Tuesday, July 17, 2018


NRAI, Budweiser host 2nd India Nightlife Convention & Awards in Mumbai
Friday, 06 October, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, Mumbai
The National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) and Kickstart Entertainment, in association with Budweiser, organised the second edition of the India Nightlife Convention and Awards (INCA) in Mumbai recently.

The two-day national business convention not only showcased the ever-evolving and dynamic nightlife culture by highlighting the industry’s accomplishments, but also promoted a sense of brotherhood among the industry’s most influential hospitality entrepreneurs and specialists.

Stalwarts of the hospitality industry, including Kartikeya Sharma (marketing director, Anheuser-Busch InBev India and South-east Asia), Riyaaz Amlani (president, NRAI), A D Singh and Ravi Krishnan, came together to endorse India’s nightlife culture, mingle, imbibe a sense of fraternity and showcase the best that Indian bars and nightlife have to offer.

Prolific personalities from around the world, such as Mirik Milan (night mayor, Amsterdam), Amy Lamé (night czar, London), Lutz Leichsenring (of the Club Commission, Berlin), Jorge Saza (night ambassador, Madrid) and Frederic Hocquard (deputy mayor, night time policies, Paris) flew to Mumbai to share their insights, divulge secrets, bring in a global perspective and help identify the trends for making a vibrant and profitable nightlife and bar culture in the country.

The convention began with a keynote by Ben Verhaert, managing director, Budweiser India, on the burgeoning hospitality industry and the need to encourage nightlife in India.

Lamé addressed the audience about the nightlife economy in London, how the young population drives the nightlife in a particular country and what steps need to be taken to ensure that residents aren’t disturbed by places being open 24X7.

She also discussed multiple ways to ensure women’s safety and lower the crime rates.

Her address was even more important in an Indian context, as the nightlife culture in the country is still, to a large extent, stigmatised, and can often become a law and order issue.

Aditya Thackeray, head, Yuva Sena, was also present at the convention, and addressed the audience on how NRAI has supported and raised the bar for the nightlife industry, and how the campaign of a 24X7 Mumbai, which was introduced last year, is now a proposed bill.

He also stated that now Mumbai too will have hotspots, rooftop bars and food trucks in dedicated areas.

Faye D’Souza (editor, Mirror Now), Amlani, Shobita Kadan (director, marketing and hospitality, Impresario Hospitality) and Varun Patra (co-founder, Homegrown) were the moderators of panel discussions on such topics as Nightlife Safety, The Next Step - Building the Music Culture, Annus Horribilis - Surviving the Worst Year in Hospitality and Building the Vibe in a Bar.

The second day on the convention was led by moderators like Vishal Dadlani (music composer and singer), Ayaz Basrai (architect and interior designer), DJ Akhtar, Aneesh Bhasin (co-founder and chief executive officer, Hipcask) and Vivek Dudani (head of programming, Social and AntiSocial).

The last panel of the day was led by Dadlani, along with thought leaders like Milind Deora (former minister of state, ministries of information technology and communications and shipping, and former Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha, Mumbai South), Kaustubh Dhavse [joint secretary and officer on special duty (OSD) to the chief minister], Lamé, Milan and Amlani.

The important topics touched by the last panel were as follows:
Current hurdles towards actualising the potential of India’s nightlife and food and beverage industry
Expanding the scope of nightlife by a curated culture economy, to be more inclusive and abolish the perception of being meant only for the bourgeoisie
Ways of how Mumbai should capitalise on its own cultural equity and packaging these to appeal to a global audience, thereby benefiting all nightlife stakeholders, citizens and the government, and eventually generating a larger chunk of revenue and employment opportunities
The exponential employment jump that will be actualised on the back of even a slight policy easing from the government
Drafting new policy for new spaces in the nightlife and food and beverage industry, such as food trucks, with insights from the night mayors of London and Amsterdam as to what has worked in their respective cities

The session concluded with a unanimous consensus from all the panellists, even those on opposite political parties to work in unison with each other towards facilitating a more vibrant, safe and inclusive nightlife in the city that can be replicated across the country, making this a thriving sector which contributes to the cultural and economic growth of India.

