Showing posts from June, 2022

STATION HALTS: Bombay's Quarter Bars

This piece originally appeared in Time Out Mumbai, I think in October or November 2004 or 2005. It's a pity their archive is not online.   There’s nightclubs. And then there’s nightlife, that netherworld of the heart, easily unbound by a peg or two. For those who bemoan Bombay’s lack of cafĂ© culture,where have you been? Bombay’s quarter bars – unexceptional, no-class drinking rooms – are full of men, the occasional women, and the moist buzz of a crowd drinking and talking about love, loss, art, stocks, office politics and cosmic truth. They are all here, salesmen, admen, managers, actors, teachers; the overworked, the unemployed, the enigmatically solitary, the habitually melancholic or alcoholic, the naturally gregarious or drunk on one beer, the eternally unrequited, the perpetually hopeful. Not seeing or being seen – just the citizenry, celebrating the bittersweet life and cheap booze.   Like many things in the clickety-clack rhythm of this city’s life, quarter bars are conc