Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Nightlife in Bangalore

Nightlife in Bangalore - New York Times


These are strange times in India's fast-rising high-tech capital, whose abundance of bars and clubs have earned it the moniker Pub City: a law enacted last June has effectively banned dancing in bars and nightclubs and forces them to close by 11:30 p.m.

Officially named the Licensing and Controlling of Place of Public Entertainment (Bangalore City) Order, 2005, the law was ostensibly intended to shut down illegal go-go bars. But the police have applied the vaguely worded law's strictures to practically all places of "public entertainment" in this city of some seven million.

Some bar and restaurant owners have challenged the law in the courts, and a few establishments have received permission to allow dancing or to stay open past 11:30 on certain nights, according to the Bangalore office of the Ministry of Tourism.

The city now has a Fashion Weekend in June, and throughout the year, Indian designers preside over fashion shows at the majestic Leela Palace hotel, whose indoor Galleria is Bangalore's answer to Rodeo Drive.

For the most elite retail adventure, flag down an autorickshaw and tell the driver, "Vithal Mallya Road." After buzzing noisily among the other hornetlike black-and-yellow autorickshaws that swarm Bangalore's streets, you'll be deposited along a pleasant tree-lined strip of boutiques glowing with some of India's coolest creations.

The music in each boutique offers a clue to its wares. In Ritu Kumar, strains of sitar complement the traditional, richly embroidered saris and salwar-kameez outfits made by Ms. Kumar, the elder stateswoman of Indian fashion. (According to her Web site,, Ms. Kumar has dressed more than 20 Miss Indias .)

At Ffolio, which represents some 20 top Indian designers, the groove of the Red Hot Chili Peppers provides the soundtrack for racks of funky threads that seem tailored for nightclubbing Rajasthani princesses.

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