Social (Khar West, Mumbai)

The most admirable thing about Khar Social is its no d-heads policy. How they’ve managed to protect the venue from the swathes of seedy, sneaky and status-seeking males is a modern mystery. By most nightlife standards, the venue is cheap, a round of drinks for 4 people and I have change from 1k INR. Moreover, there is no entry charge. Usually this would spell disaster but as I spoke about a few months back in a social media post, Social is brimming with top lads.

“Left a full wallet at the bar last night…. Thinking it had been swiped, I then spot some lad, waving a wallet for a few minutes to get my attention. Top Lad”

The venue itself is in two halves: there is Social (Bar/Restaurant) and an underground club “Anti-Social”. On the Social Part, it’s not exactly a Connoisseur’s dream. You are made to eat from silver dishes, that remind me of the sort of bowls our canine friends might eat from. The food is inexpensive and ranges from the creative (Satay Paneer in Crispy Lettuce Wraps) to the pedestrian (dry falafel and pita bread) and every permutation of sweet comforting junk in between (honey coated fries, chilli paneer or potato skins smothered in BBQ sauce).

The drinks selection is dubious: I’d rather drink neat balsamic than the vinegary, gone off Malbec. However if you like big fluorescent cocktails in oversized test tubes, you might like the Electric LIT (long island) or one of the cocktails on offer. They are clearly making an effort with the branding: personalised tissue roll, “pani” glasses and visibly irritated waiters running around in beige tee shirts.

The music selection in Social is accessible for the masses. If I hear “turn down for what” another time, I might just throw myself from the top floor balcony though! Nevertheless as I mentioned, there are some fun people in here.

The downstairs club “Anti-Social” is without a doubt the deal-maker. Anti Social genuinely represents something different in the city. It’s a haven for some of the best techno and house DJs that India has to offer and even has some imported talent too. And just to clarify, no, I don’t mean the “wait for the drop, then fist pump” style aerobics garbage that’s blasted out in just about every nightclub in the city. It really is at the margins of the Indian nightlife scene, but seeing the likes of Arjun Vagale work his magic on the 1s and 2s at Anti-Social, I’m ever hopeful that more places like this will find their feet.

There is a flat fee entry of 500 INR, which is reasonable given the quality of the lineup on most nights and vis-a-vis the scandalous charges of other clubs, where they might attempt to swindle you for up to 5k for admission unless you are prepared to put your dignity aside and provide services to the promoter, who is invariably the most narcissistic, arrogant human being the world has ever seen.

Let’s not beat around the bush, Anti-Social is where I belong…

AA Connoisseur

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