Ask anyone in Delhi and they will tell you how much they love The Piano Man, a one-of-a-kind club that hosts live performances whilst serving delicious food. Thanks to its popularity and positive response TPM recently opened up a second club in Gurugram. We caught up with it’s founder, Arjun Sagar, on what’s next for The Piano Man, among other things. By Amitha Ameen
1. You’ve lived in Boston. What were your favourite spots in the city?
It was a short stay — two months to be precise. But, I had two rituals.
First, every day, I would spend about 15-20 mins at the Rayburn Store (a short walk from Boston Commons) staring at trumpets, trying to decide which one to buy. I loved that time, and eventually bought a beautiful Yamaha Xeno YTR 8335G horn.
Second, on most nights, Marcelo, a fabulous Brazilian pianist, and I walked to NYC pie (on the Columbus avenue side of the Mass Ave – Columbus Ave crossing) and chomped down giant 16″ pizzas and then walked around the corner to Wallys for a drink and some music!
2. We read somewhere that an art cafe in Bhutan inspired you to dive into F&B? What’s your favorite thing about Bhutan?
I entered the F&B industry because of the Art Cafe in Thimpu. The owners, who are dear friends, were also our partners in the bakery that we launched in 2010. Bhutan is a stunning country. I have dozens of fun little stories about the things I love about Bhutan — from their archery and darts competitions (whilst significantly inebriated) to incredible beauty of nature, culture and architecture… There is something to be said about the experience of sitting in a tiny room surrounded by chanting monks!
3. What prompted you to serve Eurasian cuisine at a Jazz club?
Our menu has gone through much iteration of development and evolution. We’ve tried to focus on solid flavour profiles… nothing generic. The first few drafts of our menu were an attempt at European and Pan Asian fusion, along with some re-imagined American classics as appetisers. Today, we’ve incorporated a much wider range of flavours from around the world, picking and choosing specific things that we love to serve and that complement the overall experience at TPM. Our unique environment presents a unique challenge for ace chef, Manoj Pandey, and the man is a wizard!
4. What is your favorite drink at Piano Man?
Our most recognised face at the club, Deepak, drummed up an insane cocktail a while ago, and it stays at the top of my personal list, DJs Cliffhangar.
5. What is that one place you keep going back to?
Outside of spending almost all my time at the club, my favorite haunts in the city are Hoots for a late night drink, Mahabelly for some delish food, Aku’s for some banging burgers, and any Escape Room I haven’t yet done.
6. What’s next for Piano Man Jazz Club?
We’re rooting our feet on solid ground, only five months into the new club. Once we feel things are stable, we intend to take the TPM experience around the country, details to follow!
7. We know from your Instagram profile that you have been to New Jersey. What sights would you recommend to a first-timer visiting the city?
New Jersey was a trip to visit family, I did my exploring in New York, Chicago, New Orleans and Fort Lauderdale!
8. If you had a free day to explore Delhi, which spots would you hit up?
Already mentioned above, and anything my extremely patient girlfriend would like to do as I don’t take much time off.
9. If you had to choose anywhere in the world to live expect Delhi, where would it be and why?
I haven’t travelled the world enough to know where. Ideally, I’d like a base somewhere, anywhere, and then travel the hell out of this tiny little globe we live on. I’ve spent most of this decade stationary, I intend to spend a lot of time in the next travelling, immediate destinations include Egypt, Turkey, Japan, and all over Latin America… I cant wait to get to Cuba!
10. What’s your take on conscious travel?
Haven’t thought or researched the topic sufficiently. Is it necessary? Of course, but I’m not aware on whether it is equally efficient and cost effective to plan highly sustainable trips as opposed to a high footprint trip.
11. What does an ideal vacation look like to you?
A little bit of rest, a little bit of work (to feel less guilty about taking a holiday), crazy immersion into local food and culture, no guided tours and as much activity as I can fit into a day. I’m not fit, but I like to be on my feet and explore places… I use Google quite a bit for orientation (not just spacial) and it’s often led me to insane bars, fabulous concerts and some deliciously random fun.
Related: A Music Lover’s Guide To Istanbul