The Bar Stock Exchange
Concept restaurants in Mumbai have a very short shelf life. Many have opened and many have shut, real estate and return on investment being the primary concern. You have to be absolutely sure of a concept and its success to come up with 3 branches in the same year. It is refreshing to see this kind of confidence – The Bar Stock Exchange has plenty of it.
The concept, as the name suggests, is based on a stock exchange. The abbreviated name, TBSE, expresses that too. The rules of demand and supply is what’s behind the restaurant. Every drink has a minimum price which keeps going up based on its popularity; more people buy a drink, price of the drink keeps going up. Internationally, it is a well established concept for bars. For us in Mumbai it is the first.
At a point of time Old Monk was more expensive than Teacher’s
Keeping up with the stock exchange theme, the bar has monitors displaying changing rates of drinks. Those who’ve been to the Oshiwara outlet of TBSE will very easily recognize the remnants of their predecessor, The Big Bang Cafe, especially the inside bar counter and the seating. There is nothing outstanding or awful about the design and décor of the restaurant. The overall ambiance is casual and relaxed, open air seating on both levels is a relief for those who prefer to smoke. The music is a safe choice of popular rock and pop classics.
As a mobile app company the fact that TBSE has an app of its own obviously had us interested. The app helps you keep track of the price changes and also order directly. The software has been developed by a US based company. It is a great tool when you are a big group of people and have different things to order, reducing human errors and confusion for the service staff. Unfortunately, it can only be used when you have a table and the entire user experience was not seamless. Moving between categories of drinks and changing orders was the challenge we faced.
On our 2 visits we were very surprised and happy about the fact that imported spirits continued to remain reasonable averaging around Rs 100 for a 30 ml. Even as the evening progressed and more orders continued to be placed we still spent lesser than what we would at any other restaurant/bar. At a point of time Old Monk was more expensive than Teacher’s.
For our first round we ordered Gordon’s for Rs 90 for 30 ml and Bombay Sapphire for Rs 96. Even on our second round the prices went up barely by Rs 3-5. On our second visit, we ordered 4 large Beefeater with Tonic and 1 large Johnnie Walker Gold Label all for Rs 1700, including taxes. With a limited number of cocktails on the menu the drinks are barely mediocre and had a sweet disposition. While our Whiskey Sour was average but it managed to express the tartness of the drink, our Gimlet on the other hand was a disaster which tasted like toothpaste. Going back to the bartender and categorically expressing our wish for a not sweet drink, he suggested a Dry Martini and he did a reasonable job with it. TBSE is definitely not a place for cocktails, but it is a great place to get good straight drinks at extremely affordable prices.
The Bar Stock Exchange is not a place for cocktails but it is a great place to get straight drinks at affordable prices
TBSE uses 30 ml pours of domestic spirits for their cocktails. The good thing is that you can replace those with imported spirits and the cost difference will be barely anything. In fact our Gimlet was cheaper than the original Rs 250 because we asked it to be made with a Gordon’s instead of Blue Riband. There is negligible focus on wines and there is no mention of what the house wine might be even with great prices. Stick to the spirits would be our suggestion.
The food served is no gourmand’s dream come true, but it will keep you satiated with fail safe choices. Apart from the demand and supply theme, safe, is the only way to describe TBSE, there is nothing extraordinary in any of its offerings. Still, we will find ourselves returning to TBSE simply because with some smart calculations we assuredly will be spending lesser on our favorite spirits as compared to any other restaurant in Andheri.
This review has been conducted anonymously after two visits.