What is a sundowner party?
A sundowner is an alcoholic drink consumed at sunset. A sundowner party is a social event usually from 5pm-8pm, where friends gather, sip drinks, groove to music and admire the sunset. Originally made popular in Ibiza at places like the Cafe Del Mar, known for its sunset view. Sundowner bashes are also popular aboard luxury boats.
Where is it happening here?
“Sundowner parties are thriving in Mumbai at hot spots like Dome and Aurus. I’m glad to see it finally come to town,” said party-goer Samrat Roychowdhury.
In Calcutta, it is more than a welcome trend given the Cinderella-hour deadline. “The midnight curfew is not likely to change, so people should make the most of the early hours and enjoy the party scene,” feels Shaun Kenworthy, consultant chef at Shisha, who helped put together a sundowner party on Sunday. “We plan to make it a regular Sunday affair at Shisha. Pegged at Rs 999, party people can enjoy unlimited drinks and snacks,” says Nitin Kohli, director of the PDK Shenaz Group, which owns Shisha.
What are the other cool parties around town?
Underground throws a bash on similar lines on Mondays. Called a “Pyjama party” and held between 7pm and 11.30pm, you won’t be thrown out if you come in, well, pyjamas!
At The Park, one can hit the poolside bar at Aqua in shorts on any day. And Nocturne, on Theatre Road, isn’t too strict with the dress code until 9pm.
What makes sundowner parties so cool?
Well, for one, you can start drinking early! So by the time you’re home, your parents won’t even have a clue. The timing is also a bonus for those who can’t stay out late. “I think this early party time works great because many of us have work early the next day,” feels Vedika Dalmia, graphic designer.
Second, the dress code is cool and casual. Remember that manager who frowned upon your sandals and barred you from entering his nightclub? Well, now you can stroll in with your hands in your short’s pockets and show off your Crocs!
Women need not worry if their boyfriends or hubbies turn up straight out of bed. Shorts, capris, chappals, roundneck tees or floaters — everything works.
“Most of the time, I avoid going to parties simply because of the dress-code business. If I ever opened a pub, I would never have dress codes in the first place. Bangalore and other cities are much more relaxed about these rules, maybe Calcutta should do that,” says Shaun.
What’s on the menu?
“Basically anything bite-sized and easy to pop-in-the-mouth like sushi, dimsums, salads and pizza. The dusk downers are draught beer, Mojitos, and Long Island Iced Tea,” said Nitin of Shisha.
“Ice cold Baileys shots or fruity cocktails move well,” suggested Amit Hathiramani of Underground.
STUN THE SUN:
It helps if it is an open-air party since you should be able to see the sunset. The weather too should be a little cooler, otherwise the whole point is lost.
Take it down a notch from Friday dressing. Chill in shorts, linen pants, vests, slip-ons, floaters or Crocs. Girls can go for maxis, summery day dresses or shorts.
SIP & BITE:
Chips and dips, pita and hummus, nachos or tidbits like tarts. The watchword is
bite-sized finger food. Plus, no one wants to drink anything heavy. So white wine sangrias (picture top) or Mojitos are a good idea. Fruity Bellinis are really popular.
— Sunaina Agarwal, party planner
THE SUNDOWN SET
‘I think the concept rocks! It’s great that we can come to a lounge and hang out in the afternoon, instead of having to chill at each other’s homes’
—Vedant Bubna, graduate
‘A lounge which is open from the afternoon, with no dress code? Oh yeah! Bring it on… This is definitely a novel way of celebrating a Sunday’
— Nitesh Bhardwaj, businessman
‘Calcutta is known to have a middle-aged drinking culture, with late hours and on fixed days, but the young don’t want that… they are game to try new concepts, that’s why the sundowner party trend should thrive. Look at me in linen with my feet up!’
— Shaun Kenworthy, chef
HOME AWAY FROM HOME:
Expats representing at least 16 nationalities landed up for a fun evening at Iinferno, Chrome Hotel on Sunday evening. The evening of wine, dine and cheer was organised by InterNations, an online community for people who live and work abroad. “This event will be held every month from now on. I find it really helpful to come across like-minded ‘incomers’ to the city of Calcutta,” said InterNations volunteer Corina Popa, who hosted the evening with volunteer Kamil Pawlowicz. Spotted at the party was Swissotel general manager Marco Saxer (far left in picture).