A plan to reunite with my closest pal from my growing up years led to us choosing a place that was aptly titled. ‘Reunion Bar & Kitchen’ was our destination on a late Tuesday evening, and while we were bracing ourselves for a nostalgic meeting over alcohol, Reunion had some special plans for us.
The weirdest thing happened to us in the first fifteen minutes. Firstly, I was surprised that the place was packed to the rafters on a Tuesday night. The visibly confused bouncer told us that we could go in and stand at the bar till we got our table. On entering the place, it took us a good two minutes to find the god damn counter; in what felt like a secret chamber of sorts, with an upper floor dominated by one gigantic table and a basement that resembled a typical dive bar.
When we finally found the bar counter (face-palm moment, because it was right at the entrance), we were asked to step out again, presumably because of the lack in communication between the bouncer and the management. On another day, I would’ve calmly just walked away and found another place, but Reunion had intrigued us in the most inexplicable way possible. After getting mildly humiliated by being allowed in and then thrown out the next moment, we stood outside like patient and understanding customers, as we waited to get a table. We used the opportunity to do some pre-drinking catching up before the conversations could escalate with the alcohol.
Finally, we were in, and after the staff denied us a proper table, we reconsidered our decision to stay back. It was probably the most outlandish start to an evening of drinks. But then, a gigantic menu card with a never-ending list of cocktails, coupled with unbelievably cheap rates for all their alcohol sealed the deal. It’s amazing what the extreme right column of a menu card can do sometimes, making everything else take a back seat.
This was the longest list of cocktails I have ever come across in a bar, and each of them were priced at a flat rate of INR 250. We called for the Hangman’s Blood (an evil concoction of rum, whisky, brandy, wine and beer, which came in a tall glass and messed with my fucking brain the next morning) and an excessively strong Bloody Maria (a twist to the standard Bloody Mary wherein tequila takes over vodka). Being a beer fan, I didn’t mind the former being overpowered by a strong beer taste, but then I would’ve just called for a beer if I wanted one. In that sense, the Hangman’s was a disappointment. The Bloody Maria, on the other hand, was surprisingly good.
Soon enough, we found our alcohol being surrounded by one too many plates of chakna – masala papad, peanuts and boiled chana. We ordered a plate of Mutton Sheekh Kebab (INR 499), and while technically, INR 100 per piece looked unreasonable given the size of those kebabs, I have to admit that they absolutely nailed the dish.
The mixed evening was coasting along nicely and just before we concluded that our decision to stay turned out to be a good one, the DJ (if he was a real one) turned up the volume to a level that was painfully loud for the ears. It killed our conversation as well because after a point, you just don’t have the energy to scream any more. His transitions made us believe that an intern could’ve pulled off a better job, and his playlist was as confused as the overall mood and dynamic of the place. He moved from EDM to Trance to English Pop to Bollywood, all within a space of half hour, as the place got progressively shady.
Drunk men took over the dance floor with their embarrassing moves, and within no time, the place began to exude dance bar vibes. Ironically, it was at this point that one of their many wall frames caught my attention. It said – “We Don’t Serve Women, So Please Bring Your Own”. It was the final nail on the coffin as far as our night was concerned, and we looked for a saving grace before we fucked off. I intuitively called for an Old Monk (INR 18 for 30 ml), while my partner in crime called for a Blender’s Pride (INR 50 for 30 ml). Alcohol to the rescue again!
From confused staff, to ridiculous interiors, to cheap alcohol, to good food and an increasingly bizarre ambiance, this was the most outrageous drinking experience I’ve ever gone through. Good fun was had, but I can endure something like this only once in my life.
P.S: Happy Hours – All days of the week throughout the day!
Where? 204, Ground Floor, Sai Niwas, LJ Road, Near City Light, Dadar, Shivaji Park
Cuisine: North Indian, Italian
Food you must try: Mutton Sheekh Kebab for sure
Cocktails you must try: Bloody Maria if you like it strong
Music: Inexplicable (Desi- EDM-English Pop all infused in one)
Is there a dance floor: No, but quite evidently, people can create one in the limited space
Avg price: Rs. 800 per head