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The Dark Side Of Bangalore Night Life and After-Party Scene

Shhhh….to keep things secret and safe, no friend or venue names are mentioned in the blog post. There are also no photos from the after party scene 🙂 This photo was taken at one of my old favorite bars in Barcelona called CDLC.

It hasn’t taken me long to learn that when the sun goes down, that’s when Bangalore really heats up.  This isn’t Ibiza or Los Angeles but I have to admit that for such a conservative country like India that the nightlife has pleasantly surprised me.  There are so many venues in town that there is literally someplace to go to suit any mood, any night of the week.

I love hearing stories about “before” the change in opening times and before the big bar boom that took place.  With over 200 bars and clubs, the city is known as India’s Pub City.  Though for me a pub is a beer bar and I haven’t personally seen loads of pubs around…but I don’t actually drink beer so to be honest I haven’t been looking out for pubs either.  From what I know, the big boom happened right around the time that the city started growing into the 2nd Silicon Valley, which makes a certain amount of sense if you know San Fran and the Silicon Valley.  In fact, my little brother lives in San Fran and works for a tech company in Mountain View and I have never seen anyone throw back more beers and enjoy a pub more than him 🙂

It’s been a strange transition for me here after living for the past 8 years in Barcelona.  You see, there, the typical ‘night out’ went something like this: around 11:00pm friends would gather together at one friend’s flat for a pre-evening drink and to catch up.  Then around 12:30am we would head out for drinks until 3:30am when the bars closed, and then we’d change from a bar to a disco and stay at times until 6am.  After that, there is the option to go to an after-hours club or go to a friends’ flat for a chillout party.  But typically, in Spain you’d head out at night with sunglasses because the sun would be up on the walk home.  That’s something I really miss, actually…and something I have only done twice since moving here.

According to my mates, when the law changed and opening hours for bars and clubs was reduced, the party scene in Bangalore changed too.  Long gone was the 2am closing time, with party goers happily heading home to grab some shut-eye after saying goodbye to their friends.  Now bars start shutting down around 11:15pm, leaving most people still wanting more and not ready to head home yet.  So they don’t.  For many people, the night goes on when the bars close.  You see, there is a massive post party scene here which I am having lots of fun experiencing.  And because my group of friends are locals who were born here in town and they are friends with (or know) the owners of the hottest bars in town and have been part of the party scene for years and years – I am lucky to be experiencing it now.

What we have here is not an underground scene but in some ways it functions just like one.

Option one is quite exclusive, we go to an after-party at someone’s home or flat.  The type of parties varies, trust me!  I have been to gutted apartments that someone keeps for just this purpose that is massively stocked with booze and mixers, has a sound system but almost no furniture – and I know just about everyone since it is just friends.  I have attended after parties in massive 8,000 square foot homes where I never did sort out who actually owned the home to say thanks and introduce myself – and where I only knew my actual friends.  We’ve gone to the flat of “friends of friends” where there are a couple of people I know.  These parties all tend to break up by 3:00 or 3:30am.  They are fun as hell, too.  We have a drink, listen to music and hang out solving life’s problems, dance, play silly games and basically just sit around trying to make each other laugh.  Sometimes friends stop for food on the way, the favourite is a major pit stop at Empire.  And if the police come because of the noise, one of the guys acts as liaison to the group, goes out to speak with them, passes some Rupees their way and that sorts out the problem 🙂  Gotta love India.

Option two is also very exclusive but in a different way.  Bar owners will stay open or reopen after all the guests have gone for private parties for groups of friends or trusted patrons.  I won’t mention bar names but they are the same bars that we visit (or would visit) anyway.  There are a few stipulations surrounding these after parties.  First, in some cases you aren’t allowed to park near the bar to avoid drawing attention from other party goers or the police.  Second, the music is often either off or super SUPER low.  This makes option two a little less fun than the private flat/home party but having a bartender on hand is a real bonus.  If you want to bring food in with you it’s also fine, the owners don’t care because their kitchen is already closed.  These parties don’t last as long as the others might but they are quite fun and you don’t have to clean up afterwards which is fabulous.

Option three is the most unique…but in a fun way!  There are people in town who sort of convert their flat into a chillout lounge and offer drinks and food to approved, invited guests for a fee.  The first time I went to one I was trying to get my head around this business.  One such chillout is located in a flat on the 1st floor of a residential area downtown.  The really sweet guy who runs it plays music at a pretty high volume.  He serves drinks and will whip up eggs or other dishes for hungry guests.  Or if you stopped for a masala dosa or other snack you can bring it in and eat it there.  It’s pretty much like option one mixed with the benefits of the bartender from option two.  I’m really curious how much money these places bring in and how they get away with the loud music??  I have enjoyed talking to a really diverse assortment of people, I mean this is the one spot I have had the opportunity to meet people that I normally wouldn’t meet elsewhere.  It’s interesting.

