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Is India ready for the Playboy Beer Garden?


In 1953, Hugh Hefner had people’s eyes popping with Marilyn Monroe on the centerfold of his magazine. It’s 2016, and Playboy India had Sunny Leone, captivatingly dressed, turning DJ to play select tunes for the crowd that had gathered, by invitation, for the launch of Playboy’s first ever Beer Garden anywhere in the world, in Pune. Why Pune, wondered many. And why had Playboy turned to Beer gardens, when, all over the world, they operate nightclubs and casinos? The answer to that, according to sources at Playboy, is that India is still perceived to be a “young” market. And as for Pune, long perceived as the poor cousin of Mumbai- it’s no longer a city for retired people. It’s taking its place, rightfully, among the happening cities in India.

The question uppermost in people’s minds is,” Will “families” walk into a “drinking area”?
This biergarten, to give it the German nomenclature, blends elements of fine dining, entertainment, luxury seating and visual pleasure to make it the perfect place to spend an evening out with family and friends. And pets. Yes, there are designated spots where you can make a reservation for a quiet time with your pets. To put things in proper perspective, this is Maharashtra, meri jaan. So don’t expect to see the celebrated Playboy “bunnies” (waitresses) or any kind of permissive behavior or dressing.
On the other hand, there will be the communal Oktoberfest Beer benches, chiller tables and an eclectic menu comprising modern European, Asian grills, gourmet pizzas and a fresh take on Indian cuisine. The signature Hef Burger is there, as are the signature handcrafted cocktails- the Playboy Martini and the Playboy Mojito. On the anvil are an even bigger Beer Garden in Bengaluru, and 4 nightclubs, 6 cafes and 11 Beer Gardens in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities.

The Indian pie is large and Playboy wants to have a healthy bite out of it. If projections are to be believed, they are aiming to make Rs 45 lakhs per month in the tier 1 cities and Rs 65 lakh in the metros. And there’s really no reason why they shouldn’t. As more and more Indians are opting to eat out and be seen out in the right places, and becoming more appreciative of global cuisine- there’s definitely a place in the Indian sun for beer gardens and more.

I always enjoy talking about Keralite dishes and eating them too, of course, as that's where my heart really is.