Coffee at midnight?

Coffeehouses across the globe tend to shut up shop late in the evening/early night; the demand for caffeine is inversely proportional to the nearness to bedtime. But Karachites seem to buck the trend: I’ve noticed that Costa on Zamzama fills up around midnight.

I regard it as a caffeinated protest – Karachites with disposable income are crying out for a night life. Perhaps one day ordinary Pakistanis will be able to enjoy a night out like our political masters. It reminds me of the Fifth Commandment in Animal Farm: ‘No animal shall drink alcohol’ eventually became ‘No animal shall drink alcohol to excess‘.

31 Comments so far

  1. anon-again (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 4:08 am

    well, what you might also consider is other “entertainment” activities… such as maybe some possible places for ordinary ppl to indulge in sports, greater encouragement for local theater performances, museums that have been spruced up a little and are more in number besides just bars/ pubs. We could probably do without drunk driving given the dismal state of the enforcement (or lack thereof) of traffic rules/ laws with the more “powerful” ruling the roost and underage driving being the norm.

  2. verysmart (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 4:10 am

    I really believe that there is a concept of a nightlife without alcohol. Lahories have shown the way in past through their late dinners and Ratt-Jagaas with friends.

    Like in Mumbai, the familymen enjoy till late with their families on a dinner-movie-icecream nightouts.

    I believe alcohol has tremendously negative effects with respect to social, economical and for physical and mental health terms.

    My appartment (in cardiff) is in the path of a night club, and usually I hear heavy knocking around 3 am, only to find a drunk lady showered in her own puke at the door asking for her own address, or at times some lad who is accusing that we have abducted his girlfriend!

    I hope and pray not to witness this on a Karachi street ever.

    Anyways, beware the barrage of angry mullah posts :) heheehhe

  3. kidal (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 6:34 am

    Cy, you can try all you want to make alcohol socially acceptable. But it will take a little more than posting a lame message on this blog!

    Karachiites are NOT crying out for the kind of nightlife you are suggesting. Karachiites actually love the numerous options they already have available, thank you.

    I dont see any privilege in losing one’s mental capacity and acting like an ass. People who suggest that drinking is ok in moderation are deceiving themselves. It is a very slippery slope. Just ask Robin Williams who has just checked himself into rehab. Why take the chance?

    Please feel free to ignore my comment if you don’t agree with it.

  4. kidal (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 6:38 am

    Verysmart, it doesn’t take a mullah to see the absurdity of Cy’s post.

  5. Original-Anon (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 6:58 am

    Verysmart, I hate to disabuse you of the notion that there is no alcohol involved in Lahore’s all nighters and dinner parties – I’m afraid there is plenty of it and plenty of easily obtained drugs as well; do read the recent post in the Lahore Blog about drugs. I have seen more alcohol being consumed in Pakistan than I have ever seen in the USA.
    CY, there is hardly any caffiene in the coffee one finds in Pakistan.I have tried several coffee shops and there is merely a hint of coffee in their drinks. That may be why they do such good business in the eveings and late at night.

  6. Adnan Mansoor (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 8:37 am

    I second KIDAL’s comment about CY absurd view point about the nightlife idea in Kaarchi. The socio-economic condition of Karachi has shaped up the pattern fro Karachiites, which is rather a ulterior part of a mega city.

    The effect of this phenomenon is very much to feel in a life of ordinary Karachiite! The tense life and social pressures have pushed them into a nightlife regime.

    CY, you seem to be running out of idea, and have shown too much of cynism for Karachi and its people! Take a moment to brood over.

  7. SWA (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 9:25 am

    Two years ago, I was crossing the street at night, and the light turned green when I was a third of the way across the road. This car coming to the light didnt see me there, but saw the light turn green and sped up. It hit me forcefully on my right leg and ruptured my knee tendons (ACL). The driver was a drunk guy. I had to undergo reconstructive surgery for my knee, and six months of physical therapy before I could be without crutches again. It took me about a year and a half of recovery before I could go running again.

    No. I am very glad Pakistan is an alcohol free society. I hope it remains so until at least every single person has been educated and most of our domestic social evils have been cured.

