The Karnataka High Court's recent overruling of the ban against dancing in pubs and bars might have chagrined certain key politicos, but it came as welcome news to almost everyone else. The last decade saw the government and police clamping down on liquor joints in Bangalore, citing indecency and a threat to law and order. And, for the longest time, there seemed to be little that the dancers of Pub City (both professional and recreational) could do. This had a huge impact on the nightlife of the city and mainly party people who loved clubbing.
Perhaps the most affected by the strict anti-dancing regulations were the female performers in Bangalore's various dance bars, whose very livelihoods were put at risk by the ban. But, as the debate swirled and raged around them, it also spread to include anyone in the city who might want to shake a leg or two after a few drinks. The effects were visible: dance clubs like Hint folded up six months ago over license issues, while others just managed to hang on in dilapidated states. So, now that it appears Bangaloreans will finally be able to dance again, what does the future hold? According to Sunny Zahir, former resident DJ at the now-defunct Hint, Bangalore nightlife has improved with curfew being pushed back from 11 to 1 a.m., but that the new lifting of regulations can only be good news. If you compare it to other cities, he says, Bangalore has class. People here know how to start and end a party. We need licenses for liquor, but we don't need restrictions for dancing. A few places in Bangalore already hold dance permits; for example, Sutra at the Lalit Ashok in Seshadripuram, and Sanctum at the Chancery Pavilion on Residency Road. But will others jump on the bandwagon, catering to a pub-going population that has been newly freed to dance. Skyye, one of Bangalore's most popular bars, doesn't see its own operations being affected all that much; the guests that come to Skyye, they say, come less to dance and more to enjoy the drinks and the atmosphere. As for the others, we'll have to wait and see.
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