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Raise the bar

Pubs these days are often easy come and easy shut,but when Nevil Timbadia and his four partners planned their resto-bar...

January 7, 2009 2:12:45 am

Mumbai’s first interactive bar at Bonobo allows you to mix your own drinks

Pubs these days are often easy come and easy shut,but when Nevil Timbadia and his four partners planned their resto-bar,they came up with a unique idea to make it an interactive bar,where guests make their own drinks. Appropriately,it’s called Bonobo.

“Bonobos are said to be the predecessors of humans,just that they were wilder. We wanted to give people the space to feel like them — free and untamed,” explains Timbadia,who worked as bartender for three years in Australia.

Within a week of opening,Bonobo,at Kenilworth Mall off Linking Road,is already witnessing a packed house. People throng in to try their hands at mixology. “Currently,we are using limited variety of alcohol since we’re still to acquire all the licenses. But the response is flattering,” exclaims the 25-year-old as he leads us to the bar.

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Tamanna Reddy,a college student,who was relishing her version of martini,was there for the third time in 10 days. “I never knew I could make martinis from any and every thing. Mixology is my latest hobby,” she stated.

What also apparently works for the place is the fact that the price of the basic drink is all you pay for the ‘experience’. “If I can have so much fun at the basic price of the alcohol I’d anyway have,I can do this often,” says Reddy’s friend Abhishek Mehta as he strains his cocktail into the glass,with Topsin William Pires,the chief bartender,guiding him patiently.

With each amateur mixologist taking at least five to seven minutes behind the counter,one of the owner’s concerns is to control the crowd. “The interactive bar closes at 10 pm on weekends but on all other days,reservation is must,” he adds.

As we take over where Reddy had left,Pires greets us with enthusiasm,handing over the charge of the bar. The session,as it turns out,is quite an experience. There’s a sense of power that comes with being behind the bar counter – it changes the way you look at the world. With a variety of alcohol,at least two dozen flavour syrups,innumerable fresh ingredients—pomegranates to green chillies to cinnamon and aniseed to wine-soaked raisins and dates — and liquors to choose from,it makes you wiser in terms of taking your pick and investing your money in it.

It also gives you a sense of control—the mere touch of otherwise mundane kitchen items like shakers,strainers and blenders against the skin can make you feel like you rule everything behind that bar.

But the biggest high that the experience gives you is that it can completely take over your sense of sight and smell. The joy of watching the ice splash into your spirit and the fragrance of one ingredient mixing with another feels no less than an exotica and can make you feel like the creator of all things good. Or at least Pires allows you to feel like that.

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