Bengaluru: Among many things Bengaluru is known for, is its reputation as India’s pub city. But starting July, this tourist-friendly cosmopolitan image may be under threat.Following the Supreme Court order passed earlier in the year, the Karnataka Government hasn’t renewed liquor licenses of pubs, bars and liquor outlets falling in a 500-meter radius of national and state highways.
The city’s busiest pub zone in the central business district will be badly hit with even MG Road and Brigade Road in the heart of the city classified as a National Highway. More than 700 pubs, bars and liquor outlets have gone dry in Bengaluru. With nearly 100 of them located in the popular central business district of the city.
The licenses expired on Friday and the sale of liquor has been stopped from Saturday.
Worried about their investment and job losses, pub and bar owners are looking to the Centre to bail them out.
At Bengaluru’s iconic watering hole, Pecos, regulars were seen thronging to have one last drink and one last memory at their favourite pub on Friday.
“Many were emotional, some said they will sit on protest. Today, a weekend, we would be full. We open at 10:30 and people would come by 11 am, it was a second house for them. So far we haven’t seen them, when we say no beer they have gone back,” said a worried manager of Pecos pub, Srinivas Gowda.
All the four outlets of the pub have gone dry with the latest move. The owners are contemplating to convert the existing place off Brigade Road into a coffee shop with a library if there is no respite in the coming days.
The state government has approached the Centre to declassify more than 800 km of highways in urban pockets to get around the Supreme Court order but the Centre is yet to respond. Till then an estimated 3,500 liquor outlets in the state have gone dry and the government has given them an option of transferring the license to new premises away from the highways.
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