The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Night life dawns on binge city

Time: 1 am. Delhi is on its last drink, Mumbai is driving back home, Bangalore is already in bed… the party in Calcutta has just begun. Calcutta — by common clubbing consent — is now the coolest city to party in. Okay, we go nowhere near Mumbai’s glamour quotient and hardly pack a power punch like Delhi, but at least we have something going — we party the longest.

“Calcutta’s night life now is the best in the country,” asserts Bunty Sethi of sportsbar Winning Streak, a favourite hangout for the 25-to-40 clubbers’ crowd.

“I work only to party; the more I work, the more I earn and the more I party,” is life’s simple motto for 23-year-old Sohan, whose day around town ends regularly at dawn.

Work hard, play harder seems to be the new one-liner to live by. “More partying means more networking, means more business prospects,” feels Nishit Kaul, who parties five nights a week.

Splurge is an urge that no party person must curb. “Unless I feel the pinch of a large bill, I don’t feel I’ve partied enough,” admits Naveen Pai of Coffee Pai fame. Sovon Mukherjee, manager of Shisha: The Hookah Bar, confirms that “on a Saturday night, people are ready to pay double the cover charge (Rs 500) just to get in”.

Clearly, the Calcutta party-goer — out till 2 am (officially) and beyond — is coming of age, with exposure to a whole range of the party rage. “We have played host to the Coyote Ugly dance troupe in Tantra, and so Calcutta’s party animal has been treated to pretty much the same thing as his counterpart in New York,” says Anirban Shimlai, director, F&B, The Park, that houses the two most popular nightspots, Tantra and Someplace Else.

As the tribe of the night-rider increases, the dominant reason why is summed up by Leena Chatterjee, professor of behavioural sciences at the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta: “At any point, there are certain things that are considered ‘in’ and right now, clubbing and eating out are the smart things to do… Also, with double-income couples having more disposable income and less time, work hard and party hard is the mantra.”

But what determines where the night gang — armed with night vision and neon bands — goes' “The crowd is the most important criteria,” volleys footballer Renedy Singh, a regular. Music comes a close second, with hip-hop, R&B and remix ruling what you move your lips and shake your hips to.

So, if it’s night, it’s time to burn bright.

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