MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE
The Storytellers Bar, Pondicherry
One half nostalgia mixed with one quarter history, topped up with memories and stirred with a dash of whimsy; The Storytellers’ Bar is a cocktail of words, sounds and images. Deep in the cavernous belly of the Promenade, a collective of stories woven around the magic of Pondicherry lives and breathes in a special curated space where evenings are given over to the flow of soul and the accompaniment of spirits. And who better than the son of the soil, Hidesign founder Dilip Kapur to orchestrate this movement. Kapur got together with Simran Mulchandani of Blue Frog and designer Ayaz Basrai of The Busride to rope in Kapil Thirwani of Munro Acoustics.
As you descend the one floor staircase to the bar, the neck cranes upwards to the arched ceiling lined with open books that symbolise storytelling. Traditional oxide flooring in blue is used as makeup for the walls with old typewriters as installations. The Wall of Stories— the main feature of the bar—is a canvas painted with a variety of memorabilia, stories, anecdotes, props and articles about Pondicherry. Here you will discover the pagla sadhu, a Boston Brahmin
who was a favourite of The Mother (Mirra Alfassa) but chose to live on a snake-infested island, of the Mother’s talents as a perfumer, of the trials and triumphs of the ‘Take what you need, give what you can’ dictum of Auroville.
The French-Tamil menu is a loving ode to local organic produce, whether it’s the delightful cheeses, the fragrant seed breads or the mud crabs. The cocktails have been crafted with a similar passion for source local, serve global. Both the organic Piroshka and the chocolate filter Kaapi are disturbingly delicious. The latter, a decadent combine of Kahlua, whisky, local chocolate and espresso, is served in the traditional dabara. Nostalgia is a dish best served with music and this is where magic happens when part of the bar morphs into a performance space for wandering minstrels, jazz bands, book readings and even soliloquies. Fresh as mint (it’s only about a month old), the bar represents not just the past but the promise of Pondicherry. by Chumki Bharadwaj
Tel: 0 413 222 7750