Wanna get our awesome news?

Subscribe to our newsletter!


Actually we won’t spam you and keep your personal data secure

As the voice of the Indian restaurant industry, we represent the interests of 500000+ restaurants & an industry valued @ USD 4 billion. Whether a chain or independent restaurant, the NRAI is here to help every step of the way. Join us!


‘Mumbai’s Night Mayor Should Be A Fighter’


The city is currently playing play host to the second edition of the India Nightlife Convention Awards (INCA), an initiative by the National Restaurants Association of India that bring together influencers in the nightlife industry for a host of talks and panel discussions. mid-day sat down with Amy Lame, Night Czar of London, and Mirik Milan, the Night Mayor of Amsterdam for a chat about how and if Mumbai can replicate the success European cities have seen.

What challenges did you face when you first took over your roles?

Mirik Milan: It was difficult in the beginning. You see, nightlife is not an easy subject to talk about, and at first, everyone — the city council, residents, and business owners — were sceptical. People are always afraid about what could go wrong. They think the crime rate will go up, there will be antisocial behaviour, heavy drinking, and all sorts of nuisance. Some of these things are to be expected, but there is also a good side to having a thriving nightlife, and those are the benefits you get from a social, cultural and economical perspective. That said, it was hard getting everybody on board to see it from this point of view. It took us two years to make it happen.

Amy Lamé: I’m lucky in a way because I’m associated with the mayor’s office. That gives me an extra layer of authority to be able to get people to sit around a table and talk. Ultimately, it’s the people that make the difference between a thriving nightlife and one that’s going to die. I also look to Mirik for inspiration, since he was the first to take on the job, back in 2012. Since then, cities like Paris and Zurich have also appointed night mayors. It’s wonderful that this is a growing movement, and that Mumbai is keen on taking the conversation forward.

How do you tackle the issue of safety?
MM: The mayor of Amsterdam wants to tackle alcohol-related violence, not because it’s high, but to make the nightlife districts that much safer for residents as well as visitors. We came up with a plan that costs €400,000, and one-third of it was paid by the operators, because improved safety equals better business. On the other hand, if you make bars shut early, you’re killing the industry. The city needs to take responsibility for citizens, but also pump money into it, instead of making it the problem of the operators.

How do you go about bringing residents on board? What about concerns like noisy venues within residential neighbourhoods?
AL: In London, we’re trying to deal with the issue with a legislation called Agent of Change. It requires upcoming apartment blocks to be soundproofed, and that cost has to be covered by the developers. So the residents get a good night’s sleep, but the venues in the neighbourhood can carry on their business. This isn’t the perfect solution, but it’s going some way in addressing the issue.

How can Mumbai go about becoming a nightlife hub?
AL: Every city should do it its own way. There’s no master plan. You have advocates for a nightlife culture here in Mumbai, and they know what the issues as well as opportunities are. We are here to add our knowledge and work together on it.

MM: Also, know that the nightlife scene can’t be changed in one go. First, you need to have a vision and write a manifesto. Then, you need everyone involved to stand behind it and say, “This is what we want Mumbai’s nightlife to look like.” The next step is to start small. Start in one area, one street. It’s a bottom-up movement.

AL: Moreover, if Mumbai does become a 24/7 city, it doesn’t mean every venue has to stay open through the night. It doesn’t suit every business owner, after all.

Instead, maybe you could encourage people to stay open just an extra hour, even if it’s on Friday and Saturday nights. It might turn out that they are earning a lot more money, or it might not work. But unless we take those small steps, we won’t know.

MM: Having people out on the streets, and keeping bars and clubs open at night creates safety for everyone else who works and commutes at night, too.

If Mumbai were to appoint a night mayor, what kind of person should qualify?
AL: The person needs to be knowledgeable about nightlife, and be able to persuade unlikely friends to come together and discuss matters.

MM: She needs to be able to speak to every layer of society. It should be somebody who fights for the rights of everybody at night — for the right to party, to have a job, but also for the right to get a good night’s sleep.

Source: Mid-Day

Recommended for you