Chennai’s newest hotspot with a vintage grunge feel and delicious drinks – Radio Room
A vintage grunge feel hits you as you walk into the eclectic environs of Chennai’s newest hotspot – the Radio Room. Located in MRC Nagar, this stylish neighbourhood resto-bar is co-owned by five of well-known names in the city’s social circuit, Muthu Venkatachalam, Riaz Ansari, Arun Prasad, Rakesh Gowthaman and Sandesh Reddy. And they’re luring in the junta with their quirky menu, distinctive interiors and novel price-points. RITZ spends an evening checking out the place, in an effort to keep pace with the new pulse point of Chennai.
You’re embraced by an air of familiarity, as you walk in the doors of the Radio Room. Maybe it’s because you’re mesmerised by Michael Jackson’s eyes that stare back at you from the bright yellow wall that you’re walking towards. It could also be the wire artwork of Jimi Hendrix that catches your eye. Or wait, could it be the radio microphones that have been converted to light fixtures that have your attention? Or the DJ console that’s made up of radios and stereos and painted white?
It’s the entire effect of the Radio Room – vintage, epoch-making, retro, old-world, classic – that grabs you by the eyeballs as you walk in. And once your visual senses have stabilized, it’s the turn of your auditory senses to go into overload. “We primarily have a lot of retro, old school and classic music playing here. There are two in-house DJs and also a focus on live bands performing here,” says city restaurateur Sandesh Reddy, co-owner of the resto-bar. For those who dig The Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, you’re in the right place. And if those tunes are bombarding you with waves of memories, then clear your head with the freshness of Charlie Puth, Mike Posner, Sia and Avici as they fight for auditory rights every now and then.
Co-owner Muthu Venkatachalam explains their ideology behind planning and designing the space. “We want Radio Room to be about where you’re been seen – the dress code is casual. You can walk in wearing shorts and flip-flops. It’s a place where you can chill and be yourself. There’s no need to keep your guard up when you’re here.” Hence the emphasis on decor and music. “We bought about 90 radios, speakers and transistors making one shop keeper in Moore Market very happy! We then fitted them to make a bar counter as well as a DJ console and spray painted them white. All the art here is well thought out, some of which we plan to change every now and then,” he explains as he shows us around the elaborate decor.
“The wire art form of Jimi Hendrix was created by a group of chartered accountants with a passion for art – they worked after hours between 9 pm and 2 am daily to get this done!” Muthu also points out, “We have the coordinates of the bar written on the wall right next to the Jimmy Hendrix piece.” The art behind the bar counter – a poster collage of famous bands like Pink Floyd and Queen – made with duct tape and a canvas is a great tribute to the fabulous album art of the creating absolute effect, was custom-made by an artist in Bengaluru, he explains.
The menu is elaborate and the cocktail list alone boasts of some 30-odd signature creations which will be rotated ten at a time. They’re also one of the few places to boast of a list of dessert cocktails with ingredients like Milo and Nutella sharing glass space with tiramisu and filter coffee. With a menu of drinks that are inclusive of all taxes Muthu says, “We have calculated all the drink prices inclusive of taxes so you pay exactly what is on the menu.” The food selection caters equally to vegetarian and non-vegetarian patrons, serving predominantly global cuisine. They also plan to start elaborate Sunday brunches where they involve the local community, thereby bringing in varied flavours to the spread. “We would like to involve local bakers in our Sunday brunch plans which would keep changing every week,” Muthu says.
The intelligently curated menu, fabulous interiors, superb music and ever-evolving ambience should be hint enough for you to alter whatever weekend plans you have laid out and include a stop at the Radio Room stat!
Radio Room is at Thandavarayan Street, MRC Nagar, Raja Annamalai Puram, Chennai. Call +91 44 8500005672.
While at Radio Room, drink as the owners do! Their personal favourites are Morning Dew and Bacon-Washed Bourbon.