CW Interiors |
Main Course | August 2016

Its play time!

Playboy Beer Garden restaurant in Pune, is one of the 120 formats that includes cafes, pubs, clubs and beer gardens, licensed by the Playboy Enterprises Inc, USA to its Indian partner. A design dekko.

Playboy Beer Garden, Pune is the first beer garden in India, spread over a mammoth 8,000 sq feet and encompassing seating space that is both indoors and outdoors. Set in the hip environs of Balewadi High Street, the beer garden is one of the 120 formats that PB Lifestyles will be planning and executing in the next few years. PB Lifestyles is the official franchise of Playboy Enterprises Inc, USA and has the exclusive license to launch clubs, cafes, lounges, pubs, beer gardens, hotels and even merchandise in India. Playboy Beer Garden, Pune, is the third format opened in India, the other two being clubs opened in Hyderabad and Goa. In the offing are a club in Mumbai and another beer garden in Bengaluru.

Designing a restaurant and that too a new concept like a beer garden, that has a super valued pedigreed lineage, was a formidable task. Integrating the indoor and outdoor with a seamless look and yet maintaining and highlighting the differences was a challenge. Saheba Singh of This Is It Designs, the designer chosen by PB Lifestyles, had both experience and a team of young architects who could execute the design plan set by her.

Says Saheba, ´The brief given to me was that it was meant as a beer garden and had to resemble one. It had to look and feel glamorous but also retain an organic look. It was a challenging job. Incorporating all the norms set by the developer for instance was an important aspect of the design. All of it had to be taken into account to while designing the space´

The Indoors
The inside of the Playboy Beer Garden is essentially a large square area. As you enter, to the left is the bar stretching from one end of the wall to the other. Across the room to the right, again stretching from one end of the wall to the other is a slightly raised platform, with deep plush sofas. Flanking this area on the wall behind are a number of framed pictures - vintage and original Playboy images - including one of the founder Hugh Marathon Hefner. The colour pallette used inside the restaurant is earthy in keeping with the theme.

The highlight of the Playboy Beer Garden is the brewery that is set up behind the bar and a glass shield. Beer that is brewed in batches. With four tanks to be set up--three of which are currently active brewing two wheat flavours and one fruit-the design also had to earmark not just space for the tanks but also etch out a design plan that would ensure the smooth flow of the beer through pipes that would open up as taps at the beer counter.

´The setting up of the tanks and brewery again was quite challenging. The USP of the beer garden was the beer that it brewed so the brewery had to be visible from the entire restaurant. A lot of technical things had to be taken into account such as the load on the slab, drainage etc. We had to plan all of that with the brewery consultant.´ The final result is quite awesome. Huge tanks set up behind the massive beer bar, resplendent in their gold washed attire.

The central pit of the restaurant has a number of sweaters. But it also has a rocking DJ console and as Director of the company Reza Malik says ´On weekends we get special DJs to perform live. That's when the place is cleared up for some dancing´

The Outdoors
If the indoors of Playboy Beer Garden is spacious yet has large private and VIP seating along with cosy table-for-two seating next to the floor-length glass walls overlooking the outside, it is the brilliance of the whites used for the outdoors and the large seating arrangements made, that frankly just takes your breath away.

Ideal for large and yet intimate house parties there are seating arrangements created like a living room with plush and comfortable sofas. So can one be private in a public space? Yes. The sheers that are ringed through rods fitted at a height and held together in bunches ensure, with the glamour quotient intact.

The outdoor of Playboy Beer Garden has more than one of these seating arrangements. But like the indoors, there are placings for intimate twos or friendly fours. According to Singh, ´The inspiration behind the outdoor look is that we wanted it to look like a lush green beer garden and yet take forward the glamorous element that Playboy stands for. Both were then incorporated into the design.´

If the vastness of the restaurant both inside and outside is impressive with the sharpness of layout plan and design, the kitchen is fascinating with its compactness that doesn´t allow too much room for mobility and yet is so well planned and compartmentalised. There is a special BOH (Back of the house) consultant, a hospitality expert who is the last word on the space needed for the kitchen and storage. Agrees Singh, ´The BOH consultant gives us the size that is needed for the kitchen and then we work on our space thereafter.´

The Playboy Bunny
The legendary Playboy bunny... or waitresses wearing sexy, provocative clothing with bunny ears will be missing here. In person. But the Playboy Bunny is well ensconced into the design landscape. A really big PB made out of cut mirror glass mosaic sits happily on the wall behind the DJ console. And it´s smaller versions appear everywhere on doorknobs, menu cards, table inlays, etc.

Urban Chic
Urban chic. Perhaps that's the best way to describe Playboy Beer Garden, Pune. When Hugh Marston launched the first Playboy magazine in 1953 with Marilyn Monroe on the cover, little had he realised that one day, Puneites would be enjoying one of his business avatars.


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