The week gone by was a crazy one, right since the time I got back to Pune last Sunday, what with meeting three sets of friends that evening, then some shoe shopping at Shoppers Stop, Wakdewadi (going there after ages) the next day, a visit to Kiva’s, then SGS Mall, McD et al. In short, something happening every day.
On Friday, we again decided to booze up and initially the choices were between a friend’s place or Kiva’s / some other place, when we decided to check out Doolally, home to Pune’s first microbrewery and derived from “Deolali”, an army cantonment near Nashik.
I’d been meaning to visit the place ever since I ‘met’ one of the co-owners (Suketu Talekar) on Twitter 2-3 months ago. At the time, I’d tweeted and blogged about getting some Belgian beers from Bangalore and he replied, saying I just had to visit Doolally to check out the real thing. Added to this was the fact that it was located at The Corinthians Boutique Hotel in the NIBM / Kondhwa area, “our” side of town or “nadi ke us paar” as we keep saying. People who keep raving about Aundh and Deccan just don’t know what they are missing out at Camp, Kondhwa and Wanowrie. 😛
So Doolally it was and we set forth around 8 pm. It was a rather leisurely drive and we avoided the traffic by navigating through all the ‘gallis’, reaching our destination by 8.45 pm or so. The place is a treat for the eyes, with it’s brand new shining steel vats behind glass doors, lots of wood work, well spaced out seating both indoor and outdoor, and an extremely relaxed air about the place. There was a live band playing as well, though frankly, the less said about it, the better.
It was a pleasure to finally meet Suketu and he instantly made us all feel at home. He had some other guests to attend to as well, but recommended the Dark Lager as he left, which pretty much made up my mind.
Apparently, the place has Happy Hours from 6.30 pm to 9 pm and the steward said we were just in time (8.59 pm) to opt for it. We readily agreed to try each of the beers on offer; 5 beers (Premium, Wheat, Rye, Cider and Dark Lager) for 6 people, the Dark Lager getting a second nod. Only later did we realise that free samples were on offer!
Now the big difference at Doolally is that you gotta pay upfront as opposed to paying the bill at the end. I guess this is also one way of keeping people sober 😛 They have a system of charging in terms of Dimes (Rs.100) and Nickels (Rs.10), which are actual coins by the way, so we started off with five fine brews and ordered some starters too.
The beer was absolutely marvelous and we all had a swig from each of the glasses, allowing us to decide on what was to be our chosen poison for the remainder of the evening. As there were six of us, the choices opted for fell neatly between Adam’s Folly (Apple Cider), The Weiss Man (Wheat beer) and Bob Barley (Dunkel / Dark Lager) and we ordered a pitcher of each. While the beer flowed freely, I must say the quantity of food per serving left a lot to be desired. In fact, some of the stuff seemed enough for just a single person, let alone six hungry souls. All this time, the band was playing some ear splitting music and the vocalist was getting to be a strain on my eardrums. I jokingly mentioned to Suketu that even I sang better, to which he replied that if I could put together a band, I was in! So what say, guys? 😉
It was fun to read the newspaper, the Doolally Dispatch, as well as the pithy comments on the coasters (will upload pics later), but what really stood out were the comments framed on the walls, among others one right beside the loo and the other near the payment counter ! 😀
It was a fun evening, and we must have downed close to nine pitchers among us, as we left by midnight. I was there a couple of days later as well for the Sunday Brunch, which at Rs.650/- for unlimited food and beer, is a much better option, and there are no stares of disbelief when looking at the food (or lack thereof) on one’s plate. 😛
It is an ideal place to go and laze around on a Sunday afternoon with freshly brewed beer available on tap and soak in the relaxing ambience of the place. One thing is pukka for sure, there are gonna be lot of meetups at Doolally for a long time to come ! 🙂
The Corinthians Boutique Hotel
Nyati County, NIBM Annexe, Kondhwa, Pune