now, when the city is turning corporate, why are we going backwards? My parents tell me Bangalore had a much more healthy nightlife then.

At Sunday, August 10, 2008 at 11:09:00 PM GMT+5:30, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All young people want to dance. All young adults want to have a good time after a good day's work. I wonder what will happen when this is not allowed. Either Bangaloreans would be second class citizens of the world or we will be the most boring or some will choose alternativ expressions which could be very damaging. Frankly, how can we expect olympic medals from a country whose authorities have no sense of adventure or spirit and cannot take any risk or treat their citizens as mature. And when did we ever ever go to the police for help in our lives - they have always been either rude, taking bribes, harrasing or giving excuses when we face security issues in the city. And after all this, they spend all there energies towards moral policing. While terrorists are free to burst bombs we cannot even dance while we are alive!


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