    Karachi is a wonderful city. Keep it a wonderful city without the alcohol.

  8. MB (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 9:47 am

    “NIGHT LIFE” What bullshit is this. Hey are we taking about the 5 percent of our land that we keep on talking about. An ordinary man has no night life. And for technical reasons being that it’s a night it all goes counting his money in rupees, counting his kids and lying on bed worrying about the next day meal. What the hell is a night life for him?

    As for the 5 percent, they can go on having every type of night they want to. Its their right. Its absolute making-ourselves-fool when we talk about them not going for drinks. Most of them do. You agree or not. And for SWA’s information most of them are “EDUCATED” and “WELL KNOWN” in society and “ELITES” of our land. Stop fooling others. Most of the people I know personally are all well and highly educated and are “good names” of our land of lies.

    And mullah? Hey they better stick to their asses. That’s the best thing that they will do. When ever they touched a topic they messed it all. You go to Clifton & Defense (in particular) & you will find it plenty and hey a SC Court judge even is doing business & he lives near Sindh Secretariat. Want more, the advertisers of “We are clean Paki Muslims”? Such is the situation of state of affairs in this city and you guys are acting as if we are yet to be polluted completely agree with ANON-AGAIN when he says “I have seen more alcohol being consumed in Pakistan than I have ever seen in the USA”.

    Night life, unfortunately, in this city is basically a way of wasting/spending money for those who think hey its coming too much or you want others to know you have it.

  9. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 10:07 am

    @Cy:once you claimed that you spent your early life in Nazimabad.Would you like to share the difficulty you faced to get your *stuff* in that particular region.Being an old nazimabadi I know that it requires struggle to get stuff continously.

    @VerySmart:opposing wine is *mullahism*??.Thats what you learnt at home??Idiot!

    @Original-Anon :Yep one should read mohsin’s “The moth smoke” to get a clear idea of the society.I wish some Mohsin Hamid of Karachi write similar stuff to expose the spoilt society of this city.

    Cy:My humble request,please go backto Oxford,I will be very greatful to you.We Karachiites can’t afford a local “Tarek fatah” or “Farhat Hashmi” at all.

  10. MB (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 10:13 am

    Hi Adnan, Welcome back dear. All i can is “You are again 100 percent right”. Cannot agree with you more dear.

  11. SWA (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 10:30 am

    As far as the coffee shops filling up at night, Karachiites are social animals. And the young ones are pretty competitive too. Especially the ones in Cambridge schools. I personally spent many a nights studying with friends in some good places outside, and I think coffee shops should be natural venues for such socializing.
    Here in the United States, most of the college students go to coffee shops at night with their books to study, and these coffee shops remain open throughout the night. I am glad about the coffee shop culture taking root again like it used to be in the early days of Karachi. Most of our best poets and literatti were products of the numerous cafes and coffee shops that used to dot Karachi everywhere during its early days.

    So Coffee shops are good, alcohol serving bars and places you can go to inebriate yourself shi+less are BAD. SAY YES TO PROHIBITION OF ALCOHOL, and SAY YES TO COFFEE SHOP CULTURE!

  12. MB (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 10:32 am

    Thats more like it buddy. “SAY YES TO COFFEE SHOP CULTURE! “. YES YES YES YES

  13. Mariam (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 10:37 am

    This is Metroblogging Karachi. Why it has to belong to one religion only? Let him be himself. He is an equal citizen of this country and city too. Our Quaid created this Pakistan for all minorities . When one can come and live in the West which is predominantly Christian and treated equally then how come we can’t do the same for our minorities?

    As for Alchol, its readily available to all who got the money and able to party privately :D. Mullhas can’t do anything about it. Wait I’ve seen few Mullhas too at these parties.

  14. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 11:14 am

    This is Metroblogging Karachi.

    Yes I also ask this.Why do I find posts about only musical events only?why not something else?
    why do authors just post about cultural activities only?

    Why it has to belong to one religion only?

    Miriam as usual you dont understand others *sigh*.Who’s talking about a *religion*?

    I already told you that I would provide as much alohol as you want when you come here.Why r so upset??

