When you sign up for a life in Mumbai you have to make a few sacrifices, clean air, living space, having your side mirrors clipped by rickshaw drivers and my least favourite, living amongst the gentry. They’re everywhere.
They’ve always been in our colleges, in our book stores, in our families and in our frozen yogurt shops (just eat ice cream), with their non prescription glasses and Homegrown bookmarked on their iPhones; and we’ve learned to accept them and go on with our lives. But this time they’re coming for the institutions we hold most sacred; our sidey bars. And the only way we foil their agenda for social justice, “equality” and mandatory veganism is to spot them. We’ve even parted with one our rule against making listicles to bring them down.
Mimicking places of abject poverty and acute alcoholism might seem strange, but the gentry are a strange people. If you’ve ever been to Quarter House, Rude Lounge or True Tramm Trunk you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about. Which is why, after a thorough investigation involving years drinking and sadness, The Bombay Report is proud to present Mumbai’s first guide to spotting fake sidey bars.
1) There Is No Imminent Danger
A real sidey bar gives you the sense that at any moment shit could go down. It probably never will. But it could. If the bar you’re at doesn’t make you feel that at any second you might get stabbed, it isn’t really a sidey bar.
2) They Serve Corona
No self respecting sidey bar serves Corona, hell, even a Heineken is grounds enough to having their sidey status revoked. If you find yourself comfortably sipping a cold Corona in front of what appears to be a dilapidated, unpainted brick wall, then sorry, you’re not in a sidey bar.
3) The Waiter’s Thumb Is Not In Your Food
When a waiter at a sidey bar is serving you your food, it’s customary for him to stick a small but significant portion of his thumb into whatever he’s serving you. It symbolises oneness. If your waiter isn’t sticking his thumb in your food, sorry, you’re not at a sidey bar.
4) There’s WiFi.
No, you are not in a sidey bar.
5) You Don’t Have To Share Tables
Sharing tables with total strangers is a hallmark of sidey bar culture, and one I personally hold dear. The whole point of going to a bar is to meet new people then make awkward eye contact with them for the rest of the evening.
6) The Waiter Hands You The Bill Only After You’re Done
Mumbai’s sidey bars pride themselves in efficiency. If your waiter doesn’t hand you the bill while you’re halfway through your cheese pakoda, you’re probably at some place posing as a truly sidey bar.
7) Women Are Comfortable Going There
Although there are some exceptions, no true sidey bar is welcoming or safe for women, hell, they’re barely safe for men. If your lady friend isn’t terrified and isn’t tugging on your shirt to leave the moment you walk in, you’re not at a sidey bar.