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In Delhi’s nightlife, women hold all the cards


It was 6pm and time for her to wrap up the day’s work. ‘A quick drink will make for a perfect end to the day,’ she thought to herself, as she drove towards her favourite club. As she took a seat, a staff member informed that she could have the first drink free, as part of their ‘special offer for ladies’ and then asked her if someone else will be joining her on the table. She politely said, “No.”

“A single woman dining out alone is nothing new now. Till a few years ago, the staff would think that a woman sitting alone in a restaurant is waiting for someone. But now, the staff doesn’t wait for someone to join her before serving her, unless she specifically mentions that she is waiting for someone. Also, till a few years ago, women would come out to party or for a meal with their girlfriends mostly on weekends. But now, even on weekdays, our restaurant is packed with women meeting with clients or just chilling with their friends over a glass of wine,” says Swadeep Popli, owner of The Chatter House at Khan Market and Epicuria, Nehru Place.

The fact that the female customer no longer needs male company to have a drink or an expensive meal has been a gamechanger in the nightlife sector. Restaurateurs have special offers to suit the needs of financially independent, working women, who are now seen as big spenders.

‘Earlier, a group of women at a fancy restaurant would mean a kitty party’
Padma Swarupa, a style consultant and entrepreneur from Gurgaon, says, “Earlier, if I would call up a restaurant or a five-star hotel to reserve a table, I would be asked whether it was for a family lunch or a kitty party. Women were working and earning even then, but the thought that a group of women can also come out to just have a meal, without celebrating anything, was unusual. Also, many people thought that women earn to only save, not to party.
Today, we have the financial freedom to decide if we want to spend Rs10K on just drinks and meal at a five-star hotel or on a branded dress. We are not answerable to anyone about how we are spending the money that we earn.”

Poonam Gupta, an IT professional from Gurgaon, narrates an incident from a few years ago when she was out partying with her girlfriends in Hauz Khas Village. “Each person in the group was offered a free drink by different men at the club. It was quite funny. When men go out and party, nobody thinks that they are doing it to hook up. But a group of girls partying and having drinks would mean that they are ‘attracting attention’. Thankfully, things have changed for the better now. And it is not just financially independent women who go out to party till late, even college girls hang out at fancy restaurants,” she says.

Special happy hours and ladies’ luncheons
Tithi Sharma, an entrepreneur, says that the financial freedom that women enjoy today has made them the ideal customer. “Women today have an equal spending power as men. But the chances of them getting drunk and creating a ruckus are far less. May be that’s why many establishments do not allow stag entry. Women spend more on their drinks and food than men – while men would want beer, most women like to have an expensive wine with their meal,” she says.

Pranay from Roost Bistro says that the restaurant has a special ladies luncheon – which is not very reasonably priced – yet is quite popular. “Today, many restaurants have special nights, happy hours or lunches for women. And that is not at the cost of compromising on business. It”s a win-win situation for both parties. Women today spend big money on food and drinks, and such offers only makes the place more inviting,” he says and adds, “Ladies nights and happy hours are the reason why weekdays are rocking and happening. Weekdays used to be a dull affair before, but now, women come out to party even on weekdays, and these offers are an added bonus.”

Saurabh Khanijo, from Kylin, adds, “We have started special Goddess Nights for women and we also have power luncheons, specially for working women to network over lunch. It is a platform where women from different fields can meet and even discuss collaborations.”

Zorawar Kalra adds that at his restaurant in Cyber Hub, lunch hours are particularly popular with working women. “It is now common for women to go on lunch breaks and during the lunch hours, our restaurant is often packed with female corporate employees,” he says.

Source: Times of India

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