Dewar's refuses to change
Pubs hoppers ensure that very few pubs or bars stay in fashion for a long time. And the pubs, bars and restaurants are forever trying to reinvent themselves to changing (and often fickle) consumer tastes. However if you are an establishment that has something that's going right for you, the best thing to do is - refuse to change. And that's exactly what Dewar's Bar on Cockburn Road, that opened in the 1920s, a short hop from the Cantonment Railway Station has done.
The official story however is that the owner of the bar requested his son not to change a thing about the Bar after his days, when he passed away in the early 90s.
The building is the same. The bar behind the counter is the same. The round rosewood table that was originally imported from Singapore looks age proof is the same. The well covered lady selling under the gaze of somarasa drinking gods and goddesses is the same. Even the fans move at the same speed that was set when Bengaluru had the famous Bangalore weather.
And when the power goes off, there's no back up power. The building keeps the interiors pretty cool on the hottest May afternoon.
However, what keeps the place going is the clientele. That hasn't changed much too. The bar is cheap enough for the daily wage earners and porters (coolies) from Cant. Station to stand and drink as patrons who come in petrol-drinking sedans sink into the cane chairs and escape from the world for a short while.
However there is one more reason why this place stays on the must-visit 'kudix' place of Benglur - it's the thindi or food. To be more precise, it's the spicy fare that you get to line your stomach walls as you down your drinks.
The preparation of the food at Dewar's is outsourced to Richard. Richard is an Anglo-Indian, who still calls himself a mechanic from Malleshwaram. While fixing bikes is what he loves most, he makes a lot more money by honing his hobby, cooking, at Dewar's.
The most popular dish apart from the regular chicken dishes is the must-try Fried King Fish. The other popular dishes that draws in the people are the liver, kidney and offal fries. Don't squirm - it's yummy and worth a try. Remember, this is the part of Benglur that relishes - Kutti-pi.
Richard, who studied at St Germain close by, works in this small kitchen, next to the entrance that hasn't changed for ages too.
There's one more thing that hasn't changed. The toilet, that is also the store room for old bottles. The owner refuses to change the plumbing too it seems. However, there are enough buckets of water stored to keep the place stink-free.
Which main? What cross? has been written about in today's Deccan Herald. Read 'Images from Urban Life".
The Which Main? What Cross? The Exhibition - Is on until May 31st.