AM PM, the newly launched cafe bar in Kolkata is straight from the set of Baz Luhrmann the great Gatsby – an aesthetic that blends Kolkata’s colonial-era club culture with millennial-approved zing.
AM PM Interiors
A cafe during the day, the aroma of artisan coffee wafts over when patrons walk inside. The venue is divided into six areas – The Legends is where bands perform, The Paddock Club is an extended outdoor seating area, The Alley resembles a narrow entrance galleys Or in the streets of Kolkata, Trophy Bar is a pink gold-hued bar, Powder Room is the washroom and Smoking Area is a thoughtfully designed smoking room with paintings of Audrey Hepburn and an old shoe polish machine.
Burma teak wood finished chairs and vintage collectibles adorn the café bar. Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
AM PM co-owner Rajan Sethi says his idea was to ‘merge Victorian aesthetics, local craftsmanship and the enduring influence of British architecture and culture’. “We did a recce of all the famous clubs in Kolkata and wanted to create a space that was easily accessible, without the hassle of membership, but also had the ambiance of the old Kolkata social clubs,” says Rajan.
Nagaram Organic Single-Origin Coffee sourced from the lush green valleys of North East India
The cafe serves organic single-origin coffee sourced from the lush green valleys of North East India. As the sun sets, cocktails give way to coffee, and the venue takes on the look and feel of iconic spots from the era of Blue Fox, Skyroom and Firpo, known in Calcutta for their glamorous ballrooms, cabaret singers and European food are known to be taken. The Roaring Decade of the 1920s.
The music, like the decor, is nostalgic: Bob Dylan’s ‘One More Cup of Coffee for the Road’, The Beatles’ ‘Let It Be’ and Guns N’ Roses’ Knocking on Heaven’s Door rock the bar back and forth. The enduring old and the emerging new city.
It was like taking a walk down memory lane to see the performance of renowned veteran musician Nandan Bagchi. Many locals have grown up watching the musician play at various clubs in the city as well as at the jazz festivals celebrated at the Dalhousie Institute. Watching Bagchi perform long after the jazz bands have died and the notes have faded from our ears was like watching the city write a letter to its former self.
From Wednesday to Sunday, Coffee Bar’s evenings are filled with live music – English jazz, rock, pop and blues performances. As the musicians play, cocktails are served to represent historical and local references to the city.
The top two on AM PM’s cocktail menu are the Gardens of Eden and the AMPM, an Old Fashioned Nolen molasses—a liquid molasses made with date palm extract. Eden Gardens, named after Kolkata’s iconic 159-year-old cricket stadium, is a generous splash of blue agave tequila, cooked with peppery notes derived from oak barrel maturation. Filled with the harmony of green tea and the flavor of grapefruit, this refreshing drink is ideal to wash away the troubles of a tiring day.
The Old Fashioned is filled with the honeyed notes of AMPM Aberfeldy 12 Scotch Whiskey – blended and finished with Nolen molasses, orange and Angostura bitters. This drink emerges as a citrusy, full bodied and tart drink.
Old Fashioned Ampm | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
In contrast, the Italian Summer Cocktail is popular among patrons. A precursor to the Negroni and Aperol Spritz, this drink has been given a modern touch by adding bright red berries and red Campari. While the flavors seem to cancel each other out, the drink has a fruity freshness.
Yakitori Chicken Wings
Swaying to the live music, patrons are resorting to tapas and cocktails rather than elaborate main courses. The most popular appetizers include the avocado chickpea chaat, yakitori chicken wings, Chengdu style lamb grill and – giving a nod to the south – kothu parotta.
The menu also includes Neapolitan-style pizzas: try the experimental boti kebab pizza, water chestnut and bok choy. For dessert, the Nolen Molasses Cheesecake tops the list with its delicately sweet, molasses-rich flavor.
nolen molasses cheese cake | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
Avocado Chickpea Chat
Within weeks of its opening, the cocktail and coffee experience is attracting crowds of music and food lovers. If you missed out on the drama and glamor of Park Street in the 90s, then AMPM, set in more than a century old Park Centre, is your chance to get a glimpse of what it used to be.
Cost for two with alcoholic beverages is ₹3,000. It is open from 12 noon till midnight. AM PM is located at Park Centre, 24 Park Street, Kolkata, West Bengal 700071, for reservation call 097177 80492.