The golden trimmed doors of Storytellers’ open up to an expansive clean-cut bar that greets guests with a formidable facade, the light emanating from behind the glass shelves running through the amber tone of cognac - making it all the more alluring. Shades of blue wrap around the glowing bar, whose cosmopolitan feel is balanced by the tasteful simplicity of the Pondicherry aesthetic - azonic, free-flowing design combined with art deco elements.
The basement bar is garnished with a smattering of hanging lamps whose light softly highlights the selection of art and stories from the Auroville and Pondy area suspended on the walls. Refined acoustics push ripples of lucid sound across the comfortable linearlayout with ease. Thus, the far too often jarring and muffled sounds of live music interacting with the underlying rumble of liquor-fueled conversation are replaced with the clarity of a smooth bass riff carrying through the room.
As guests pull up a bar stool they find themselves ordering a cocktail they’ve never tried before. This is not because they are unfamiliar with tasty liquor-filled libations, but because they are presented with a cocktail selection they’ve never experienced before. It’s rare to find a menu page of drinks dedicated to a single city, let alone a seaside town, but Pondicherry likes doing things differently.
These are a guest’s first steps into Mr. Dilip Kapur’s Storytellers’ Bar, a space created for creatives across the globe to lean back with a refreshing drink and get to know the ‘real’ Pondicherry and Auroville. It is a space for raconteurs to swap stories and for travellers to better understand the wonderful community they’ve stepped into to. This is where a visiting musician from Mumbai or a photographer from Kolkata could share a bit of their story, whilst joining in the narrative of this South Indian region that beckons the free thinker.
The space in its very essence pays tribute to its genesis, it is an inviting canvas of multiple styles and stories pieced together, like the community it was born from. It will forever continue to change, and through its ever changing nature it will always be complete.
Allow us to tell you the story behind this accommodating haven for those who are hooked to the seductive pull of this seaside sanctuary and the City of Down (Auroville).
Setting The Bar - The Storytellers’ Dream Team
Mr. Kapur was brought up to give. His father was a prominent businessman who sold his property and donated the proceeds to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. An astute eye for business and a heart ready to share were inherited by Mr. Kapur who returned from his stint at Princeton and started a one man leather workshop. His workshop has now grown into the Global fashion force that is Hidesign, with outlets across the globe.
Mr. Kapur’s love for Pondicherry and desire to preserve its picturesque look brought him into the luxury hotel sphere with Pondy’s two top hotels The Promenade and Le Duplex. He acquired these properties not only due to his success, but due to the fact that the sellers knew Mr.Kapur would preserve the beautiful heritage buildings.
Mr. Kapur’s life so far can be summed up by an eagerness to share his success and a gift of gab. He always has a new story lingering on his lips and a boyish smile that rests comfortably on his face as he makes you laugh. His love of stories and desire to create a space that promotes the storytelling culture inherently linked to the area influenced Mr. Kapur to come up with a concept where the stories of Pondy and Auroville could flourish and interact with travellers. Say hello to The Storytellers’ Bar.
Mukesh - The Bar Curator
Since last November Mukesh has been a part of The Storytellers’ Bar conception. During his first three days in Pondi Mukesh “wanted to see the extent and quality of the local organic ingredients.” Then he fell in love. “Hibiscus, fresh papaya all the time, and alligator pears, this kind of freshness you won’t get anywhere in India, that’s from my experience as a bartender for the last 12 years.”
Mukesh’s love affair with the region’s bevy of fresh and organic ingredients resulted in a two month stay in Pondy. He played the role of the ‘mad scientist’ as he joyfully experimented, creating a myriad of concoctions that instantly make one understand why he his hailed as one of India’s top mixologists.
“All the cocktails are made from local ingredients- organic fruit purees and infused sodas for the cocktails. I highly suggest other bartenders come to Pondicherry and Auroville to experiment with the high level of local ingredients here.”
Although Mukesh does have a soft spot for his cocktail City of Down (a name for Auroville) he looks at his Storytellers’ creations like his own children, unable to say he prefers one over the other.
This particular creation pay tribute to ‘Filter Kaapi’ a staple of Pondy life. It has been adapted from the original version of Irish Coffee with Kahlua, Whiskey, locally available chocolate espresso and chocolate sauce.
Simran Mulchandani - The Man Behind The Scenes
What Bozlie was to Charlie’s Angels, what John “Hannibal” Smith was to the A-team, this was Simran’s Storytellers’ Bar role.
“My role was to get the best players involved.”
A constant source of surprise to Simran is how little people know about Pondicherry. As a man whose return suitcase is always full of homemade cheeses, fresh bread, various tapenades and chocolates - all for a very reasonable price - he feels that people are really missing out on Pondicherry. He is also awestruck by the many amazing stories that make up the history of this area and wants to expose and integrate other Indians into the happenings of a South Indian region that is small in numbers but large in conception and follow through.
These factors encouraged the founder Blue Frog to join of with Mr. Kapur in a venture designed to highlight the wonder that define Pondicherry and Auroville.
Acoustics And Design Make Everything Feel Fine
The Head of Design, Ayaz Basrai, is the brilliant and bearded co-founder at The Burside, an independent design studio based in Mumbai. He co-created one of India’s most successful F&B brands -Social- and designed Blue Frog Pune and Bangalore.
And the reason live music sounds so great in this joint is due to Kapil Thirwani, of Munro Acoustics. Munro has designed record studios for the likes of Coldplay, U2 and Dire Straights.