bluefrog

Everybody is going crazy about Mumbai’s Blue Frog, opened earlier this year. It’s a 1,000-square-meter complex that includes a club, restaurant, lounge, sound stage, recording studio and sound lab, all encased within the massive walls of an old warehouse in Mumbai’s mill district. The Blue Frog Club interior may remind you of those delirious nights at the end-of-summer Exhibition with its midway games, roller coasters and dizzy-making rides. Or you may suddenly start channeling Queen Amidala, addressing the StarWarsian Senate from her floating pod. Luckily, Blue Frog does its dizzying job in a way that is totally stylish – not a tacky thing or overdone costume in sight. And everyone’s table is definitely on level ground, although it does not appear so first.

The equilibrium-challenging effect is achieved by the clever surround-millwork that uses a circle as its main form. The mahogany-paneled millwork circles each round table, forming circular booths or pods in somewhat varying shapes at various levels, guaranteeing great sightlines for all. Not wanting to compete with the lighting or other embellishments of the stage acts, the interior is dark except for the top surface of the booths.

The glowing back-lit resin surfaces tie the seating area together even when a stage show is on, and make it a bit easier to gain one’s bearings in the otherwise dark space. Like seating in a Roman amphitheatre, the pods circle and rise from a stage area that can also double as standing room or dance floor in a club set-up. Acts from India and from around the world are starting to make Blue Frog Mumbai’s hottest club.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Blue Frog has revolutionised the live music scene in Mumbai. When it opened in the former mill-district-turned-media-hub of Lower Parel in December 2007, the 400-capacity restaurant/bar’s plans to hold gigs six nights a week seemed ambitions. Indeed, almost all of the country’s biggest indie and electronica acts frequently perform here, from electro-pop duo Shaai’ir + Func and blues rockers Soulmate to electronica duo Midival Punditz. Even more impressive is the roster of international artists to appear – Afro-pop queen Angélique Kidjo, indie darling Imogen Heap, Asian Underground exponent Talvin Singh, hip-hop heavyweight T-Pain, and jazz star Joshua Redman, to name just a few. Tuesdays through Thursdays are typically reserved for rock, jazz and world music, while Fridays and Saturdays are electronica nights. The Frog also has a role in promoting India’s non-Bollywood music scene, hosting a metal night one Sunday every month and an hour-long 7.30pm slot to aspiring singer-songwriters on weeknights.