R’Adda (Juhu, Mumbai)

A few older Millennial friends of mine remind me of the glory days of the Mumbai clubbing scene, where clubs like Aziano, Poison, Jazz By The Bay & Fire n’ Ice ruled the roost. Those were very different times, very liberal times…For the elite Bombayites of that time, it couldn’t have been better, the stock market was roaring, India was opening up to the world and unlike today its clubs were open past 1.30am…It also coincided with my first visit to Bombay. I was captivated by the raw energy and hedonism that the city had to offer.  At the time, EDM was not so much in vogue and you could find some places spinning a mix of hip hop and Bollywood (always a good idea).

Alas, since then, it seems an overly conservative minority of bureaucrats have sought to undermine the city’s round the clock opening times and the predilection for mind-numbing EDM is all pervasive.  As a result of the “fun police”, the number of house parties has skyrocketed and on any day in a half cosmopolitan apartment block, you can hear the shrieks and low bass tones of popular music reverberating around the building.

The beauty of the nightclub, is not in my view, as a cesspool for fornicating, drug-taking revellers, but as a meeting point to bring people together who would not otherwise meet. Without such places, people are driven deeper into their residential “wells” in familiar social confines and the fear of meeting new strangers is perpetuated. In my case, I would be confined to the corporate drones of my profession and the limited social circle I had before moving to Bombay.  The digital age has certainly gone some way to connecting disparate people, but the nightclub or bar still remains the golden milieu for meet & greet.

How does this relate to R’Adda you might ask?

Upon entering R’adda, I had a feeling of déjà vu. The place was packed to the rafters with men and mostly women dancing on tables, groups mingling in the foyer and guests enjoying the early 2000s RnB classics (think Beyonce, Usher, R Kelly). The place is one of very few clubs which stays open late and which is not located in one of the 5 star hotels. The problem with 5 star joints is they instantly seem to impose a formality on guests and attract an older, wealthier crowd, the “sugar Daddy” types you might say. R’adda has none of these shortcomings, it was free to enter provided you are on the G-List (guestlist),  packed with young twenty-somethings and not a paid for female (or male as I know that profession is gaining in popularity) in sight.

What about the place, Mr Connoisseur man?

Gosh! How should I know…At 1.30am in a dark bar, the last thing I would want to do is bring my Connoisseur cap and clipboard to record some intricate details of the place. Frankly, I could barely tell you one significant thing about the place, except I saw a bar, which went unused in my case, some wooden tables and some loos, which were remarkably clean and well attended. I could tell you about the old friends, the acquaintances I met at R’Adda place, but then I’d be straying into personal Journal territory…

Ultimately, R’Adda throws you back to better times in the city; the energy of the place is infectious, it’s open late and represents something that is so desperately lacking in the Bombay of 2016.

However if the new 24/7 licencing laws that the government recently approved come into force, Bombay’s quest for genuine nightlife might not be such a distant reality…

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