Bangalore, Dec. 22: The city that spawned a culture in pubs but couldnt drink alcohol past 11.30pm can say cheers to the new year by spending the first hour of 2010 in the bar.
Flooded with requests from restaurants and bars, Bangalore police commissioner Shankar Bidari today passed an order allowing them to stay open an extra 90 minutes, up to 1am, on New Years Eve as a one-off extension.
For the citys restaurateurs recovering from the economic slowdown, its some consolation.
Its a good step forward, said Ashish Kothare, president of the Association of Bar and Restaurants, Pub & Hotels, Bangalore, a body of some 32 upscale night clubs, bars and pubs. But theres always a slip between the cup and the lip as the excise department has not decided anything yet.
Last year, pubs and restaurants serving liquor were allowed to remain open till 12.30am on New Years Eve. On normal days, bars in Bangalore, including those in five-star hotels, have to close by 11.30pm while restaurants without liquor licence can run till midnight. The order has come under ridicule from residents because of Bangalores standing as Indias technology hub where a large number people in the IT and IT enabled services sector work late hours.
Calcutta has to finish its drinks by midnight, though bars at five star hotels and a few discs are allowed to serve liquor for a longer time on some days of the week. For festive occasions like New Years Eve, the deadline is extended to 1am.
True to its sobriquet of maximum city, Mumbai allows its bars and restaurants serving liquor to remain open till 1 in the morning on normal days. For December 31 last year, the closure time was 3am.
The one-off extension for December 31 has not exactly thrilled many in Bangalore. For New Years Eve, its not enough, said Arjun G, a college student.