I am going to whisper a magic number into your ears that will make you the happiest person on earth. Seventeen. What are you talking about, you ask? That’s how much 30 ml of Old Monk costs at The Bar Stock Exchange (TBSE) in Mumbai. Dude, don’t bullshit, you say. Here’s another magic number. Thirty-four. Is that how old you are, you joke. No, that’s how much a Blender’s Pride will cost you. You shouldn’t kid about alcohol, y’know, you say, getting a tad pissed. Two hundred and twenty. You grind your teeth and threaten to punch me. I smile. That’s a Glenfiddich 12 years for you.
TBSE, the latest bar property in the city, has been the toast of the town. Owned by Mihir Desai and Amit Singh, TBSE is an innovative concept backed by friendly pricing and a fantastic ambience. While the first property opened at Andheri east, two more TBSEs have come up in Andheri west and BKC.
So how do such low prices work, you eagerly ask? During lunch hours (12pm to 4pm) all alcohol is static at MRP. ‘Trading’ (price escalation according to demand) starts from 6 pm onwards. The more a drink is demanded by customers a specific night, the more its price escalates. So, your drink of choice is your ‘stock’. Running LED boards and LCD screens continuously flash the rise and fall of ‘stock’ prices like real stock exchanges.
But wait, you say, how am I going to be billed? How will the waiter know when I ordered what and how much the drink was for then? That brings in the TBSE app. You download it for free from the Google app store before you enter the bar and it verifies your identity and your age (you have to log in through Facebook or Google plus). Then, you have to confirm your table number and start ordering drinks (and select your mixers). The waiter will come and confirm your drink before bringing it. That way, you are ‘locking down’ on a drink at a specific time for a specific price.
And, there’s another interesting twist – at any time during the evening there can be a ‘market crash’ and all alcohols go down to MRP once again for some time. So, if you are lucky enough to be there during a crash, you get to go back to those magic numbers again.
Other than drinks, the bar has a wide variety of finger food and even main courses which are delectable. Food and cocktails are not at MRP but are reasonably priced. All cocktails are for 250 rupees which is much cheaper than what most places in the city charge. And yes, it stays 250 throughout the evening. The chefs rustle up some killer pasta main courses and the popcorn chicken and prawn munchies are spot on.