For an “Aam admi” like myself, getting in any club is a problem. Off-course, I am not talking about our neighborhood para club. The posh clubs hardly take in people like us. So, basically whenever I wish to, I always have to catch hold of someone (and honestly I have good friends), who is a member of those swanky clubs. But, isn’t there any hope for us ? As I always say, My city never fails to amaze me. Here’s C P Sergeant’s Institute, another hidden office-para bar tucked inside Dacres Lane.
The location, somehow, is not there in Google map, or I couldn’t find it. But please do not worry, it’s pretty easy to find. You need to enter Dacres Lane and walk past Chitto Da’s Dokan and Suruchee. Off course, you are permitted to gobble a fish roll or a plate of Stew. But, just as you cross Suruchee, take the immediate right ( facing Lalit Great Eastern hotel) and walk for 2-3 minutes. The C P Sergant’s Institute will be on your left. Walk in bravely and do remember, looks can be deceptive. Climb the 5-6 stairs on your right and be surprised to enter a huge room (with the recent addition of AC) buzzing with Kolkattans.
The first challenge will be to find one table. And, if you’re trained by the legendary Shaws Bar or Chhota Bristol, even that shouldn’t be a problem for you. Please do not hesitate to pull a chair and join in any of the table, it’s a club after all. And probably, that’s the beauty of the place. As far as my knowledge and experience goes, it’s a male-only-place, but I’m not sure. Yes women, bear with us.
Now, stop talking and soak in the ambiance. If you’re new to these type of joints, it’ll take some time. There’s chaos everywhere. But, there’s a strange pattern here. After sometime, either you’ll leave the place or find yourself joining the humming sound around. Here, strangers meet and in most of the cases, become a regular. The tables, naturally, can’t be booked in advance (are you mad ??? ) but once you’ve been a loyalist for more than 20 visits, for a good tip, a call to waiters should do the trick.
However, let’s come down to point. Drinks is available there from the club authority, food- not. And unlike the Shaws Bar, it’s on postpaid basis. But please do not worry. There are registered vendors, who’ll come and hum into your ears, their menu offerings. There will be multiples of them and over time, you’ll come to know who serves which item best. the offerings are not that varied, but good enough to accompany a man looking for some adda.
I am a simple man and my standard order is simple – Vodka (the Smirnoff is 95/- for 60 ml here), lime cordial- topped with ice. They serve ice cubes in a glass and you’ll have to pay by the glass. For snacks, you may start with the Rohu fish fry (as they serve Basa in fish finger, I am hardly interested, until boozed) and you’ll get 4 small pieces of deep fried rohu with salad and chat masala sprinkled on it. To be on a safer side (yes women, I am a safe guy … ), I always order peanuts (with god knows why, 2 green chillies op top) and local potato chips.
the second food vendor is also looking to grab some order from you and he’ll keep on asking you, until you order some chicken kebab from him. And, he’s persistent. Basically, they’ll give tandoori chicken cut into pieces. But, I find the kebab quite tasteless and almost all the time, I go for their signature item, Liver Fry. Frankly, I tend to shamelessly stalk other table’s orders and ask the waiters “What did you serve there, give me a plate of the same”. And, the liver fry was found that way. Another gem we found there, is the Aloo Tikki. They’re ready-to-fry potato patty deep fried and served with chilly and tomato sauce. They tend to pair great with the booze, at least I feel so.
I do not put on my explorer mask there, but they do serve some grilled sandwich and freshly cut papaya and watermelon (sprinkled with chat masala again) there as well.
I won’t say the food is fantastic or mind blowing there, but it’s pretty decent. And frankly, the ambiance makes up for it. There are regular, mango people around and after few pegs, their joy and sorrow tends to come out. And, if you’re a good listener, fantastic stories can be found there.
This is the real Kolkata, where people trust each other and love to make friends. I’ve been told that the authority levies some 3-4 Rs as temporary membership charge, but I tend to get too boozed there to check that. But, again, when did money measure pleasure ?
Bon apetit !!!
comments and critics welcome.
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