Nagpur: As the bars and wine shops located along highways on city outskirts, mainly Wardha Road and Amravati Road, remained shut, the bars operational in city made the most of the opportunity. However the customers have to take to queues to see their number coming.
At Tanmay Bar, a modest liquor joint near Trimurti Nagar Square, the man at the counter has never been so busy before. Customers would trickle in at this dingy joint on the upper storey of a building. On Sunday, however, the manager apologized for not being able to talk much. His joint was one of the 60 odd, out of 447 bars, that were still open in the city after the ban on sale of liquor within 500 metres of highways.
“Earlier, the sales were barely Rs10,000 in the entire day. But it has nearly doubled in just a few hours now. Anyway, excuse me now, yesterday there was a shortfall of Rs5,000 due to the rush, I need to concentrate,” he excused himself.
All 60 bars spared closure after the Supreme Court verdict are clogged with customers. The owners reported sales going up by 50 to 100% of the normal tally.
The guards outside Grand Bar and Restaurant, near Pratap Nagar square where the guards were busy helping customers in the parking lot. The line on the street was already full, with new vehicles being adjusted on the pavement. The bar is hardly a few meters outside the 500 metre rule.
“Of course, the crowd has gone up and that is obvious. Our bar comes under the ‘A’ division of excise department. Hardly 15 may be open in this area now. The sales have gone up by 50% of a normal. It is less than what we had expected. It may be due to the Navratra period, when many abstain from drinking. The crowds may be unmanageable after that,” said owner Sahil Deshmukh at Kriti Bar.
At Bajaj Nagar, the manager at Leo Bar, popularly known as Samadhan bar was busy counting cash. There was barely space to stand, even at the counter. “The sales have doubled,” he said and quickly got back to work.