India Trip. Blog 9 Lucknow (January 10, 2020) The Lucknow Bar
8:15 Evening. A hell of an experience just now. I went out of the hotel and walked down the main road. I think the direction is to the south.
There were no restaurants around that I could see and it was quite hard to walk, sometimes, on the street. In some places, the sidewalk was blocked and there was all kinds of filth. Just amazing.
But there are some hotels and restaurants on the other side of the street. I managed to dodge the traffic, motorcycles, cars, and buses and get over to the other side. In a place with the name “restaurant,” I asked if they had beer. He said, no. I asked him where there is a place that sells beer. He said that there is not a place like that.
I thought that it might be true in this area, but certainly not true in the whole city. So I walked back in the direction I had come toward Husseinganj. There is a metro stop there just close to the hotel.
Finally, I made it back to the Mira Mann Hotel, with the horse and rider in front. I went to the small road on the other side of the street. I noticed that across that small road, there was a quite big sign that said “Restaurant and Bar.” But there was really no sign of a bar.
So I went over there, dodging the motorcycles. The place just looked like all the other dirty and crummy store fronts. But there was a guy in front. I asked him where was the bar. “Bar kaha hai?” He pointed up the steps toward a door. And sure enough, there was a bar inside there. It was being run by a young guy.
Another young guy came from the back and said in English that they were going to make a video for a whiskey brand and he wanted me to review it. He said something about me getting some free whiskey if I would review the video. The brand was “Signature Whiskey.” But I told him that I really did not care to drink whiskey. I told him that I had just come here for a beer. The young guy running the bar was back there. I asked if they had beer, because the place was pretty much set up for various types of whiskey, it seemed.
So I sat down at a table and aksed for a Kingfisher beer, light. They are 4.7 percent, which is not very light.
The waiter, a wretched looking guy, brought it. The bottle looked normal. He poured some in the glass, but I did not let him fill it. I noticed that it did not make any head like a normal beer would. I tasted it. It didn’t taste like any beer that I had ever tasted. I thought that it might be a different type of beer. Or I thought it could be that they had adulterated a beer or put something else in the Kingfisher bottle. I noticed that first, it was not making any foam. And it did not have any sparkles in it. It was just completely dead.
I said to myself: Okay, I will pay for this beer, but I am not going to drink it. I had already ordered some chips for Rupees seventy. Hardly worth it. But it is a bar.
Finally, I decided to just take the beer to the young guy and tell him that something was wrong with the beer. (Just talked to Selma.)
He looked at the beer. One could see that the color was off. There were no suds. Just a dead beer, and it did not taste at all like beer.
I told him that I would pay for it, but that it was not real beer. So he opened another Kingfisher beer. I tasted it and it was okay. I don’t think it was their fault, but somehow the bottle had just gone bad.
The workers in the Residency grounds offered me chai today.
I sat back down at the same table. I had finished the chips that were way too salty. After that, I ordered two papads. That was good with the beer.
This town is more fun than Calcutta, in my view.
I got to the end of the beer. Then I started thinking that I should have another one and forget the dinner at the hotel. All that formality to go through, it is just more comfortable in the bar.
Another choice on the menu was Tuborg beer. I think that it must be made in India. So I thought to try a Tuborg. I liked it better, but did not think to ask for a light one. This one was stronger at eight percent. I didn’t want that much alcohol, but thought that I would just drink it slowly.
Some guys had come into the place across from me. They were putting away the drinks very fast. I don’t know how many. They were all big and fat, sort of maganda types, but seemed friendly. Boy! They were really putting them away, peg after peg. There was a television on the wall, where a Cricket match was going on.
The only other thing I had was potato pakora. Alloo pakora. That was also Rupees seventy. A dollar or so. I was just enjoying soaking and poking and seeing what was going on there. I took a whiz before I finished the beer, just to take a look at the pisser. Man! What a dirty shit-hole! Revolting!
One has to say that this is a very dirty country for the most part. I jump back and forth from liking it to hating it. What a disaster it is!
Well, before I finished the beer, I asked the young guy running the place if I could take a picture of the bar and drinks. Not with a flash. I was pushing the film at ISO 800. He said it was okay. So I took a couple of shots.
Then the guys at the table near the bar wanted to take a selfie with me. Well, the big fat one did. That was okay. I enjoyed it. I could not really communicate with that guy, but he understood that I was an American. It was fun.
I paid up and left some tip. The bill was about Rupees 700. I made a couple of night pictures on the street. There was an old guy selling bananas. I bought a bunch from him for Rupees forty.
There was a general store where they had bottled water out in front. I bought a big bottle, rupees thirty. But getting across the street at the roundabout was an experience. I finally made it, but mostly by sticking close to some guy who was also crossing there. Sometimes it is the only way that I can do it.
I got across and came to the hotel. Well, I found my pub for this hotel. And that other guy was just telling me that I can just buy beer from a package shop, but not sit down to drink it. It was bullshit.
He surely would have known that it is not true, when I learned it the second day that I was here. I cannot say.
Anyway, I thought that it was a hell of a day and I enjoyed the experiences. Tomorrow I have a better idea of what is where and how to get around and take some more pictures. That is the story for today. I thought it was successful and I enjoyed it.