Bengaluru’s pubs wait to reopen even as their losses mount | Bengaluru News – Times of India
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BENGALURU: While the state government has allowed restaurants and bars to operate with 50 per cent occupancy, pubs are still waiting for the green signal.
Brigade Road, MG Road, Church Street and other popular stretches are seeing good footfall following Unlock, but many people are disappointed that haunts famous for serving draught and locally brewed beer are still shut.
Even restaurants and bars cannot offer on-tap beer under the current guidelines, but are permitted to serve all types of bottled alcohol.
A large number of commercial activities in the city have resumed after two months of Covid-19 restrictions, and owners are hoping for a quick recovery. The pub business, heavily dependent on footfall, is in dire straits. On 100 Feet Road, Indiranagar, trash has piled up on the premises of some outlets that were once popular nightlife spots.
Mounting losses and debt have prompted fears that certain outlets may shut down permanently. A famous pub near the Sony signal junction in Indiranagar could not recover from the previous lockdown, and a dilapidated building remains in its place. A pub on MG Road is also in poor condition.
Deepak Sood, a former president of the Church Street Welfare Association, said that the government was being unfair by keeping pubs shut longer. “There are eight pubs on Church Street and their stakeholders have invested a lot of money. It pains us that authorities don’t even engage pub representatives before taking unlocking decisions. Pubs remain closed, while all other places are allowed to reopen,” he said.
The pub business employs a large number of migrant workers, who have been struggling because of Covid lockdowns. “After the lockdown came into effect last year, the Koramangala pub where I was working shut down. I took a Shramik train to my hometown of Shillong. I returned in January this year after things started to look up. But a lockdown was again announced in April,” said 23-year-old Yuvraj Gurung, who worked as a waiter. “I am hoping for things to quickly reopen as I have savings to live in the city for only a few more days.”
Chethan Hegde, the founder of 1522 pub chain, said that the industry got clarity only on July 3 and many establishments were yet to start operations because of various reasons. “The industry has received a massive blow. We had to pay taxes and cover other costs, including salaries. Now, the industry is picking up the pieces. We hope that we are back in another 10 days,” he said. Hegde added that his outlets were open but he was not selling draught beer.