Boldly going where no livers have gone before are Siddhant Mehta, Karan Agarwal and Suyash Barve, braving the perils of sticky formica table tops to bring to you The Adventures of Cheap Beer; a new podcast that tells the tales of their search for bargain brew in the big city.
Friends from college and much before, Siddhant, Karan and Suyash (who will henceforth be referred to as SKS) first visited Janata Bar in Bandra over a decade ago and have been patrons of many a dive bar since. Why, we ask SKS. Is it the fact that they’re usually named after an Indian God or flower? The allure of peanuts and peeling signboards? The search for the best crispy chicken? Or perhaps just the fact that they’re plain cheap?
“It all boils down to the fact that we really really like these kind of bars,” says Siddhant, a former writer at Only Much Louder (OML). “There’s no pretense, it allows you to simply get a beer at the end of a day and chat with a friend, without burning a hole in your pocket. Plus, some of these bars are just mad cool. There’s a bar in Dadar that has something on the menu called Masala Whiskey and one that has a German Shepherd guard dog that doubles up as a manager. No one knows about these places.” Inspired by podcasts like those from Cracked.com, Freakonomics and Radiolab, The Adventures of Cheap Beer is “just a fun exercise” for these writers’ wits and livers.
Of Peanuts & Pav Bhaji Pro-Tips
Listen in to The Adventures of Cheap Beer to be taken along a journey with SKS, one that ranges from revelatory to rambly over the course of 27 minutes. Aiming to replicate their actual bar conversation, episode one, a review of Kit Kat Bar near Metro Cinema is essentially a conversation between three friends that discuss dive bar culture and history along with décor, quality, ambience and the service at a bar. Also thrown in for good measure are random but funny tidbits like ‘pav bhaji pro tips’ and explanations on how math equations don’t apply to bar menus.
There’s a bar in Dadar that has something on the menu called Masala Whiskey and one that has a German Shepherd guard dog that doubles up as a manager.
So that things don’t get too open ended, SKS has devised a simple criterion to rate these bars: the cost of a pint of Kingfisher beer and Old Monk quart, how good the crispy chicken is and female friendliness. We hear a loo rating will be added in soon.
What’s good is the fact that The Adventures of Cheap Beer lists details that you wouldn’t otherwise know if you went to a dive for the first time, for example – how the crispy chicken falls out of the batter at Kit Kat, or that the Kit Kat Hot is actually a recommended item on the menu. What’s not great is the fact that it’s 27 minutes long and can get slightly tiring after a point. Tighter editing would definitely go a long way and help what is an otherwise entertaining listen.
SKS is also open to suggestions from listeners about dive bars they haven’t been to, or heard of. “Obviously, every area has its own set of bars. We’d love an extra set of eyes and ears to tell us about them,” says Suyash who explains that a new podcast will be released every fortnight.
Dive in, won’t you?
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