A WEEK after the Supreme Court prohibited the sale of alcohol within 500 metres of state and national highways, Gurgaon’s Sector 29 market, which had emerged as a hub of restaurants, pubs and bars frequented by the young working crowd, is, once again, seeing patrons.
In the wake of the SC order, 20 outlets in the area could no longer serve alcohol, many of which have downed their shutters since — until the Excise Department re-measures their distance from the highway and announces a final verdict.
But those in Sector 29 which fall beyond the 500 metre mark were also hit by the confusion, and have seen only a marginal increase in footfall over the last seven days. Managers and members of the staff attributed this to a variety of factors, including Navratri.
“After the slowdown, our business has seen a rise of only five to 10 per cent. We expect it will increase further in the coming days since Navratri affects footfall in a big way,” said the manager of a microbrewery in the area not hit by the ban.
He added, “Even our customers can only increase by a certain amount, because our seating capacity is still the same, so we won’t expect that the crowd will increase beyond maybe 20 or 30 per cent. People would rather go to other outlets where rush is less, whether that is in this market or in other areas like Golf Course Road.”
Staffers at these restaurants also claimed that clientele has been affected by the confusion prevailing since the SC order. A board outside a bar in the area Friday evening informed prospective patrons: “Alcohol is served here”, with staff claiming that footfall had increased by “about 10 per cent” since the SC order.
A staff member of the establishment said, “A lot of people have been under the impression that all of the Sector 29 market is closed, and do not know that some of us are still working.” The manager at the popular Beer Café in the area also reported a rise in footfall by “about 15 or 20 per cent”.