While the police are doing their best to avoid clubs from illegally extending the opening hours limit, certain clubs operate smoothly by downing shutters but operating with absolute disregard indoors. Patrons have also figured out their pub-hopping routine based on which clubs breaks the rules and allows them to stretch the party beyond the prescribed time.
The police department has brought down the crime rate at nights in Chennai city limits and has come down heavily on drunken driving, but with some clubs finding ways to hoodwink the cops, the party still seems to be well and truly on. Once upon a time popular, but now fading nightclub scene in T Nagar, known for many underage patrons entering, is said to have said, "The local cops also come here for food, they won't trouble us if we down the shutters and continue to party inside."
Similarly, a club in Anna Nagar is said to be open way past midnight and tells their customers, "This is last order but order as much as you want, so you can tell visiting cops that you will finish the food and leave." While these excuses may not cut ice with senior cops, there are junior police officials who go to inspect who seem to allow this.
R Sudhakar, Joint Commissioner of police, traffic, says, "We take firm action against anyone violating the rules because public safety is most important and our Commissioner is very clear that we must have a zero tolerance policy towards anybody breaking the law. We want Chennai to have a healthy nightlife but within the prescribed limit that doesn't go against any law. Our job is safety of citizens and establishments too"
A bouncer company hired by one of Chennai's nightspot has standing instructions that if junior cops try to come for checking, they should be served food and alcohol and to usher them into vip areas where the manager can 'handle' them.
The bouncer on duty however refused to divulge information on how often the club remains open post the 11:30 deadline.
"Properties that are generally supposed to close by 11:30 are moreover resto-bars and not nightclubs. The whole idea is to be able to get a drink, some food and enjoy conversations with the people you're out with, all of which, except the getting a drink part, can't be done at a nightclub. Being someone who's a regular customer to nightclubs and resto-bars, I feel quite fortunate that most resto-bars do go out of their way to extend time", says DJ Tarun Andrew Philip.