The Telegraph
Monday , December 3 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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No, it’s not a bistro, tavern, café, lounge, pub or bar. Just raise a toast to hata.

Tipplers, if you don’t want to shout out your preferred poison in front of one of those cramped IMFL shops, barricaded to boot, you have an option. Take your swig to ring out Y212 in style, hata style.

Hata, what’s that?

It’s trendy and will soon be trending. A Nagpuri word, hata means a space where one can relax with a drink. And that’s what six of the capital’s 125 liquor shops have launched recently. It’s also a chillax space recognised by the Jharkhand government.

Enter any of the superlative sixes — two near Overbridge, one each at Hinoo, Ashok Nagar, Kutchery Road and Kanke Road — to soak in the difference.

First off, gentlemen, there’s space to sit and stretch one’s legs. Classic Vat 69 or the expensively upstart Royal Stag, there’s choice to savour in glasses. Ruminate on life while swilling your drink gently. And sometimes, there’s ice on the house.

As long as you are over 18 and behave — and raise a toast to the high art of sipping a fine single malt or the rebellious romance of rum — you can sit back and enjoy.

Till shutters are down, of course. A hata is open from 10am to 11pm — Ranchi’s ode to nightlife.

But if you do not behave like a gentleman — the Ranchi hata, though technically open to women, is still old-fashioned to keep ladies at arm’s length — you will be firmly asked to leave.

The subliminal message — take your drink, don’t let the drink take you.

“Ranchi is Jharkhand’s capital city. We must keep abreast with new trends in cities like Chandigarh. That’s why we thought of introducing a showroom feel to traditional liquor shops. Say cheers to hata,” smiles Anoop Chawla, Jharkhand Wine Dealers’ Association secretary.

Shops you’ve gone the hata way aren’t scrimping on the extra cost of hospitality. For the space, they need to shell out an extra 10 per cent surcharge of the total license fee of Rs 3.45 lakh they pay the state government every month.

“The government will be happy with the extra revenue,” Chawla says.

He added that there were very few places in Ranchi that a man could drink in peace.

Star hotels and clubs are usually for the very rich. A yuppie may prefer a Royal Stag Barrel Select, but wouldn’t want to rob a bank to pay his credit card bill next month.

A hata — without the padded-up costs of swanky hospitality hubs — will be his kind of a watering hole.

Some hatas even come with add-ons.

“I put up a card reader to facilitate cashless shopping. I also bought 600-litre deep freezer for ice cubes,” Arun Chawla, the owner of an IMFL shop near Overbridge, smiles. “Scotch does not rhyme with cash.”

He also distributes munchies to his “guests”.

Any words of wisdom? “Ranchi is growing up, learning to enjoy its drink. But enjoyment comes with responsibility. No brawls, please, and absolutely no drunk driving,” says the wise man.

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