MG Road Pubs to Pull Down Shutters Following SC’s Booze Ban on National Highways
The Supreme Court has put out an order out that alcohol cannot be served within a distance of 500 metres from a National Highway. Owing to this, hundreds of pubs will be closing down in Bangalore on the midnight of 30th June. The most prominent areas will include MG Road, Brigade Road and Church Street.
Although the pubs can continue to serve food and other beverages, most of their income comes from the sales of alcohol. Owners of pubs that have been given the order are hoping for a reform soon. Collin Timms, co-owner of Pecos, a pub on Brigade Road will be affected not only there, but his other branches will suffer too. “Bengaluru is a global and a world-class city and many people come here hoping to be part of a world-class lifestyle. They are sure to be disappointed and we only hope for an early resolution to this crisis,” Timms said in an interview with ET.
Many pubs around the city aren’t going to be affected by the order, but the owners and people in the business are saddened and are standing with their peers.
Neeraj Chandrasekhar, the owner of Brewklyn Pub in Kammanahalli, Bangalore told us, “Our pub is not going to be affected since we are not around a national highway, but rules can change and this can affect anyone. If they are affected today, we can be affected tomorrow. All of us who are involved in the business are saddened by this action. Nothing can be done as of now, but the Government of Karnataka is trying to help out and not make Bangalore lose the title of ‘Pub Capital of India’. I feel that this might be a temporary thing and that pubs will be up and running in a couple of months.”
He added, “It is just saddening to see that thousands of people might lose their jobs. It’s not just affecting the people visiting the pubs but also the livelihood of the people working in hundreds of these pubs.”
Mihika, a 26-year-old and a regular visitor to the pubs around Bangalore told us that it may not affect customers too much,
“I think customers will always find a new pub to go to, but it will be hard for the people who have to look for new jobs. I just hope that they are able to sustain their incomes somehow.”
An excise department official said: “We have issued notices and we will freeze all alcoholic beverage stock on July 1 and allow their sale only either on their relocation or on the removal of legal difficulties.“However, not all pubs can afford to relocate or want to do the same. The order came about as National Highways 44, 75, 209, 275, 4 and 7 branch out into different parts of the city including the prominent hangout zone of MG Road.
Pic credits: Kanigas