A real smooth criminal
by Vandana Verma
30 July 2012
Thugs, Hotel Broadway, 4/15A Asaf Ali Road, near Delhi Gate. Call (011) 2327-3821 or visit www.hotelbroadwaydelhi.com for more information.
“Thugs: the pub not the people” says the sign at the Hotel Broadway.
Perhaps the atmospheric Daryaganj hotel is keen to clarify that they hold no disdain for their very respectable patrons? But for any who still bristle, one glimpse of this bar will put any offence to rest.
A wonderfully bizarre pub, Thugs is a “tribute to the hard-drinking villains of Hollywood and Bollywood”. And it really is a tribute, a living shrine to the rogues of cinema, both local and further afield. Pencil and pen-and-ink sketches of Jack Nicholson’s Joker and Faye Dunaway’s Bonnie share wall space with all Bollywood’s badasses, including Mogambo, the always-sleazy Shakti Kapoor, a glum countenanced Paresh Rawal, Pran, Prem Chopra, Ajit and even Anupam Kher, from the time before he adopted his current role of benevolent father or uncle.
Despite its name, this bar's for the good guys and villains alike. Button-stitched emerald leather banquettes and brass rails lend the narrow bar a glorious old-school air, and this general air of throwback is given a generous helping hand by the prices. Cocktail names will elicit giggles; a Kaalia is a rum and cola, a Mona Darling is a bloody Mary and the Arre o Samba is both a whiskey sour as well as delightful, served in a glass proportioned like a thimble and priced at Rs 170.
The Broadway’s staff are a wonderful lot, pleasant and eager to help, whether with a drink recommendation or directions to the loo. It might surprise visitors to know that the still-glamorous art deco hotel was, in fact, Delhi’s first high-rise building, back when its doors first opened in 1956. It still looks pretty great; a polished lobby leads into The Broadway Bar, the ground floor bar with an old world attitude, and in another direction sits Kashmiri kitsch restaurant Chor Bizarre, where diners can tuck into a full wazwan while seated in a four poster bed. In all fairness, it has the word “bizarre” in its name, so any surprise is unwarranted.