The oldest and wisest best friends we can all think of would be music and alcohol. With hundreds of bars across Kathmandu Valley, there is no place that serves alcohol without some background music.
We are not only talking about the bar scenes in Thamel or Jhamel, but also the small bhattis and restaurants that have music blaring even without any customers early in the day. Forget about the new establishments in our contemporary city, alcohol and music has been prevalent in most of our cultures for centuries. It’s in most of our homes and most of our festivals; recently, with our Bhai Tika, how many of you remember taking that one little shot with your brother or sister? The little but powerful “local” or home-brewed, traditionally speaking…
Music and alcohol have become best friends, as music brings together people from any background and alcohol…well, everyone is your best friend. Research has shown that people are more likely to drink more if they enjoy the music being played at the venue. Add on louder music, and people drink faster! There are no studies to answer your question, why? However, many have come up with conclusions. Like, you cannot hear the other person when there is loud music, so people tend to take larger gulps and walk to the bar. You now see why there is always going to be a massive wait at the bar in the big clubs and crowded bars? If you are there to meet new people, or talk to a fresh face, sit at the bar.
Kathmandu has a huge live music bar scene that pulls in the crowd. Understandably, Nepalis love their music and enjoy having a drink or two. The friendship between music and alcohol has made the Kathmandu scene smaller, with all the party goers and music lovers in one place. I spoke with Sanjay Shrestha, a musician and member of 1974 AD and Joint Family Internationale and proud owner of House of Music in Thamel about music and alcohol going hand in hand. Shrestha’s priority in establishing House of Music, was music. Plain and simple, a platform for musicians, Nepali musicians and musicians from across the globe and of all genres. The alcohol comes in play when it comes to covering their expenses. Everybody’s gotta pay bills. This is how music should influence our society, reaping the benefits of the soothing sounds to the soul, slow or fast paced. Alcohol should always come secondary to enjoy music, if that’s what you are there for. Beer is the preferred drink when it comes to most people there for the music, simple and easy.
Everyone has different priorities when it comes to going out to a restaurant or a bar, come the weekend, or even a weekday. If there is passion for the performing band or singer, people do not drink while watching the band, because there is no need for it, they are simply there for the music. But when you want to just hang out with your friends, a few drinks in hand and enjoyable background music is always nice. Day drinking is a new concept coming into Nepal now. Have a cocktail or a glass of sparkling during your lunch catch up, or a beer, do not shy away from the forbidden idea society has created on alcohol. Of course, do not drink and drive, as cliché as it sounds. But, safety is always the first priority.