You might live in Delhi and go to Gurgaon for drinks or you might be a newbie in G-town or maybe you’ve just come over to the NCR for a weekend and only like BYOB scenes, this is a guide for you. When Gurgaon was being conceived it was granted a special wish, no not endless jams, dust, cases of violence but the endless number of ahattas. An ahatta is essentially something like a speakeasy only that they don’t serve you any alcohol, you get it from the neighbouring liquor store. What an ahatta offers is food that goes best with alcohol, mixers, glasses, ice etc. and some music. You usual ahatta serves really average food and smells and is just a place to go when you’re desperate but then there are those which have made a name for themselves and stand out in the crowd. Here’s a list of the latter.
- Area 69
This one’s an age old haunt of office goers and used to be called Route 69 at one point. They have an indoor seating, and two level outdoor seating. The food is exceptionally good, right from continental to the usual Indian food. The place is clean and the staff is quick to serve you with anything that you want. You can ask your server to get you cigarettes and other things from outside, even pay him to get you another bottle from the theka. If you’re lucky you can even roll a joint here. They play loud music on weekends and also charge a cover of Rs 500 redeemable in food and mixers. The place has changed a lot overtime, the food has become better the crowd has changed if not worsened. They used to have live music indoors at one point. Now not so much.
You must try their baked cheesy potatoes, chicken piri piri, mushroom risotto and the usual tikkas. Also their corn chili pepper is an amazing starter even for the non-vegetarian..
- Tibetan Kitchen
Area 69’s next door neighbour is Tibetan Kitchen and they are pretty much the same thing but more laid back, less crowd, less noise and last and the best, tibetan food. They too have an indoor AC area and the outdoor backyard seating. They have limited number of tables so getting here early is a good idea. They play more offbeat stuff and thus attract a niche crowd. The food of course is to die for. Get pork momo, chicken suimai kothey, double fried pork and finish it off with a thukpa. The deal with both these places is that even if you have had a ton of alcohol you’ll most likely end up eating a lot of food as well. That’s half the hangover taken care of right there.
Outback has seen it’s offs and ons since a few years now. A newer player in the ahatta game this was once the only place on the lonely Golf Course Road Extension. Now more easily spotted it is a sprawling place which is known for getting loud and crazy. The main attraction of this place is that it is open it late hours when most of the other options are shut. Food isn’t that great but hey, you’re here to drink right? They too change a cover on weekends but it is surely worth it. The theka outside has upped it’s game and started stocking some good brands now and will be open as long as you want it to. The service is still great, they’ll make all kinds of arrangements for you including hot angeethis to keep you toasty in the winter months.
- Wanchuk’s Ladakhi Kitchen
An offshoot of the above mention Tibetan Kitchen, this one is a favourite among the advertising crowd. You’ll see faces here which you saw on your previous visit. People change their workplace but they keep coming back to Ladakhis. They were originally at Super Mart 2 but then the authorities didn’t allow liquor consumption anymore so within a few months they shifted to Main Golf Course road. This place is packed on most days and definitely on weekends. The bigger your group the better because you’d want to order everything in the menu. They’re Tibetan and Ladakhi menu is just great. Get the oroma, which is a special rolled up momo that you won’t get anywhere else. And also yarkandi momo which is a Ladakhi giant momo made with wheat flour. The Shaphaley or shaballey is like a bigger, flatter deep friend momo. Get it in the choice of meat you like. The best thing though are the Thenthuk with tingmo and then thukpa. You might be lfull but these blows will be licked clean. Unlike other places you will be asked to leave once the time is up. This is usually when one group of ad men has joined another and are fighting over something.
- Plan B- you must have
When a ahatta sounds like Master Yoda runs the place, you just can’t skip it. This place has been converting tea totalers to drunks since ages now. And it is located in the most unsuspecting of places, opposite City Court, near the rapid metro station DLF phase 3. You might be going somewhere to get some work done but then you’ll just not do it because well there’s always Plan B. It is a more basic set up with the seating divided onto two levels. The lower one has a pebbled floor giving it a rock garden feel. They serve good tikkas, kebabs and Mughlai. The food is great but it’s the people who make this place special. You’ll find hardcore suits drinking some hardcore liquor and talking shop here. Also there’ll be people who’ve just started out in life and get sozzled early. The theka nearby stocks really good names. And sometimes you might not even find the cheaper options you were looking for. There’s a lot of buzz in the air around here and we’ve personally seen guy drinking at 3 in the afternoon here. What were we doing there at that time you may ask? But there shall be no answer.
- Gardenia food and grill.
The ambience of this ahatta is unbelievable. You’ll find fluttering white curtains, tables separated with wooden planks and an indoor AC dining area. This is a quieter place where you’ll like to enjoy your drink while there is complete freedom to get drunk and ballistic. You can spend a whole Sunday evening well into the night here. The food is good as long as you stick to the basics but they’re menu offers, continental, thai, and italian. Mostly the same kind of food as Area 69 but maybe not as good in quality. Try the grilled pesto chicken, fish fingers, crispy basil chicken for starters. We didn’t have main course here.