Monday, May 19, 2008

Drinking in Darjeeling

Yangdup's wedding drew us to Gayabari, just south of Kurseong, and a 2 hour hop from Darjeeling. Having never been, we had to tick Darjeeling off our list, and especially the "drinking in" part. Darjeeling on arrival seemed no different than any other Indian hill station of its ilk, or perhaps since the only part we saw was the crowded mall area, our perception may have been biased. Once you've taken a photo in front of the world's highest railway station (Ghoom @ 8000 feet) and taken in the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, it's museum and the Wildlife Sanctuary, there's not much more which appears doable in Darjeeling, which is no doubt why people drink so much rum in the hills. When in Rome!

There appear to be quite a few bar options in Darjeeling, from the seedy to the tourist friendly. Having whetted our initial appetite with a steaming bowl of Thukpa, and having dutifully shopped for curios for kith and kin (the Newar family doll set, purchased for daughter, now languishes in a drawer), we ploughed on to Glenary's, one of the landmarks of the Mall road, and a veritable tourist ghetto. It's a shame that you can't have a drink on the ground floor, with its amazing now you see them, now you don't view of the Himalayas. The live music @ Buzz, which is the pub downstairs @ Glenary was only slated to come on at 7 pm, and we had to be back at Yangdup's to witness some more riotous singing and dancing, so we sated ourselves with a slice of apple pie and a Coffee.

A Guinness Stretch Rugby figure and assorted Guinness and Murphy's collateral were the last things we expected to find in Joey's Pub as was the bottle of Munro's King of King's Scotch whisky, which now doubled up as an ugly lamp shade.





If you want the local flavour in Darj, then drop in to Joey's, sit at the bar, and chat with Sans, the manager, who stands in for Puran Gongba, the owner, affectionately known as Joey by guests. Old Monk and Coke hit the spot, although the plate of sausages going to a table looked good, we abstained with thoughts of impending dinner on our mind. Joey's is situated right opposite the Big Bazaar and from the outside gives the appearance of Ye Olde English Tea Tavern. Visit, you won't be disappointed.



Tulleeho!

Vikram Achanta

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