Delhi resident Meenakshi Singh, a former student of hotel management, had always been interested in bartending and mixology. And it had been her dream to one day own a bar. Today, her dream is not just a reality, but her bar – Sidecar – has been listed as one of the world’s 100 best bars. The only bar from India to make the cut.
Singh started Sidecar in 2018 with her mentor, veteran mixologist, and business partner Yangdup Lama. The bar was listed as no. 94 on the international list.
While the listing itself is yet another feather in the cap of Sidecar, the popular South Delhi watering hole that has won several domestic awards as the best bar in India, the fact that an Indian bar run by a woman has made it to the top 100 of the world is remarkable in itself.
Because just ten a couple of decades ago, women in India were not allowed to bartend to serve liquor. The colonial-era law was first abolished in 2007, giving states the right to decide and legislate on the matter.
While Singh had been working with international liquor brands like Diageo and Pernod Ricard, it was only after 2010 when Delhi abolished the law against women bartending.
That was when Singh teamed up with Lama to establish Speakeasy, a bar in Gurugram. And by 2018, she had started Sidecar. Today, the bar is one of the most reputed bars in India, with its eclectic menu of fusion cocktails drinks. The establishment is also eco-friendly. The duo grows their own tinctures, bitters, and syrups.
With the bar scene in India changing, more and more women are now turning to bartending and the hospitality industry. As more states change laws against women serving liquor, more women can be expected to join the lucrative industry.