Rumour has it that the closing time for bars will be changing again soon, hopefully back to 2am.  Fingers crossed, because it would be nice not to have to move around town half way through the night anymore!!!

XOXO from Bangalore

© Angela Carson and Angela’s Adventures in Bangalore blog and photos, 2011

I started Angela’s Bangalore from my hotel room on the very first day I moved to India in 2011, while struck with jet lag! It was my very first blog, the country’s very 1st luxury travel blog. Now I’m rocking YouTube as @ExpatAngela, hope you’ll subscribe.

This article has 15 comments

  1. Andrew Paul Whyte

    Did you end up getting your Masala dosa last night? Reading this I can now see why it was on your mind last night 🙂

    • angela_carson

      haha…omg NO, but I did just eat one about 10 minutes ago. I little light on the potatoe but it was damn good 🙂 Nice to meet you last night, see you soon!

  2. CreO~Taur

    Am Glad Your Having Fun Here In InDia Angela =)

  3. Bibi

    Wow! I never knew!

  4. Amrita

    I used to live in Bangalore when suddenly the “11:30 pm rule” started to get implemented! And life just turned around for all of us party-goers! From club-hopping throughout the night to being left high and dry and thrown before midnight – it was truly a shock. I remember one New Year, the city pubs and clubs took special PERMISSION from the cops to relax the rule so guests could stay till midnight and not be forced to celebrate their new year in the club’s parking lot!! I remember this one club, which was on the 2nd floor and which had deployed a security guard outside the premises on the ground floor, whose only job was to watch out for the cops, and if he saw them, he was to hit a buzzer which flashed a massive red light in the club above, which was a signal for everyone to get out, in case it was beyond the permissible time!! Yeah, it was crazy. Dampened the party spirits altogether. Eventually, people stopped trying these tactics, as they were just not worth it. I think some 5-star hotels are allowed to serve liquor beyond 11:30 but can’t afford to go there at all times.

    You are right, the after-party scene is really good in Bangalore. And it is a relatively small city, so the networking among the party-goers is really strong. You may already be aware of this but there’s a guy called Viren Khanna in Bangalore, whom every party-goer city would know or have heard about, especially the EXPATS. He’s into event management and hosts tons of parties on a regular basis. He caters especially to the foreigners in Bangalore. Here’s his web address: http://www.bangalore-expatriate-club.com/about_bios.asp?id=11

    Enjoy and stay safe!

    • angela_carson

      Hey, loved the long comment 🙂 I love the party scene here in town and the after party scene. And have such a blast every time, it’s great.

      And yes, everyone keeps telling me about these expat parties that Viren puts on, I know people who go to them…but I have been avoiding expats with a passion. I have 3 expats that are friends in town who I met organically through my wanderings but I really want to experience India and make Indian friends as much as possible. So far I have been pretty successful. And I am not saying it will never happen and I won’t end up going to the expat parties but for now I am doing my best to steer clear of expat parties. xo

  5. Bharath

    Cool, I think when I am visit India this time, you would have acquainted more places and people. Sure I could use some help from you then…hahahahah

    Cheers!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  6. Sam

    First off, love your blog! I’m an expat from Tennessee, and just recently came to Bangalore. Have been out a couple times, and am always left craving to party more by midnight, but have no idea where to go 🙁 Would be great if I could get some suggestions!?

    • angela_carson

      Thanks so much…hope the blog has helped a bit.

      After midnight you need to really be connected to get invited to the private club sessions or the bigger local after party. What I would suggest is to pre-plan an after party at your or a friend’s place and then invite a few cool locals you meet while at the bar or club you are at in order to expand your network a bit 🙂 Then maybe next time they would invite you… Where are your favourite spots so far? –angela

  7. Alex N Abraham

    hi IAm from Middle class christain family I live chennai after my graduation. Immediately I needed to settle with job.During 1992 to settle private jobs were difficult. Now a days becoz of outsoursing we can find MNC companies & graduates finding suitable job opportunities.For youngsters & freshers life is good BAngalore then for married peoples they need stable job security also stable peaceful lifes.

  8. Pingback: The Rupee: Generous To Some, A Bitch To Others « Angela's Adventures in Bangalore

  9. Patrick Campbell

    Hi Angela, I stumbled across your blog this evening and have thoroughly enjoyed reading the parts that I have. As someone who is moving to Bangalore at the end of the month, it has provided an invaluable insight into life in this fascinating city. Furthermore, as someone who plans to blog about his experiences, it has been both inspiring and provocative. Thanks for sharing!

    • angela_carson

      Rock on, Patrick. I look forward to checking out your blog when you start it up here… do ping me back. Thanks for your sweet words and for taking the time to comment. Cheers, angela

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