UB City

The terrace at UB City is where I’m happiest hanging out. It is across the street right after the east gate of Cubbon Park, and I pass the place twice daily* while commuting to work.

The terrace is at level 4. It is lined by alfresco cafés and restaurants and there’s an amphitheater in the corner with a deep well that looks toward the UB Tower. Inside the tower are the offices of the UB Group, makers of Kingfisher lager, India's best beer. UB Tower is so like the Empire State Building and you cannot help noting that the spirit of the chairman of the UB Group hasn't soared to the full height of that Manhattan skyscraper—the famous businessman has built only a mini-me. But one is charitable on the terrace at UB City, drinking coffee and beer and wine and taking the best breeze in town. In that ambience, where nice people wearing business-suits and shorts and tees are all mixed together, you cannot help but feel that Bangalore is rising, and you experience a lift yourself.

After a meeting in town, or in the evenings on holidays, I drop in at the Café Noir on the terrace at UB City for a café au lait and a pain au raisin. The folks at other tables order for sangria and pasta and ratatouille and crêpe. After a time I ask for more coffee and some pain-au-something-else.

UB City fronts Vittal Mallya Road. For me the important other stop on that street used to be Bounce, the saloon at street level on the corner where Vittal Mallya Road intersects Lavelle Road. I don't go there anymore, I've learnt to buzz-cut my hair myself.

At Bounce, the staff are almost all immigrants: The reception has sometimes been manned by young women of African origin. The hairdressers are Manipuri and Sri Lankan, and the owners (I think) are North Indian. Bounce competes with the saloons in five-star hotels and charges almost as much as them. The music is techno, a style which from start to end goes nowhere, and makes no side trips. (But it is more tolerable than the somnolent spa music in five-star hotels.) Suresh who used to cut my hair at Bounce is from Galle, and each time there we used to discuss Colombo and Kandy and Sigiriya, the Lankan places I’ve been in.

  • Not after 2-April-2012, when I stepped down. I go to Electronics City only occasionally now.