Normal is boring. If you agree with the statement then the newly open Charlie’s Bar Exchange at Saket is just where you should be heading. Charlie’s Bar Exchange is a novel concept where prices of drinks behave the same way as the stocks behave in a stock exchange. Depending upon the activity and demand the price of alcoholic drinks keeps fluctuating but will never cross their MRP and may go down as much as the cost price. The various screens inside keeps displaying the changing prices and may come up with an offer that is hard to refuse.
The modern Irish lounge ambience at Charlie’s is relaxed, music decibels right to strike a conversation and the drinks menu is innovative. To go with the theme I would have liked the interiors to reflect more of a stock exchange feel.
Going with the theme, it was one of those few days when I was more interested in trying the drinks. A pint of kingfisher and foster at Rs75 showed on the screen against the MRP of 175, and we quickly ordered two pints for each of us. “As per the exchange rule hoarding is not allowed and hence one cannot order more than two drinks at a time till you finish them”, says Viraj Lamba, the creator of Charlie’s Bar Exchange. He also mentioned that prices will definitely hit the lowest minimum twice a day at 12 noon and 12 midnight where a Kingfisher beer, for example, will cost Rs45 only. His co-creator, Nareen Tewari, explains the concept. “Charlie is a guy next door, who believes in working hard and partying harder. Just like any other young professional, he is full of life and keeps on searching for good deals to enjoy his leisure time to the fullest. Charlie’s hunt for ‘value for money deals’ ends @ Bar Exchange”.
Beer and straight drinks can never tell the potential of a place. So we start with cocktails and luckily I am accompanied with my friend Rohan Jelkie who is a known name in beverage industry and understand drinks much better than most of us. The bar master at Charlie’s Bar Exchange, Subhash Rawat (Abby) suggests All King Call, a fruity and refreshing cocktail with whiskey, fresh watermelon, strawberry, orange and lime juice. Traditional whiskey sour with egg white is equally good. Against the MRP of Rs325, we got them at current exchange rate of Rs175. Not bad at all. Bell pepper Margarita uses fresh red, yellow and green bell pepper as a base. This drink may fill you up and should only be tried by someone who is willing to experiment. I liked it and kept wondering why anyone else never thought of this interesting and easily available ingredient.
Food options are regular and limited. The lightly coated fish and chips (385) is enjoyable without being spectacular. Charlie’s non veg sampler (445) has pollo piccante, fish fingers, bbq chicken wings, onion rings and chicken charmoula. These are comfort foods and goes well with most drinks. So without even getting into details or looking for the gourmet stuff, we polished this off in a jiffy. The fries however needed a little more frying that aren’t as crisp.
Amongst the deluxe cocktails that include imported alcohol, Mid Night Sex (vodka, hazelnut syrup, chocolate syrup and fresh cream) is like exchange’s version of Bailey’s and perhaps a great dessert drink. Baby Devil is vodka infused with green chilly and goes well with any masaledaar Indian food.
Ending our meal with the overload chicken pizza (sausages, makahani chicken & smoked chicken; 365) and lamb burger (345), we realized that the dishes are great value for money. It definitely isn’t the best pizza with average base but the pricing, toppings and size more than compensate. Though Dominos or Pizza Hut should not be compared with a modern fine pub, but even they would fail to give as much value.
I am happy that I came to Charlie’s. If they can work on the menu to include pork, beef and more variety with the current value proposition, it will surely have more “Charlies” amongst us thronging the place.
Ratings (out of 5):
Drinks: 4.0 |Food: 3.0 | Ambience: 3.5 | Service: 4.0 | Overall: 3.5
Meal for two: Rs. 1200 (without alcohol) | Alcohol: Yes | Credit Card: Yes | Timings: 11am – 12 PM
Address: Charlie’s bar exchange,G-02,Rasvillas Mall, Saket,New Delhi | Telephone: +91-11- 64250003