Popular Bengaluru pub and bar BFlat and BTDT in Indiranagar, which hosted many music and stand-up comedy events, will pull down its shutters from October 2, the establishment announced.
In a Facebook post, it said, “We regretfully announce that BFlat and BTDT Indiranagar, Bengaluru’s first dedicated live performance venue and loved restaurant (former Highnote), and home to many music lovers and foodies, closes its doors, effective October 2, 2019, after 10 and a half years of supporting the Arts.”
“Positioned as a platform to showcase in particular the independent music scene, jazz and blues as well as stand-up comedy, BFlat has become an iconic institution… The venue hopes to return to Bangalore in a new avatar but under the prevailing conditions it’s Goodbye for now (sic),” it added.
Though Bflat has not spelt out the exact reason why they are shutting down, their parting words that ‘under the prevailing conditions it’s Goodbye for now’ hints at the establishment having issues with the police trying to enforce rules against those hosting live bands.
Recently, the police started enforcing rules under Licensing and Controlling Places of Public Entertainment (Bangalore City) Order, 2005, which requires establishments to get licenses for entertainment programmes through the Bengaluru Commissioner’s office. The Supreme Court upheld this order in January 2018 following a dispute.
This rule that disallows live music performances without several stringent measures put into place, has been called draconian by many. However, the police department insists that this is to ensure safety of those who attend these events. The police department has also come under criticism for not enforcing any rules for more than a decade.
Moreover the Karnataka Fire Safety and Emergency Services Department in April, had filed a complaint against the owners of the building along with other establishments for ignoring fire safety norms.
media had reported that the Fire Department was writing to Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the Bangalore Electric Supply Company (Bescom) directing them to withdraw occupancy certificate and cut power supply of thirty such roof-top pubs and restaurants for violating fire safety rules.
The officials had then said that the step was taken after these owners had allegedly refused to take remedial steps even after four-five notices were sent to them.
These actions were taken following the incident at Kailash Bar and Restaurant at the start of the year, where a 70-year old building in Kalasipalya in the city went up in flames, killing five people.
Other than the fire safety norm violations, watering holes in Indiranagar have been facing the heat from local residents over the issue of violating zonal laws and setting up illegal commercial establishments in residential zones.
The residents have also approached the Karnataka High Court on the issue of sound pollution because of these pubs in residential areas allegedly blaring music even late into the night