    @MB:None of us here post to get agreed with other.You should be wellaware of this MB culture.

    Wait I’ve seen few Mullhas too at these parties.

    Then technically they are not Mullahas.If some policeman start stealing stuff from our homes then he will be a called a theif rather a police.Be sensible please?

  15. verysmart (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 11:47 am

    Looks like MB is high on something… cool down mate.

    What I wanted to say, is that some people will be more than just “fuming” reading this post. (and you are the perfect example), you just demonstrated the pure Mullah thinking; BURN EVERTHING AS SOON AS YOU HEAR SOMETHING WHICH YOU DONT APPROAVE OF, calm down.

    Night life, if done correctly, is not at all a bad idea, and it helps the economy on a very vast level.

    I think we have established quite clearly in my post that I dont approave of drinking! so who’s the idiot in that case? hmmm…

  16. Adnan (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 12:32 pm

    you were declared an idiot for your ignorance about Mullah community not about Alcohol and your last post proved again that I dont have to take my words back.

  17. Erum (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 1:23 pm

    “Coffeehouses across the globe tend to shut up shop late in the evening/early night”
    I disagree. Coffeehouses across the globe do not close early, they’re usually open till late night (1.00am plus). Of course the timing varies as per location, the more central and busier ones close pretty late (even till 3.00am). They might not serve coffee after 1am or so, but you can sit there till the place gets closed! I dont understand what’s wrong with going to coffeehouses late at night? It’s a great place to talk, read or write with a cup of coffee on a cozy couch! or even do surfing or blogging! Last night I was watching a program on Discovery travel, called ‘Black Coffee’ and got to know that coffee was first cultivated in Ethiopia and was traded by Arabs. Later the coffeehouses were banned in Mecca and Egypt as people used to discuss political/social issues and share opinions. Thus, the governor got threatened and banned the coffeehouses. I personally feel it’s a great place to spur your thought process and for discussions.
    I think it’d take sometime for Karachi to develop a coffeehouse culture. It’s still considered ‘high class’ to go to a coffee shop as they are pretty highly priced (comparing with the average purchasing power of the city). Majority of the people are having a tough time meeting both ends, thus coffee or no coffee makes no difference to the common man.

    just my 2 cents.

  18. mansoor (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 1:54 pm

    mariam: well said!! i totally back you on this

    cy: another good *thought provoking* post! Ppl.. just like in the newspaper post, most of you said its better to take off your rosy glasses and see whats happening in the city. I say, apply that here as well.

  19. kidal (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 1:56 pm

    Erum’s 2 cents are worth more. I agree, many coffee shops (at least in Canada) are open till late night. Many, especially the one’s near universities, are 24-hour joints.

    An interesting point you made about coffee shops and politics. In Egypt, the famous cafe El-Fishawi is where the socialist revolutionaries gathered and plotted the overthrow of the Egyptian kingdom in the early 20th century.

  20. iblees (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 2:43 pm

    Totally agree with Erum, abroad coffee places are just coffee places (well, except amsterdam!)

    On a different note, regarding alcohol and coffee, always get coffee first, never after you get wasted. ;-)

  21. Fakhr (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 3:54 pm

    Well why it always feel that enjoying life is prohibited in Islam?
    I mean this is what mullah scrrm on us. i mean i have seen people who are affraid to be happy, they belive they should not have too much fun!

    I am not in favour of alcohol and the reviews on this post is just a mear representation that people here are afraid to go out and enjoy night life!

  22. Bloody marry (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 6:01 pm

    In my opinion alcohol is taxed way too high for too long in Pakistan. It should be exempt from taxation so it could be within the reach of middle class and subsidize for the poor. Life is stressful as it is. We need more choices to wind down and relax to take our minds of off bad governance.

  23. Erum (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 8:23 pm

    Kidal – Exactly! you got my point. Its interesting to note that coffee has some important historical events attached to it.

  24. SWA (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 8:27 pm

    There are better alternatives for relaxing than just using alcohol. Alcohol comes with the luggage of social evils. People who drink tend to be more violent, less respectful, less responsible, and more prone to depression. I hope the government retains its stringent controls on alcohol for at least another ten to fifteen years.

