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Booze with Books: Yay or Nae?

Booze with Books: Yay or Nae?
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Ernest Hemingway reportedly said, "Write drunk, edit sober." But I wonder what he'd have to say about the newfound trend of reading while imbibing.

Hoppipola has always had a bookshelf in its bars (along with a plethora of games) and Mockingbird Cafe Bar in Mumbai has a literature-themed cocktail menu, featuring tempters like 'Romeo and Julep', 'One Flew Over The Cosmo's Nest' and 'Gin Eyre'. But the icing on the cake has to be the launch of a literature-themed outlet of The Beer Cafe at Logix City Centre Mall in Noida.

Tales with ales, anyone?

"Our bars are well stocked with both beers and books! One can find popular reads like The Premier Murder, The Promise, Nick Time, Draupadi in High heels, Paperback Dreams, Kindled Lives, With or Without You, Spotgirl and others from authors like Durjoy Datta & Ravinder Singh," says Rahul Singh, Founder and CEO, The Beer Cafe.

Honestly, I think the only time I've sipped while reading has been in a cafe cum bookstore like Food For Thought at Kitab Khana, Mumbai and Coffee by Di Bella outlets. Cafes and books go rather well together but booze with books might take some getting used to. For one, would you be able to focus on Rushdie's layered prose or Pamuk's sublime narratives while getting steadily high on beer?

New goal: Drink until you can't read!

"Beer with a book on a beach is completely different from beer with a book in a bar. The idea sounds good but it depends on the personality of the bar. The music I'm assuming, would be loud. Plus, it's not just readers who would frequent the place. Not everyone understands books and beer the way readers do," says Sayali Kadam, a creative copywriter.

But the vast majority of tipple-loving readers seems to be well aboard the idea of bars with bookshelves. "Why not?" says Nivedita Jayaram, a lifestyle writer. "I'd love a slow beer with a fast novel." Put that way, the concept does seem alluring. "I would totally love to read over a drink (after two, it may become tough!) - but this sounds like a good way to meet up with friends and book-lovers also!" agrees Charukesi Ramadurai, a freelance travel writer.

A beer bar never looked so cosy

Talking about how the idea for the cafe came about, Singh says, "We have observed our customers and ardent readers engrossed in books and enjoying a beer or two in solace and that’s exactly how I am. This is where the idea of an escape zone, fused with two things hard to put down – beer and books came to us."

The Beer Cafe in Noida, which is the 37th outlet of the bar chain in India, comes with an artful ambience, heavily derived from literary influences, along with fun brew-based word plays on popular book titles. I've certainly enjoyed a novel with a glass of wine but I think beer is an accompaniment worth trying. What do you think?

Ankita Shreeram

Ankita Shreeram

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