Portuguese era taverns dying a slow death in Goa

By: | Published: January 28, 2016 1:10 PM

Traditional taverns belonging to the Portuguese era are fighting a losing battle against the onslaught of modern bar and restaurants in Goa.

Traditional taverns belonging to the Portuguese era are fighting a losing battle against the onslaught of modern bar and restaurants in Goa.

Figures from State Excise department show that now only 160 taverns are left in Goa and their number is dwindling with every passing year.

Taverns are traditional liquor outlet exclusively selling country liquor like Feni and were highlights of the village or city nightlife till the 80s in Goa.

“It was in 1984 that the then state government opened up opportunities for taverns to be converted into Bar and Restaurant. They needed to have toilets and facilities to serve Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL),” said State Excise Commissioner Menino D’Souza.

What happened after that was a mad rush to convert taverns into Bars and Restaurants encashing on the requirement of customers who wanted their daily dose of liquor in a better place.

D’Souza said even if people take fresh licences for taverns, they won’t survive.

“Taverns were usually serving only country liquor. There used to be a small window where you can shop for your drink and then drink it sitting on a bench. There were no chairs or desks,” says Mahendra Alvares, a heritage activist who showcases Goa’s past through his venture “Big Foot” located at Loutolim village, 40 kms away from here.

Alvares relates the steady reduction of taverns to customers’ taste for IMFL.

“The consumption of country liquor went down and people started preferring IMFL…that is where demand for Taverns also saw a decline,” he said.

Alvares, who has set up a model of tavern at his Big Foot exhibition venture, says the mud houses where taverns were located have also become crumbling structures or they have been replaced with concrete structures leaving no room for these Portuguese-era liquor outlets.

But the scene is not still not that gloomy for taverns.

Greg Fernandes, a musician by profession, is one of those who has retained the tavern tradition.

“My father had this Tavern from Portuguese time. Since then business is going on. You can’t say its in loses but its not rosy as it was in the past,” says Greg, who is known for his “One Man Band” which plays for family and social events.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE and NSE and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Switch to Hindi Edition