Bengaluru’s trading bars, where discounts on drinks mimick stock market

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BENGALURU: Move over Happy Hours. In many bars in Bengaluru, discounts on drinks is now mimicking the stock market. Revellers stay glued to a screen to evaluate fluctuating prices of alcoholic beverages (generated by a software that taps on a demand-supply algorithm) and order their drinks when prices are suitable. Cost of drinks increase when demand is high.

Of his 10 visits to bars in a month, Pratheek Ponnappa’s four are to bar stock exchanges like Tipsy Bull, Wall Street 52, Hammered Bar Stock Exchange and Trader’s Inc. The 24-year-old software engineer at CapGemini says, “I stopped attending Happy Hours because the timing (typically 5-7pm) clashes with my work hours. At a trading bar, I can avail 20-30% discount all day long. I wait for the market crash hour at 11 pm when all prices are slashed.Playing lucky with fluctuating prices is a kick.“

Tanmoy Savardekar, a restaurateur in the city , is another regular. He speaks of grabbing good deals on straight drinks like rum & coke and classics l i ke Long Island Iced Tea. “As consumers, we have to play smart. Go when the bar is empty for best deals. For once, we look away from our phones and social media. We bond with friends by keeping a tab on beverage rates and plan our order accordingly,“ he says.

Comparing her two recent bills, reveller Debolina Ray (29) says: “At a recent outing at a routine bar, we paid a bill of Rs 12,000. The same order at a trading bar cost us Rs 9,000. The concept works out brilliantly when we go out in a big group.“

According to food blogger Soham Shoney, con venient pricing and fancy gambling entertainment have propelled this trend in the past one year. To which Angad Singh, director of Tipsy Bull chain, says, “A bar exchange is like Happy Hours all day long. People find it interesting because one takes control to rule the market of bar stocks.“

Apparently, college students, corporates and techies are the biggest takers. College students do not mind experimenting with different brands of alcohol unlike evolved drinkers. Corporates have discovered a new platform to engage with employees. Anusha N Shetty, marketing head for Wall Street chain of trading bar, says, “We have already organised six corporate gatherings since our launch in April. Birthday parties are popular too.“

The chain opened their first branch in JP Nagar followed by Koramangala. Three more are to open this year.

Besides walk-ins, this trading bar is also offering memberships to access simulated demat accounts where members can buy and sell liquor like stocks. Shetty claims that about 150 people have already enrolled for membership.