There are times when bars in this city leave you pleasantly surprised, and there are most times when they offer nothing new, leaving you walking away with a good experience nonetheless. There are other times when you end up having an out and out terrible experience, but this was the first time that I was left bewildered to an extent that I lost track of where I was and what I was doing. I am still coming to terms with my tryst with Ariess Café, as I attempt to paint a picture of my time spent there through this piece.
I didn’t know where I was going on a rainy Saturday evening, except that I knew I was in a mood to explore a new place. I’ve always maintained that Andheri East is underrated in terms of its nightlife, and Ariess Café, on the surface, seemed to be another case in point to strengthen my stand.
I entered the place with a friend, and the very first thing that caught our attention was the sprawling space thanks to an unusually large floor area. It didn’t take us long to figure out that this was a Sheesha lounge cum bar wrapped into one big box. So, if you’re one of those who doesn’t like the Sheesha smoke, and you want a drinking space that only lets you breathe clean air and nothing else, you’re not getting it here. On the other hand, if you are a Sheesha fan, then boy, this place is calling out to you!
We weren’t Sheesha fans by any stretch of imagination, so the ambiance was a bit of a turn-off, but we decided to not walk out anyway. Sometimes, you’ve just got to make compromises, and we decided to make one that evening because the place did show promise to be honest.
We called for their Mini Chicken Platter (INR 350), which came with 4 different types of Tandoor styled chicken (Chicken Tikka, Chicken Reshmi Tikka, Hariyali Tikka and Chicken tandoori). It was wholesome, filling and delicious.
After going through an expansive drinks menu, we settled for a Kiwi Margarita under their ‘Signature Cocktails’ section (INR 500) and a Mojito (INR 300), deciding to play it safe. The Margarita was good, but for 500 bucks a cocktail, I was left yearning for that something extra. The Mojito was too sweet for our liking. But overall, the food and drinks did make us feel that the initial compromise we made paid off, and it was largely due to that fantastic chicken platter.
Unfortunately, things just went downhill from there. I must point out that if you were in my place that evening and if you have even the most basic sense of music, you’d have instantly felt like walking up to their DJ and asking him, “What the fuck are you doing?”. If you’re going to fuse English Pop, Trance, EDM and Bollywood for an audience, you better be the best bloody DJ in the world. This dude had no clue what he was up to, and all you could do was cringe because he seemed like a lost cause anyway.
The clock struck 11 pm and suddenly, with tacky lights shining on the dance floor and the weirdest transitions ever, Ariess started climbing the ‘shady’ ladder. With every passing minute, the place got increasingly dubious, and I was left shell shocked to be honest at the end of it all. We placed an order for an egg wrap and while it took its own sweet time to come, we were being subjected to an extremely outlandish surrounding. It gave me a good reason to cancel the order while I questioned my existence, because this surely wasn’t the place I walked into one hour ago.
To clear the bill, I was asked to go to the bar counter. I noticed a mini-temple perched on the wall behind the bar. It was the cherry on the bizarre cake. Never again, Ariess. Never again.
Where? 54 A, Elite AutoHouse, Next to Kanakia Wallstreet, Andheri Kurla Road, Chakala, Mumbai
Cuisine: Indian, Continental, Chinese
Cocktails You Must Try: Fizzy Passion, Kiwi Margarita
Food You Must Try: Chicken Tandoor Platter
Is there a dance floor? Yes
Avg price per head: INR 1000