The final panel session looked at setting the stage for building an industry- and political class-backed manifesto towards realising the goals and objectives set by INCA 2017.

Topics like Mixing Magic - Beverage Trends in the Bar Business, Music Shaping Nightlife, What's Brewing to Building Legendary Bars, Filling the Floor - Programming in India and Mumbai Manifesto were discussed.

The convention was followed by the awards night, where finalists were recognised at both the regional and national level. Two sets of city awards were presented.

The list of winners is as follows:
Best lounge: Marbella Beach Resort, Goa
Best nightclub: PlayBoy, Mumbai
Best bar in a hotel: Rock Pool, Goa
Best bar chain: Social
Best beer café: The Beer Café
Best bar for cocktails: Slink & Bardot, Mumbai
Best resto-bar: The Bombay Canteen, Mumbai
Best sports bar: Xtreme Sports Bar & Grill, Hyderabad
Best dive bar: High Spirits, Pune
Best open-air bar: Aer, Mumbai
Best bar food: Farzi Café, National Capital Region (NCR)
Best venue for live performances: AntiSocial, Mumbai
Best bar for wines: The Wine Company, NCR
Best concept bar: Toast & Tonic, Mumbai
Best café bar: Café Zoe, Mumbai
Best debut bar: Whisky Samba, NCR
Best bar interior: Cyber Hub Social, NCR
Best stand-up act in a bar: Varun Thakur, Mumbai
Best band: Parekh and Singh, Kolkata
Best bartender: Vicky Thakur, PCO, NCR
Best mixologist: Yangolp Lama Cocktails & Dreams, NCR
Best pop-up: Rumour, Mumbai
Best promoter: RAGE, Mumbai
Best restaurant/bar manager: Rahul Raghav, The Bombay Canteen, Mumbai
Best artiste manager: Submerge, Goa
Best F&B director: Kelvin Cheung, Bastian, Mumbai
Best music event/festival: NH7 Weekender, Pune
Best DJ of the year: Ankit Kocher, Mumbai
Best bar of the year: Social

Sharma said, “We are happy to be associated with INCA 2017. It’s a great platform for us to meet industry stakeholders, discuss ideas and take ownership for our roles in shaping the future of the nightlife industry.”

“India has witnessed a dynamic shift in nightlife culture and music is one of the key elements that are fuelling this change,” he added.

“As culture shapers, we will endeavour to continue providing innovative experiences for consumers through music and nightlife,” Sharma said.

Aman Anand, director, Kickstart Entertainment, added, “After the success of the first edition, we were anxious for the reception of the second one.”

“Considering this was bigger and grander, we are proud of how it turned out to be. We had most of the important stakeholders of the industry attend and participate in the convention,” he added.

“With a lot of new ideas discussed and perspectives shared, we are hoping the nightlife industry in India will definitely benefit from this and will grow bigger and better,” Anand said.

Riyaaz Amlani, president, NRAI, said, “Nightlife is an integral part of the cultural landscape of our country, and NRAI is absolutely thrilled to support INCA in their endeavour to recognise and celebrate thought leadership in this space.”

“Nightlife does not only promote tourism, but it also plays a pivotal role in creating the cultural perception of a city or a country across the globe,” he added.

“It provides the push which is essential to any burgeoning city’s economy and livability index,” Amlani said.

“Last but not the least, going out is demographic-agnostic, and therefore, highly inclusive, making it a bigger propeller for change,” she added.

Prathmesh Mishra, chief commercial officer, Diageo, said, “We have been a part of the India Nightlife Awards that has been celebrating and recognising one of the most spirited and fastest-growing industries in India from its inception.”

“The platform has helped elevate conversations around celebration and nightlife, and it is a pleasure to be associated with then once again,” he added.

“Congratulations to all the winners, and we hope these awards inspire people to continue improving the consumer experience and achieving greater heights,” Mishra said.
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