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30.11.2015

If “getting properly smashed for next to nothing” is the brief, Bangalore’s ad guys have nailed it. Last Wednesday’s drinking plan with a copywriter friend revealed a dive bar frequented by advertising folk, one with a Rs 20 entry fee, cheap drinks, perfectly cooked animal parts and a no-shorts policy. Intrigued?

Bring some change and come with us to Assaye Road, building number 5, following the smell of fried pakodas up to the third floor. Here you will find Young Men’s Indian Association Roof-top Bar & Restaurant (YMIA), a deliciously dingy dive bar, dark enough that copywriters can bitch about clients with anonymity. We slip into one of the shadows after bidding farewell to a friend who was denied entry because he was dressed in shorts.

The décor – once your eyes adjust to the darkness – is austere with a menu that advertising alcohol only sold in quarters, halves and full bottles (no small and large drinks).

Club Rules Apply

This three-storey building is a branch of the YMIA that was established by Annie Besant in Chennai as a “political gymnasium” over a hundred years ago. Technically, you must be a member to drink at the bar and use other facilities, but non-members can get buzzed (in) too with a nominal entry fee. The décor – once your eyes adjust to the darkness – is austere with a menu that advertises alcohol only sold in quarters, halves and full bottles (no small and large drinks) with a Black & White whisky quarter priced at Rs 162 and an Old Monk for Rs 73. Music is kept at a low volume and cricket matches on televisions are muted, which makes this exactly the kind of post-work bar you want to go to for some peace and quiet.

Mr & Misses 

Our accompanying friends are YMIA regulars, so we let them order a carnivorous storm starting with mutton brain, perfectly cooked with the consistency of just-right scrambled eggs, drizzled with pepper and finished with fried curry leaves. Also sample crisp kheema vadas and spicy mutton liver, which pairs perfectly with Old Monk and rain. The ambitious-sounding French chicken (imagine chicken cooked in a reduction of sweet corn soup) and fish kebabs (too battered up) are the misses of our meal.

For dessert, we order another Old Monk half bottle for our friend who has now returned in full pants. Cheers to chinos and a newly acquired Bangalore secret!

Getting there: YMIA Roof-top Bar & Restaurant, 5, Assaye Road, Ulsoor, call 90355 25390 open from 11am to 11pm, meal for two including drinks costs Rs 700.

bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals. 

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