    I will say it again and keep saying it over and over. I dont think our society is ready for the vices that come along with the consumption of alcohol.

  25. mohsin (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 8:27 pm

    Islam never prohibits to enjoy life but its actually the balance between the real life and after life, and actually to maintain this balance is the hardest thing to do.

    @Bloody Marry
    there are a lot of other ways to relax, but u’ll not understand coz u can’t taste the spirtual pleasure which is the best way to avoid stress

  26. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on August 11th, 2006 @ 2:29 am

    @Mohsin:A good reply to shutup everyone who is supporting Alcohol to getrid of all *problems*.

  27. yo yo (unregistered) on August 11th, 2006 @ 6:58 am

    JACK DANIELS…exclusively imported and now in Karachi….will be delivered by a seasoned MULLAH…ANYONE FREE BOTTLES???…CY you…ohh come on mate

  28. Mariam (unregistered) on August 11th, 2006 @ 9:15 am

    I guess I should clarify this, by Mullhas I meant

    a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, esp. a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.


    a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, esp. one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.

    or they could be officially called Hypocrites.

  29. Umer Zaman (unregistered) on August 11th, 2006 @ 9:49 am

    LOL !!!
    damnnnnnnnnnn u ppl sure are a bunch of angry ppl ..

    What CY say.. the poor soul did not see it coming..
    its a free world, atleast we all (maybe) have freedom of expression (atleast here)

    btw: who said alcohol is not socially acceptable in this city/country.. come on, we all know where we stand..
    every couple of days you hear about someone dieing on the road cause someone smashed him and if caught had some alcohol content in his blood.. my own cousin died this way on saba avenue.. some drunk driver hit him
    even about the poor, didnt you hear about the guys dieing of “SPIRIT” or watever that was.. in the local words i think its “kooppi”, do you think ppl who died were the only ones drinking it.. its been there for ages and ppl have been having it ever since..

    Which khi are you guys living in, theres a wine shop in every other corner of the city.. and there are always cars parked outside buying alcohol.. what do you think, they take it home and drain it so that innocent ppl dont drink it..

    my bootlegger drives a brand new honda civic, where did that money come from.. ppl buy stuff and ppl drink it.. in this city

    Btw: I am not supporting alcohol here at all.. =D
    its a badddddddd baddd thing

  30. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on August 11th, 2006 @ 9:53 am

    Mariam who cares and believs how do you define a *mullah*.I dont know which cult you belong but I believe that christians and jews would be far better and respectable in my sight than loony so called muslims who offend their own religious scholar.

    I have hardly seen that a pope/priest and Rabbi is publicily offended by respective followers.such muslims are way lower than those christians and jews.

    -Do you refute that you never showed hypocricy in this metroblog forum?

  31. Anathema (unregistered) on August 11th, 2006 @ 4:01 pm

    first of all: 5he reason coffeehouses do so well is becuz if nothing else, ure not hoggin away. ure sitting and chilling ina s subdued enviornment drinking stuff which wont exactly numb your senses for a while.

    chatting and gossiping over coffee is fun. and for the “elite” part, someone already mentioned teh coffee is slightly steep for those with not as much purchasing power.

    as for nightlife culture: if u notice the lot that goes to coffee is aged post 18 or so. that is university or office going world. most of us office people leave office around 6 or 7. freshen up. and then go for coffee. the only time people getto themselves is late night.

    so its not a scream for “nightlife” per se. its a scream to just unwind after a tough working day. to relax. and since some head there after work and a nap. they dine and coffee together.

    as for the nightlifers: theyve been doing it since the 60s and 70s. it hasnt stopped. thoe who want a night life, have an active one. those who dont enjoy a quieter “nightlife” called coffee houses. no formal dining. just sipping and chatting. and meeting up.

    as for drinking: enlightened moderation or not. its not for us to judge. as someone mentioned in a post a loooonggg time ago: “wake up and smell the fornication”.
    its none of our business. its between them and God. and whoever wants to party however they want, if theyre not causing anyone any harm:L who are we to judge?

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