Sandy’s journey began when India was freshly coming to terms with liberalization. The country was changing, and a new class of educated and more liberal youth were coming to the fore. Earlier, nightlife was limited to a handful of 5 star hotels and night clubs which attracted only a select clientele, and the scene was still dominated by heritage names.
But with the 1990s a new era had begun. Independent establishments were gaining in popularity and growing in number. Older, prestigious establishments were increasingly becoming pigeonholed as a place for “oldies” which were defined by formalities and outdated offerings. An educated, more liberal class of youth with higher aspirations were emerging, and they wanted more relaxed and fun places to hang out. This call was answered by independent eateries and pubs which were courting the clientele with a promise of more varied fare and more diversified alcohol offerings.
It was during this time that Sandy Verma debuted. Starting at the wine cellars of La Rochelle, The Oberoi in 1992, he went on to re-launch of Oasis, the premiere nightclub of Hyatt Regency in 1993. His journey continued with C.J.’s- the hi-tech discotheque at Le Meridian in New Delhi and Fireball, the designer nightclub at Gurgaon. He went on to launch the Broker’s Bar- a Stock Market Conceptual Bar from the British pub of the Heritage International Hotel in Dubai in 1994, and also regulated the bar of Dubai’s most happening British night club- Staying Alive at the same hotel.
Over the years, he established himself as the guy who made hotspots happen. He brought in a new form of cool, that matched the aspirations of the newly emerged young clientele, and made a name for himself as the go-to guy in the Indian bar and pub scene.
His journey took him all over the world: Maldives, Sri Lanka, Zambia, Dubai, Belgrade, Croatia, Monte Negro, Singapore, Malaysia, France, United Kingdom & Scotland. He established the Institute of Bar Operations and Management in 1996, that specializes in bar designing, bar management consultancies, human resource development, extreme flair bartending, mega theme parties, pub promotions, launches and other related services.
Today, IBOM is the leader in its field, and people who have graduated from there have gone on to established successful careers and manage projects and establishments. Today, when the F&B sector is thriving and India’s bar scene is vibrant, it seems like we have reached a plateau.
But the times are a-changing, and Sandy believes that the scene is ready for its next step in its evolution.