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The Bootleggers Of Bangalore

One visit to this watering hole is enough to remind you why honest-to-purpose, no BS, laid-back pubs were what once distinguished Bangalore as Pub City

At a time when microbreweries are sprouting up everywhere, three friends felt the city was losing its old-school pub culture.

No one says the city must not catch up on trends, but every once in a while, we all feel a pang for the glory that used to be.

And thus Bootlegger was born to that belief by hospitality mavens, Gitanjali Budhrani, Payal Shah and Shreyas Patel – brought this new stop in the Bangalore pub crawl to life.

Located at the junction of Vittal Mallya and Lavelle, next to where Sunny's moved from recently, Bootlegger is home to the lively chatterati that fills this place every evening.

They seem to have taken to the cosy and warm ambience created by the brick walls, wooden furniture and warm lighting. The pub isn't large and sprawling and maybe this adds to its conviviality. Like what they used to call small, often illegal, spaces called "dives" in the US during the era of prohibition.

The theme of Bootlegger, as indeed its name suggests, is Prohibition. And the decor emphasises this point. The prominent figure on the wall, the pub's mascot you might say, is Al Capone - the poster boy for bootlegging during the Prohibition.

Happily, since we (almost) don't have Prohibition in Bangalore, Bootlegger is stocked. The bar boasts of a long line of Indian and international alcohol brands, and you'll probably be able to ingest the poison of your choosing. In keeping with the theme of the underworld of the era, their house special is a cocktail titled, "Godfather" - equal parts of whisky or bourbon and Amaretto on rocks. (To wit, you can ask the house mixologist, Rodney Christopher to replace the whisky with vodka and it becomes a "Godmother". Godmother is not the corollary to Godfather but we won't debate that.)

Bootlegger's finger food is unfussy and unpretentious. The food menu comprises finger food like chilli beef (or chicken or pork or paneer), nachos, jalapeno poppers and bacon wraps.

The menu also sports entrees like the classic hamburger, pastas and fish & chips. There's Apple Pie and there's Bacardi-spiked Chocolate Truffle Cake, you will either be safe or not sorry at all. (Interestingly, they also have a breakfast menu.)

Some may argue that a restaurant or pub needs a unique offering to make it stand out. But sometimes, the key is to keep it simple because from what we can see, Bootlegger is drawing in the crowd.