Just when Bangaloreans were getting the hang of large microbreweries (is that an oxymoron), along comes Oia, pronounced Eyah, to redefine size. Sounds Greek to you? It should. Named after a Santorini island that it’s modeled on, the sprawling 87,000sqft Oia claims to be the largest bar in Asia. Not too long ago, the adjoining 65,000sqft Byg Brewski was touted as India’s largest brewpub. In 2021, Ironhill eclipsed it to become the world’s largest microbrewery at 1.3 lakh sqft.
What does it tell you? A) That Bengaluru has lots of space. B) The need for new F&B ventures to stand out from the clutter by claiming some record unique to them. High is the highest lounge bar in South India while Candles Brewhouse on the 12th floor of Azure literally screams from the rooftop for being the highest microbrewery in town. In a dynamic world where such records are broken frequently in Sergei Bubka-esque fashion, does size or statistic really matter? We decided to drop in at the Oia launch over the weekend to find out.
Inside Oia, Bengaluru
Forget a stone’s throw, if you spit an olive pit from Byg Brewski on Hennur Road you’ll hit Oia. It takes something to pack a place like this. On launch day 29 April, it was packed to the rafters. Saturday night witnessed nearly 3,500 people throng Oia’s cabanas, amphitheater, galleries and poolside tables, way beyond its official seating capacity with longest name of 1800. There were Russian dancers, pyromancers, a fashion show, music, fireworks and finger food flying off buffet trays—Rayalseema pepper chicken, seekh kebab, fish fingers, assorted dumplings.
“Goa with a Greece vibe”, exclaimed a giddy teen, alluding to the all-white interiors similar to Thalassa in Vagator. Every nook, step and arch is Insta-worthy and was promptly captured by the eager millennials and social media influencers. With an hour-and-a-half wait at the valet, people were spending as much time getting out as those waiting to get in. Bewildered cabbies assumed it was some Karnataka election dole they were missing out on. On Sunday, there were 400 people waiting.