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!


Sudden death for live music in Indiranagar



Two popular music venues, The Humming Tree and bFlat, decide to shut down over recurrent issues with live music and licences and lack of support from the system

In the wake of the recent crackdown on live music and the growing operational issues, two of Bengaluru’s popular music and performance venues have decided to close down. Located on 12th Main Road in Indiranagar, The Humming Tree will close the doors on September 30 while bFlat Bar, situated on 100 Feet Road in the same locality, will wind up on October 2, along with its rooftop restaurant Been There Done That (formerly called Highnote).

It was on September 5 when The Humming Tree first dropped a hint that all was not well. In a Facebook post, it said: “Pretty much a death nail for us as a venue so (it) would mean the world to us if you came for what we have lined up for you instead.” Then on Thursday, they announced their closure with an Instagram post, “in light of the myopic rules regarding music licenses”. A day before that, bFlat Bar took to social media to inform that “the venue hopes to return to Bangalore in a new avatar but under the prevailing conditions, it’s goodbye for now”.

The co-founder of Bflat Bar Arati Rao wasn’t available to comment, sharing only that the team is overwhelmed with the tasks involved in closing down operations. However, the owner of The Humming Tree, Nikhil Barua, opened up about what drove his business to the brink. “Running a music venue as it is, is quite tough. Anybody who runs a music venue does it out of passion, not to make big money, so to now run it with an uncertainty whether or not we can play a live gig, it’s not a business model I can survive on. We carried on like this for two years but not anymore. We wanted closure.” Meanwhile, he plans to curate music tours and festivals or maybe open a bar in the existing space.

His problem didn’t revolve around the fire and noise pollution norms as he says “they had spent `10 lakh on soundproofing and `20 lakh on fire safety”. “We didn’t have Occupancy Certificate (OC) for the building we are in (No 949), because of which we could not apply for the music license. But the onus of the OC should be on building owners and not tenants. ”

Besides, pubs in the area were facing opposition from the residents, citing parking issues, brawls, and fire hazards. “I am a resident of Indiranagar too and I am all for laws and rules. But it’s sad the residents refuse to sit across the table and have a chat with us and more unfortunate that the authorities don’t take the onus to resolve the matter.”

As a result, for two years, he could not bring artists and bands he would have liked, and since July this year, music gigs had dropped to very few. And so when the latest crackdown on live music happened, he decided to shut his six-and-a-half-year-old pet project.

The Bengaluru chapter head of National Restaurant Association of India, Manu Chandra deems this situation “catastrophic”. “Today (on Thursday), I was at an event where a few people asked me what’s happening to the music gigs in the city and I had no reply,” Chandra, who’s met the police commissioner multiple times to conclude the issue amicably, told BM. “As it is, businesses are quite volatile due to the economic downturn and on top of that authorities have taken away our ability to do business, so how will anybody carry on?”

And so, musicians in the city are a worried lot, such as 27-year-old Mahesh Raghunandan. The singer-songwriter got his initial break at these Indiranagar spaces. “Any claim of success that I can make is because of these two venues. August 29 was my last gig at bFlat Bar and just five minutes before the show, we had to call it off because of the police rounds.” The members of I Change Indiranagar also expressed “sadness” at bFlat’s closure on their Facebook page but didn’t fail to add what they have been fighting for: “Sadness should not overshadow legality and safety aspects of running an establishment…”

Recommended for you