Songs for the Asking at the Red Onion Bar

Happening Issue 62 Jul, 2010
Text by Dinesh Rai

You can’t miss this bar if you  walk towards Hotel Radisson. If you do, the music will tell you where it is, anyway. Yes, Red Onion Bar sits immediately outside the hotel gates and prices here reflect its proximity to the five star.

The music begins at 8pm as Yankey and Sanjay Sunam take to the stage. This is quite a bar as far as décor and seating is concerned. You’ll find almost all patrons comfortably reclining on the many couches, which I am inclined to believe is one of the attractions. The interior being tastefully done, there’s nothing loud about it, but attractive. An antique motorcycle adorns one side of the stage while a large TV screen hangs at the other end.

Yankey O. Lepcha made her debut in Kathmandu at the Hyatt and is known for her superb vocal abilities. Singing anything from Alison Cross and Celine Dion to Rod Stewart and Tracy Chapman, she can croon or she can belt out a punchy rock hit. Sunam on the piano does a commendable job accompanying her on every song. It’s a mixed patronage at Red Onion, but most appear to be from the business community.

Yankey sings with ease while Sunam pounds the keys on the piano, deftly filling up the spaces. In the absence of Sunam, it’s Jatin Pradhan who sits in with a plugged in acoustic guitar. The electrified guitar sound is soothing while he strums or plucks with the dexterity of a well-trained musician. Requests start pouring in as the patrons down imported liquor, and Yankey goes into “Killing me softly” by Roberta Flack. Next it’s “One of Us” by Joan Osborne.  You can’t possibly guess what the next song is going to be as Yankey flips from an old hit song like “Stuck on you” to something more recent like “Underneath the clothes”.

For those inclined, there are Cuban cigars available at the bar. Other choices include Dutch and American cigars depending on your tastes. If snacks and drinks do not suffice, an Indian restaurant on the terrace serves fine Indian cuisine to keep you going late into the night. It’s Yankey on Wednesdays and Saturdays while the band Neeva takes over on Friday nights.

For details: Raj Kumar D.C. Ph: 98510 08998