Thursday, May 24, 2012

Old and Lost Pubs of Hyderabad

In the 1990s there was a sudden profusion of pubs in Hyderabad. I don't know why pubs made a sudden entry in Hyderabad then. Hyderabad was till then known for shady bars and restaurants of all sorts where guys generally went and guzzled till they passed out. The wine shops were all over the place and people normally were very serious about their drinking and did not want to mix their drinking with music and other distractions. The bars were made for conversation, for opening of hearts and for liquor to be consumed. No music, but the palli, chana kind of an atmosphere.

Bangalore had its pubs and when we went there we visited them with wonder. The music, the ambience, the girls...ahh it was heavenly. The beer was chilled and came in pitchers and we got high and drunk on the music and the environment. Soon the first pubs came to Hyderabad and we cautiously made it to those pubs while still in college. We enjoyed the music, the beer and the fact that we could go there with girls and have a good time.

Many of the pubs have since shut down and I don't think I can recall most of them anyway but I will try. I am hoping to keep this list a pre-prohibition list so many of them are not here any loner. One or two may be post-prohibition as well but I would not know.

1) Barrel House: This one was near Amrutha Mall Somajiguda. Decent music, nice ambience and one could spend long hours chatting in it. We guys generally caught up here because it was closest to our homes, drank ourselves silly and got back.

2) 10 Downing Street: Before it made its appearance in the Lifestyle building the 10 Downing Street was in the cellar of Sapnalok before it got bombed out by the naxals. It was still one of the hippest places even then and I enjoyed going there before they started getting uppity about couples only and sandals only after which I stopped going there. One great memory of 10 D was that of Madhav paying with his credit card and when the waiter pointed out that there was no signature there, signing it instantly with a flourish! See, the signature is there now!

3) One Flight Down: Is it still around? In the ground floor of the hotel at Nampally it was almost a strictly guys only affair. One of those places where the bouncers did not let anyone dance in the aisles which I found rather funny. And it was only veg. They had a rock music kind of a theme. Used to pop into this place on lazy summer afternoons from work at the bank.

4) Black Cadillac: Now this was a funny kind of a pub with a neither here nor there ambience and huge murals painted on the walls. It was opposite GPO in Secunderabad if I am not mistaken. Never enjoyed it so much. Did not have a definite feel and energy to it.

5) Bier Keller: This pub located in Minerva Complex next to Sapnalok had a theme of a bombed out pub in Germany that got partially destroyed in the World War II or something like that. It had an awesome ambience, lovely food, lovely beer and great music. One of my favourites those days. I distinctly remember a private party that Naresh and ANu threw for a bunch of friends there.

6) The Oaken Cask: The best music was played by this guy if I remember right. It stood near the Basheerbagh chowrasta and I remember visiting it at 11 a.m. on a rainy day with Shobhs and they played heavenly music. Nice ambience, great service and good experience overall.

7) Pub near Golden Dragon (Beat Route!! Got the name after brainstorming with Naresh this morning): This pub had very hip interiors, decent music and was located on a mezzanine kind of a location near Golden Dragon. Can't remember the name but it was very popular and I think it was
well known for its music as well. What was it called now? Memories include a celebratory morning drink with Srinivas of ITW after I bought my first camera - a Kodak Kroma!

8) The Outswinger: This pub was part of the Baseraa hotel but despite the cricket based theme and cricket based interiors and menus I never really enjoyed it. I remember one massive celebration though - when MCC beat Sacred Heart in a low scoring game that was fully charged up. Chandra sponsored the drinks and it was one of the most remembered and happy celebrations ever.

9) The Escape: The pub in the Green Park Hotel was called the Escape if I am not mistaken and it was an okay-okay joint. I don't remember any great experiences, great food, great music. It was just conveniently close by and dark. The one thing I remember was meeting my scooter mechanic there and realising that India was changing.

10) Cloud Nine: This one was near the Rasoolpura crossroads opposite Anand theatre. It had an ordinary presence, normal music, regular crowd but what I remember most about it was its flat beer. I used to go but never liked it too much. One party I remember was thrown by the cricketers those days somewhere in the cellar. Now it's gone!

5 comments:

madhav said...

Don't know much of these pubs, but of the old hole-in-the wall bars, the one near Gokul was my favorite. Remember those days when we drank rum and thumbs up like water.

Harimohan said...

Rajesh bar, Erragadda Madhav. How can anyone ever forget that. And then there was KS Wines, SR Nagar, Konark, Tarnaka, Urvashi, Erramanzil, Good lands, Tarnaka...I think we should do a separate list on that.

Rajendra said...

I remember Bier Keller fondly..no memories of the others, fond or otherwise.

Harimohan said...

Bier Keller was the one I liked best. No fake attitude. Have a good time was the motto.

firdaus byramji said...

Awesome, I had forgotten some of these.
There was also a "passport" pub in Ramada hotel
and a "Cloud 9" in Begumpet.

Spanish Fly at Hotel Asrani came in much later ofcourse.