Spirits and Haunts : The Olypub Reprise

We all have favourite haunts. Different haunts for different kinds of hauntings, of course. For books, for a cup of coffee, for grabbing a burger, for sharing a drink…now this sharing a drink bit is of special interest to me, since, well, I love drinking (not quite an alcoholic yet, don’t panic). Who doesn’t love a nice, chilled glass of beer? I am sure you do. And if you don’t, chances are I will never really love you either. Not loving beer is almost as bad as not loving cats. True story. So, anyhow, usually after a tiring day of work, I head to this seedy little pub called Olypub. It’s a shady place that I love visiting for a good, cheap glass of beer. The waiters are friendly and always eager for a tip. Often, you can hear loud meowing, and while you look everywhere for the source of the meow, you’ll suddenly see a pair of eyes staring back at you from within the vent in the wall. The first time I had seen that, I was positively mortified. I was panicking. The cat will surely die if she stays stuck there. Dafuq? After interrogating the weary waiters, I am told she likes sitting there from time to time. Okay. Great then. So. I like Olypub. It’s a friendly place with strange people and weird animals (yes, you can often spot rats there too).

So here are a few photos of Olypub, where we go, get mindlessly drunk and mindlessly philosophical/poetic. (love that place, I tell you)

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That’s my bff Biswa with my bf, Aveek. Happy, drunken people. Cheers!

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And that’s a whole lot of beer, evidently.

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That’s Biswa and I. Mindlessly laughing, evidently.

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Oh. Looky, looky! Kitten at Oly.

So, that’s Olypub for you. A wonderful little bar (let’s face it, it’s not exactly a pub, okay?) where you can go and sit sit endlessly with friends, enemies, whatever. Watch the rats. Overhear inane conversations of loud, drunk people. Watch funny drunk people tottering about. Maybe you can even witness a lethargic, half hearted bar fight. If all else fails, keep an eye out for a cat or two. Or just make do with the rats. Oh, and they make amazing beef steaks (so I have heard. I don’t eat beef. I am fond of cows, the way I am fond of pigs and goats, etc) and chicken a la kievs! Give it a shot.

It also happens to be a favourite hangout spot of NRIs (yes, non-resident Indians) who get all drunk and nostalgic in Olypub and make it a point to bring along their foreign friends too. I would too, if I were an NRI. But I am not. Hic!

Dear, dear Oly

We all have a favourite pub. Or bar. Mine is Oly Pub. It’s my happy place. It’s where I had first gone as a 16 year old for my first drinking session with a couple of friends, post school- excited, slightly nervous and driven by a sense of adventure. It had been a happy winter afternoon.

Then the familiarity grew. University, new set of friends. Heading off to Oly for a cheap glass of beer became more and more common. But the charm never wore off. Still hasn’t. Probably never will. Park Street is a special place for me, like most Calcuttans and Oly defines Park Street for me. Not Flury’s. Not Mocambo. Or Peter Cat. It’s Oly. Magnolia’s or Silver Grill is never an option, let alone a priority It’s where I reunite with friends who live in different cities during Durga Puja. It’s where I go for binge drinking with my partner, on a whim. It’s where I celebrate little joys and random bouts of depression. It makes the village drunk in me very, very satisfied. There’s something very warm about that place. With it’s cheap, tattered sofas and disgruntled waiters. The rats scurrying about and the occasional cat that saunters by you, looking at you nonchalantly.

Few things feel as good as the chilled bottle of beer that arrives at your table. The water droplets trickling down the bottle as it fizzes and pours into the nondescript glasses. The colourful plastic bowls- red, green and yellow, heaped with chanachur that’s given to you. There’s something positively magical about that heinously unhealthy chanachur. It has the propensity to make you feel like a homeless delinquent in a free banquet. And if you know the waiter (read: bribe him generously on every visit) he will never hesitate before refilling that colourful plastic bowl with more of the hazardous stuff that tastes like manna.

I have graduated from school to university and now Park Street is my playground, what with me working there. And nothing compares to the feeling of rushing into Oly Pub and climbing up those stairs and plopping down on a sofa (if I am lucky enough to find a place to sit) as I await my beer. Makes life just a bit more special.