November 23, 2010

Livin’ La Vida Loca

 
When David Villa and his band of boys took home the Holy Grail of football thanks to some brilliant footwork by Andres Iniesta’s 116th-minute strike, the entire stadium erupted in cheer with the vuvuzelas blowing loud and clear. Yes, it was the night when the Dutch dream was shattered and Holland cried orange tears.
Far far away, in a land littered with clich├ęs of being called ‘the mystical place of snake charmers, Kamasutra, sadhus and slums’, and further down south in seemingly conservative Chennai there was one quaint little place called Zara Tapas Bar which was celebrating the victory of Spain. Why you may ask? Well, though they don’t really need an introduction, Zara is India’s first Tapas bar and probably one of the best pubs in Chennai. 
As I sat at the pub on a muggy evening watching the finals, nestling my tall glass of sangria (that is my way of supporting Spain, apart from drooling over David Villa) a thought suddenly struck me! As a resident of Chennai and now well into my drinking prime, I have probably spent many a night at this pub drinking, talking, dancing and simply ‘sitting’ night after night with friends, strangers and just about every body. Such is the charm of Zara. Not once will you feel out of place, not once will you be asked to leave, unless of course you beat up the manager (I wouldn’t advise this because he has personally spoken at length with me about his fitness routine).
Truth be told though, if there is one reason I keep going back to Zara, It is probably because I personally think they have the best tapas, cocktails and food. Their Spanish sangrias, which come by the pitcher or glass is made with a combination of chunky tropical fruits and wines, dances like a Spanish chica doing the salsa in front of me. The starters range from the ever popular nachos, to interesting dishes like the jalapeno stuffed with cheese, spicy chicken and cheese, cottage cheese and potato nuggets, shredded crispy lamb with peppers, mushrooms and pimentos in a red wine reduction…the list just goes on!
I have said this before, and I’d like to reinstate that for me, if there is a bar in Chennai that really just lets me ‘be’, it would have to be Zara. The place has become a friend in need of sorts- Monday blues, Tuesday musings, Girl’s night on Wednesdays, retro Thursdays, or the Friday-Saturday weekend partying, there is something for everybody at Zara. It’s like a one size fits all…sigh, if only clothes were like that!