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28.03.2016

If you’ve always wanted to sing about purple French tail-lights and thirty-inch fins, Palamino dashboards and duel muffler twins, you’ve come to the right place.

It’s no coincidence that Handlebar, Bangalore’s new men’s store has opened right above a car wash and automobile garage, letting you kill two birds with one stone: your dream of enacting Greased Lightning in public and buying a hunting knife just because you can.

In this testosterone tank, clothes, boxers, handmade knives and other accessories await your post-Grease performance. The owners call Handlebar a “he store”, but there’s no reason your girlfriend can’t come to score a customised bike helmet, and if anyone makes more sexist shopping remarks, a tactical knife.

In addition to being the place you can visit to get the grime of you and your car, the he men here also want Handlebar to be a space for musicians, street artists and poets to congregate.

I Got Chills

Blame it on our Vinyl binge watching, but we are first drawn to the rack of hand-dyed tie-n-dye shirts from The Hippie Store brand, which when paired with Ali Baba pants and bright, trippy tees, could dress the whole generation of dancers who refuse to leave Goa’s Hilltop.

For a more sedate use of prints, see Wnyc’s faded tribal shirts with leather detailing on lapels, cuffs and pockets. Also, owners Vijish and Lijesh  design their own range of shirts and short kurtas under their eight-year-old menswear label Pachha. “It’s Malayalam for the colour green and also slang for a certain illegal herb,” Vijish grins. The light fabrics and pastel hues make these perfect for summer office wear, but the leaf logo (though discreet) means you’ll have some explaining to do about that desk plant you’ve been nursing so diligently at lunch. Distressed denim joggers and breakfast-inspired boxers are fun, while T-shirts with weary slogans and caricature designs need to be sent to the car wash below for a fresh start.

Cooler than the clothes are shelves stocked with accessories, beginning with hand-made knives – tactical, hunting or survival – by Bangalore-based musician Akhilesh Kumar. The blades are high-carbon steel with etched teak wood handles, and some are even made from ram’s horn and bone, highlighted with brass detailing. He will also be adding pocket knives to the collection, we’re told, as we move on to less badass but still sharp reversible denim bomber jackets, cloth guitar bags – a good substitute to synthetic black cases – and lighters as well as hand painted helmets with metal music album cover motifs, which look like something you made your college boyfriend for Valentine’s Day.

Bards & Blades

In addition to being the place you can visit to get the grime of you and your car, the he men here also want Handlebar to be a space for musicians, street artists and poets to congregate. “Come upstairs while you get your Bullet serviced or your sedan waxed. Come paint a wall while you wait. Meet interesting characters while you shop,” Vijish says.

Our shopping trip ends with a chat with Vamsi Krishna, a digital artist who explores the symmetry of insects. Ant that cool?

Getting there: Handlebar, 101/2, second floor, Gangadhara Chetty Road, Ulsoor Lake, Rs 300 for a linen potli, Rs 799 for Wnyc shirt & Rs 5,000 for a tactical knife.

 

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