Pubs and bars are now opening their doors to startups and individual artists who can get their laptops at 9 in the morning and enjoy office-like facilities.
When it is office time, they head to the pub – where coffee mugs replace beer mugs, soft blues take over rock and fingers dance on laptops instead of uninhibited legs on dance floors.
Welcome to the new-age pubs and bars that suit themselves up as co-working offices in the morning to remain profitable. They are now opening their doors to startups and individual artists who can get their laptops at 9 in the morning and enjoy office-like facilities, sans the conventionalities of office, till sundown on weekdays.
At 9.30 am on Monday, push open the doors of Office Office, a pub in Connaught Place (CP). Blues music wafts in the air that was pullulating with Punjabi rap the night before, men sit with Zen-like composure staring at their laptops on the table that most probably hosted a boisterous gang drowning out office worries in beer jars.
A few workers huddle around tables solely for their office work. There is WIFI with speed 16 mbps, free printing and stationary, and unlimited tea/coffee for a monthly package deal of Rs 5,500.
“The theme of Office Office has to do with the corporate culture. Coders, film writers, content writers, gamers, startups- all are welcome here,” said Virat Chhabra, the Brand and Marketing Manager at Office Office.
“However, there is a selection process. On one particular table, we don’t seat two workers of the same profession. The idea is to promote networking, that’s how any co working space would flourish.”
“It’s a perfect way to network with artists and workers coming from different walks of life and ultimately, gives an additional advantage to the pub when a word of mouth gets them more customers.
Among the morning crowd, there were travel agents and start-up entrepreneurs who find it unviable to rent out an office space.
Renting an office space in CP on an average costs around Rs 27,000 per square meter. This does not include the added expenses. So, startups prefer the cost-effective and millennium friendly pubs-cum-office spaces that help them save money.
This efficient trend perhaps, couldn’t have been possible if not for myHQ, a startup that curates spaces inside beautifully designed cafes, restaurants, offices and convert them into hassle-free work zones where people can work, meet and network seamlessly. A coworker just takes a myHQ subscription which gives him/her access to all our spaces equipped with the work facilities. They currently have a strong community of 300+ coworkers across 12 spaces in Delhi-NCR.
Office Office and Cafe Qahwa have outsourced all their co working management to them.
“Having an office space of my own requires real estate cost, certain legalities, security deposit to landlord, regular maintenance, infrastructure and what not. Especially in an area around CP, the cost gets much high,” said a customer who was running a start-up.
“Comparing that with Rs 5,500 per person we spend here, why would anyone want to spend more on conventional office spaces,” he asked.
But they said that it is not a ‘normal situation but a viable option for a startup with a few people working for it.
“Of course, if and when my team grows and revenue becomes self sustainable, we would prefer working in an office space,” he said.
The pub owners say the model profits the business by a large margin.
Social, another pub-cum-office space in Hauz Khas, has allotted a separate compartment big enough to accommodate 40-50 people, solely for office workers.
For Rs 5,000 per month, they give a membership card which will give them access to all outlets of Social in Delhi. Not just that, the amount can be redeemable on food and drinks too, which, the workers feel is a ‘darn good deal’.
Instead of shelling out at least Rs 60,000 – 70,000 every month on an office space or a coffee worth Rs 300 every day at Starbucks, young entrepreneurs, artists, startups and freelancers look forward to this trend of pub-cum- workspaces but as one of the members said, “I’d still prefer having meetings with my clients at Lodhi.”
Not to be left behind are regular cafes.
Tea Trails café at CP and Qahwa Dinercafe at Safdurjung Development Area (S.D.A) are also a co-working space. Providing members with more or less the same facilities as the rest of the pubs cum work spaces, the cafes enjoy additional profit and consumer gratification.
Sitting at the Trails café, an employee of a travel agency said it was the best choice for day-to-day work. “We don’t even have to cook lunch every morning. We get a credit of Rs 5,000 towards food and beverage.”