Bengaluru: Pubs, bars go dry as highway liquor ban kicks in
Bengaluru, 01 July 2017: The city’s famous watering holes pulled down their shutters well before their regular closing time on Friday. Pubs and bars close at 1 pm on weekends, but most were shut by 11.30 pm. At midnight, a Supreme Court ban on liquor vends within 500 metres of national highways came into force.
Many prominent roads in Bengaluru are national highways in official records. Some swanky bars on Lavelle Road closed at 9.30 pm, leaving customers high and dry.
The excise department has decided to implement the Supreme Court order. Excise commissioner Manjunath Nayak held a meeting to discuss the situation, hours before the ban kicked in.
As many as 827 liqour vends in the city and 6,015 in the state face closure in the wake of the verdict.
Officials believe at least 1,000 shops could survive as the government has already stripped some roads of their state-highway status.
On the other hand, owners of popular bars and pubs in Indiranagar and Koramangala and on MG Road and Church Street are pinning their hopes on some government manoeuvre to save their businesses.
Some are talking about moving to other locations. Peco’s is among the vends moving out.
N Srinivasa Gowda, operational manager, Peco’s, Indiranagar, said: “We have already moved our Church Street outlet to BTM Layout. We will be moving our Indiranagar outlet further down the street to a place not covered by the ban.”
A bar in Indiranagar will now serve food and non-alcoholic beverages, its manager said.
Another bar in the area sounded more optimistic. “This was the first place exclusively for beer in the whole of South India. It is disheartening to know we cannot run this anymore. However, I think the state government will be in favour for us,” he said.
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