Your best party dresses and shirts have waited in the closets for way too long. The last two years have been challenging, in terms of safety protocols and timings, not just for the party goers, but owners too! Now that Mumbai’s nightlife scene has started to open up again, it’s time to pull them out. The city’s lights are slowing turning back on and people are getting their groove back.
There’s nothing Mumbaikar’s have missed more than going out and Khea Lakhani, a college student couldn’t agree more. She says, “For the last two years, I had almost forgotten what going out felt like. From going out twice a week to boring Saturday nights was a drastic change and not one that I really enjoyed either. But now that we’ve returned to some state of normalcy and things are opening up, I’m looking forward to heading out at night and hopefully not coming home before 10.”
Gautam Chopra, a businessman, adds, “It was a Saturday night ritual, to go out, grab a few beers with my friends and just take a night off. When things shut down, there was no escape. We had to make do with our couches and the television, which isn’t too bad, but sometimes, you just need to go out. I’m glad things have started opening up and we can finally start going out.”
While the patrons are happy, what do venue owners have to say about the change? Sumit Alag, owner of Chembur Social, The Secret in Thane and Singh Saab in Navi Mumbai, says, “The hospitality industry has been one sector that has been affected horribly due to the pandemic and nightclubs have been the worst affected in this sector. Pre pandemic, we were seeing a wave of new nightclubs being opened and high investments being pumped in. But today, the growth is slow. We are only seeing clubs that have survived the pandemic. There has also been a drastic shift in age group attending the nightclubs. The older age group has been more inclined towards house parties and get-togethers, resulting in an indirect decrease in spending.”
Talking about safety of the customers, he adds, “We have been following protocols set by the government and are trying to educate our guests on what not to do. It has been difficult, as nightclubs are like a gathering where people want to socialise. Now that things have opened up, people want to be out. It is ‘revenge partying’, a term coined by us seeing the response after lockdown. People were so frustrated during the lockdown that now they just want to party more.”
Stressing on the safety precautions, Ratish Balan, owner of Wild Orchid Bar, Chembur, says, “We haven’t really reached a post-pandemic phase yet, but the customers are more aware now. Covid-19-related safe practices are now here to stay. Educating the staff has been the most important and necessary protocol. With things opening up, more people are coming out to party, but the levels of pre-Covid-19 are still some time away. A chill scene and sections of the club booked by groups are here to stay. Hardcore partying might be limited to only weekends.’’
Bars and pubs like 145, The Bar Stock Exchange and TOIT, among others, have started opening up, too, catering to a smaller crowd on weekdays to full nights over the weekends. According to the latest announcement by the BMC, restaurants, clubs and bars are now allowed to operate from 7 am to 11.30 pm. Until a few days ago, they had to pack-up by 10 pm. The one-hour extension has been taken well by club owners, who say every minute counts!
Several event management companies like MVM and Beaumonde Events, too, have started hosting events around the city at places like Dirty Martini, Keiba, Matteo’s and Pa Pa Ya. With packed guest lists, sold out tables and full bars, Mumbai looks like it’s getting back on track and is ready for the ragers.
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