This pub has a virtual bartender who lets you negotiate the price of your drink!
He’s got a sinister pair of eyes, but can give you a heck of a deal on your alcohol. Log into an app and bid on spirits with virtual bartender Agent Jack — at the newest watering hole in town.
Agents and supervillains
Called Agent Jack’s Bar after the concept, the franchise which is four years old and spread across 23 outlets in eight cities, opened its doors in Chennai last week. Just look for those trademark eyes, to spot the pub (formerly Illusions), off Radha Krishna Salai. The interiors spread across 3,000 sq feet have been completely redone with a reel of supervillain convicts, think Harley Quinn and Thanos behind a metal fence for bars on one wall, plush leatherite sofas and a bar counter made of flame-resistant dekton. But we find our attention drawn to the negotiations happening on the live screen, streaming messages of customers, interacting with Agent Jack. And we’re cracking up:
One message reads: 5 Bermuda Triangles at Rs 134 each.
Agent Jack politely declines: Lemme give you a High-five. In your face, with a chair. Just kiddin...
“You are placed in one of five categories — Trainee, Rookie, Field Agent, Special Agent and Chief — depending on the frequency of your visits,” G Girishkumar (35) one of the partners, explains how it works. Predictably, we’re told, the more often you order, you progress a level and get access to better deals. The other partners are D Arun (35) and MS Vasisth (36), who also shares ownership of The Vault — Stock Bar Exchange with Girish.
Bring in Nikhil Moturi of Crimson Chakra, as food consultant, and we’ve officially got ourselves a party. Sipping on a Frozen Banana Daiquiri (prepared by in-house mixologist who doubles up as manager RP Amarnath ) we go back to the app for the menu. There is an eclectic offering of everything from Bourbon Whiskey Glazed Beef Steak to a Madurai Kozhi Roast, we discover. “After pub hopping every chance we got over the last few months, I noticed that a lot of people were asking for a regional favourite so we’ve brought back quite a few of those,” says Nikhil.
Peri peri & urali
That apart, also look out for familiar bar bites with a fun twist like the spicy Peri Peri Paneer Tikka or a more decadent version of the chicken tikka loaded with malai and melted cheese on top! If you’d prefer an appetiser with a hint of sweetness, don’t miss the butterfly prawns with a hint of chilli and maple syrup!
We get a kick out of ordering a traditional Curd Rice with Urali Roast which does not disappoint. And, discover a few personal favourites like the addictive Agent Nachos (served with cheese sauce and Mexican-style chilli) as well as the Paneer Porichathu (deep fried paneer fingers marinated with South Indian spices, coated in rice flour and sautéed with curry leaves). The aforementioned Bourbon-glazed steak is a must-try with tender meat and a bed of extra creamy potato mash. Desserts aren’t on the menu just yet, but we settle for a glass of Chocolate Truffle from the bar. A concoction of kahlua, baileys, Bacardi and chocolate syrup — we’re tempted to chug, but sip on it gracefully instead, for reputation’s sake!
Average price for two is Rs 1,200 (including spirits).
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