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Are Mumbai's nightspots safe for women?

What happens when things get out of hand inside a nightspot and lead to worst case scenario, as what occurred at a Bandra pub on April 26, when a few Navy personnel misbehaved with a woman? Dhara Vora quizzes several city clubs and pubs about security measures that are in place to ensure such shocking episodes aren’t repeated, and Mumbai’s women feel safe

We consider the people who come to Cafe Mondegar as guests who would visit our home; this is the general spirit that we observe in all our services. The people who drop by here are regulars, so they know how to behave here. It is the regulars who bring in new customers and they ensure that they maintain the decorum and the vibe of the space.

Cafe Mondegar. Pic/Shadab Khan
Cafe Mondegar. Pic/Shadab Khan

Also, our staff is trained to handle people who get drunk. I also screen the people coming in, so, if you are shabbily dressed or don’t behave properly, we won’t let you in, no matter how much money you might have in your pocket.

Our security extends even to your belongings. Once a Belgian customer left his camera here; he called and informed us that he would be back in the country after three months, and the camera was waiting safely for him with us. We take special care of women.

Because of the international crowd that comes here, there are times when some of these men think Indian women are cheap and misbehave with them. We throw them out straightaway. - Joseph Machado, Operations Manager, Cafe Mondegar

Firstly, we always keep a guest list for all our events. Without their name on the guest list, the person isn’t allowed on the premises. Secondly, there is a desk and four bouncers at the entrance to filter the crowd. We are concerned about the profile of people that walk in.

Also, we encourage couples-only entries and not larger groups of stags unless they have come under my reference or recommendation. In case someone misbehaves inside our premises, we try to investigate the matter internally and immediately ask that person to leave.

We ban that person from entering Villa69 again. In worst case scenarios, we call the police, especially when the matter gets beyond control. But honestly, we make sure our filtering process at the gate is done well, so these situations don’t arise. We have two entries — one that leads into the fine-dine section, and the other to the outdoor area. While promoting our gigs, our communication is well-planned and targeted such that it caters to the right crowd.
- Suved Lohia, Owner, Villa69, Juhu

Taking care of essentials like security and safety is the least we can do. We have enough female staff already working in our premises. Not just the women but safety of everyone inside our club is our moral responsibility. We have over 20 bouncers on a working night, and a dedicated security team who restrict any unwanted activity in the club.

Club Alibii

But the problem occurs when people don’t drink responsibly. However, we do encourage people not just to party hard but party well and make sure they drive back home safe. We always have a 360-degree approach — we supervise our patrons and we do have loyalties in terms of the crowd.

That factor itself resolves our purpose of safety to a large extent. This is also why we prefer people coming in groups and taking care of each other. Ultimately, it’s an individual decision to behave respectfully while having a good time. - Ankit Rawat, Founder/Owner, Club Alibii, Colaba

The first line of defense is the door host who validates relevant identity proof and ensures patrons entering are of permissible drinking age. They also deny entry to persons who are visibly intoxicated or don’t meet the club’s dress code or who are known to have previously caused problems, and/or been barred by management.

Royalty

The second line of defense is its bartenders and servers. They identify patrons who are visibly becoming intoxicated, or becoming loud, obnoxious, or looking for trouble and adopt non-confrontational methods to reduce, or to cut such people off from further drinking.

The next and final line of defense are the floor hosts who deter patrons from becoming unruly and if need be they will force patrons to exit the club. We have female security personnel specifically for the women. This apart, like any other club, every person walking in, is hand frisked thoroughly after they pass the metal detectors and there are CCTV cameras monitoring everything inside and outside the club.

We have trained staff who are equipped to handle any crisis at any given point of time. We have adequate staffing each night, and the club manager is always around to oversee general functioning. Moreover, if ejected patrons remain on the club’s property after being warned, the police is called for trespassing. - Jashoda Madhavji, Spokesperson, Royalty, Bandra

We first give a warning but if the bad behaviour continues, the bouncer will throw the person out. We won’t hesitate in calling the cops. This is a big mistake that several restaurant owners make. A uniform makes a difference. I have seen that people refrain from calling the cops thinking it is bad publicity.

But however drunk the person might be, a cop can bring him to senses. This prevents incidents once the person is outside the club too. Also, our security guys and valet know the regular taxi drivers who wait outside our premises, and hence they are reliable. - Meldan D’Cunha, Owner, The Local, Fort

We belong to the hospitality industry, so things have to be handled delicately. On weekends, when we expect more crowds we have two bouncers and a security guard; everyone is screened before they are allowed inside. We only allow couples and avoid large groups of boys or men.

The Little Door
The Little Door

In this way, the gender ratio is managed. If a fight breaks out between tables, we help them calm down first, and if it still continues we ask them to step out and sort it politely. If we have had a bad experience with someone before, we don’t let them in again. - Bhuvan Narang, Co-owner, The Little Door, Andheri

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