If you like your Americano with a side of Led Zeppelin and prefer espresso double shots under the influence of Deep Purple, then your jam’s brewing at Classic Rock Coffee Co. The upscale American coffee chain’s twin franchises in Pune (where the party is definitely kicking) are keeping the city’s Keith Moon-crazy denizens awake for all the right reasons!
COMIN’ RIGHT AT YA
Coffee and flash don’t often go together. Lounging over a cappuccino and sandwiches has long run its course with Pune’s vibrant student community and young professionals. Two years ago, a Springfield, Missouri-based classic rock-themed café and nightclub burst on to the scene, at Kalyani Nagar. Before you could figure out if it was a pub, a coffee shop or a club, they opened another psychedelic space across the city in Baner in June this year, firmly infusing the city’s café scene with rugged all-American cool. These two outlets of Classic Rock Coffee Co (CRCC) are their first franchisees in India, in tune with rapid expansion across the globe. When not caffeinated and living it up in Pune, you could pop into a rocking CRCC in Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, Nigeria, Hungary or Kuwait.
‘BEAN’ THERE, ROCKED THAT
You’ve got to get your groove on before stepping into either of the outlets. Flamboyant graffiti on the walls and music-themed interiors — we dig the piano key seats — lead to an amphitheatre for live performances with neon-accented artwork featuring Freddie Mercury and The Beatles. The 15,000 square-foot Kalyani Nagar outlet has a spacious al fresco area with an industrial vibe, accentuated by a refurbished vintage blue and white car in the corner, which doubles as a 2-way in-house grill. Graffiti on the walls dedicated to rock artists welcomes guests as they walk on a tar road into a cul-de-sac with a striking display of 11 guitars representing the evolution of guitars since 1932 all the way to 2008. We were also sold on the 16-seater private room on the mezzanine level, kitted out with a television and décor that’s just right for an intimate birthday bash or girls’ night out (check out our tips for how to throw a party like a boss at a venue like this one).
THE PROOF IS IN THE ROASTER
CRCC’s magnum opus though is its Probatone 5 Coffee Roaster; making it the only coffeehouse chain in India with a live roaster. There’s a whole lot of love, care and technique that goes into your cuppa of their signature Dirty White Boy or Back in Black Bold. Hundreds of single origin coffees from across the world (and through different seasons) are roasted, graded and cupped to provide the peak roast for every cup. The Double Espresso is a must-have for quick breaks from harried work days when you need a caffeine kick to keep you alive! The flavoured coffees like Cinnamon Girl, Raspberry Beret and Sister Hazelnut are good options when you want a wake-me-up but don’t want to stay buzzing till dawn. We also loved the Sweet Emotion Frappe blended with chocolate and caramel sauce, which is perfect for that unexpected heat wave. The food matches up to the coffee menu, with an extensive range of South-American and Italian delicacies, all-day-breakfast till 6 pm and a decadent dessert corner. A springy and luscious Bacon Wrapped Pesto Chicken top-lines the spread. For days when you want to keep it light, the Watermelon and Rocket Salad with Feta Cheese and the Broccoli Cappuccino are great options. If you’ve come over for lunch, the Mushroom Stuffed Ravioli and Spaghetti in Red Sauce are excellent choices. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it? Go ahead, indulge yourself.
An exhilarating coffee menu, great grub and swinging music isn’t the end of the Classic Rock Coffee Co’s charms. Both venues transform in the evenings, especially over the weekends, as popular venues for talented artistes — from newbies to established names and bona fide legends. For the launch of the Kalyani Nagar outlet, Guns N’ Roses guitarist Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal performed alongside Blackstratblues front-man, Auckland/Mumbai-based Warren Mendonsa. The Baner launch — a three-night treat — saw a groovy party with Nikhil Chinapa and DJ Nawed Khan at the turntables, followed by a jazz fusion and Sufi rock concert by Indian Ocean. The third night saw a stand-up comedy explosion with Ashish Shakya and Kanan Gill bringing the house down (here’s another stand-up comedian who is rocking right now).
ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE
Livewire performances aren’t just oft events here. Both outlets have dedicated stages which are the centre of attention on most nights. From Salsa Nights and Comedy Nights — Pune’s RJ Shrikant and Bangalore’s Sumukhi Suresh have performed in Baner — to the by-demand Bollywood Karaoke and Corporate Tuesdays, there’s always a reason for party animals from both ends of the city to congregate at CRCC for a fun night out. On the days that there isn’t a live event, there’s Classic Rock’s online radio station: a web-based music feed called The Double Shot, for streaming to any of its locations around the world.
The jury may still be out on the relationship between caffeine and music, but we’ll vouch for their camaraderie. Or as Bob Marley would have said, “One cup of coffee, then I'll go…”
Image Credits: youtube.com; classicrockcoffee.com; shantanughosh.com
Don’t go too far! Here are more cool places to check out in Pune!