Woodstock 1969 came into being inspired by Hard Rock Café, but then it should never be compared with Hard Rock Café. This place is now very young and it will take it loads of distance to traverse to reach somewhere close to HRC. That is one accepted fact and this is the vision and story of inspiration which Soumya (co-owner of WS1969) was narrating to us on our last visit to this place. We were a group of four food bloggers visiting this highly rated (in Zomato) eatery for some evening snacks and coolers.
This place surely stresses on peace, good music and great food. The name of this little music themed café is of course based on the 3-day long Woodstock festival which was arranged during August 1969 at a dairy farm in New York. The rock festival was attended by almost 4 lac audiences and was studded with performances by Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Santana, Pandit Ravishankar, etc. The festival had total 32 acts performed. This Woodstock festival is considered as a crucial moment in the history of music and one of the most remarkable events defining the history of Rock and Roll.
LOCATION - - - - - This place is located in an alley just beside the Greek Orthodox church near Kalighat Tram Depot. The eatery is an old garage converted to café, so it is not so prominent and one can easily miss the entrance. But you can trust your GPS since that’s how we located this place.
AMBIANCE - - - - - As already said, this place used to be an old garage and dated back to some 1921. So it was tough to convert that uninhabited place to a cool café. There is no doubt it is now a small piece of heaven for any Western music lover, be it classic rock or country songs. The walls are adorned with neatly framed posters of Western rock bands and solo artists like Pink Floyd, Bee Gees, Doors, Black Sabbath, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Eagles, Bob Marley, Queen, Johnny cash, Dire Straits, Elvis, The Who, and many more. The best part is – all these framed exclusive posters are for sale and they are priced very reasonably. Even you can buy the copy of the ticket of Woodstock festival of 1969 which is also on display! The walls also have got several hand painted portraits and symbols, like the peace sign, or the Dark side of moon logo from Pink Floyd, etc. The framed posters and these hand drawn structures and motifs pretty much occupies the wall space. And the space overall exudes an uncanny homely warmth which is very dear to someone born and brought up in South Kolkata, maybe because of the old structure of the building where this café has been built, or the high ceiling, or the hand paintings on the walls, or the old black chests kept inside the café, or maybe something else!
The place has a seating capacity of 14 persons at max and they have got low height stools which might be uncomfortable for some. Overall the seating arrangement could have been made more comfortable but then the space constraint is there. Apart from this the place has got a narrow iron stair case going up to the mezzanine floor where there is a small room with one pool table. You can pay INR 150 and enjoy a game of pool at this place which is definitely a part of this café. But going up and down that narrow stairs is really the daring part standing in between your desire to play pool and the physical location of that pool table :) There is no dining arrangement in that mezzanine floor room and all the 14 seating arrangements are there at the ground floor.
Also I loved the Glass top tables with LED lining embedded inside. That surely increases the cool-quotient, helps you see the food even in the dimly lit ambiance and surely helps your face to glow in all the snaps :)
Now coming to the music which is being played, that’s the best part! I felt absolutely at home with all my favorite numbers playing on in the background. More or less the spectrum of music matches with those posters of the rock bands which are there on the walls staring at you. I felt more at home when the original version of ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ started playing :) Insanely heavenly!
FOOD - - - - - Food is definitely one of the strong points of this joint apart from the cool, laid back ambiance. Co-owner Soumya prepares several items and all the items served are monitored closely by the owners, so that reduces the chance of anything going wrong. Now coming to our order, we mainly ordered few drinks and an evening snacks to go with, here they are –
a) Strawberry Coke – An awesome cooler to start with which was recommended by Soumya. It has an awesome blend of coke and Hershey’s syrup, I haven’t tasted anything like this before; it was refreshing and had a nice flavorful kick to it! Really liked this one!
b) Butterbeer – This was the STAR item and like I had already said Soumya, I will be back definitely for this Butterbeer :) I haven’t tasted this anywhere else in India, so I was excited when Soumya recommended me this drink. Though I am not a Harry Potter fan but I have definitely heard of Butterbeer and here I surely did love my foaming mug of this popular wizarding beverage. Like we know, Butterbeer is described as tasting a little bit like less-sickly butterscotch with very slight alcoholic content. I absolutely loved the flavors of the butterscotch topping, condensed milk, whipped butter, and maybe vanilla ice cream soda in there with very little beer for the taste. This is gem of a beverage at such reasonable rate. It will be a crime if you don’t try this out! Highly RECOMMENDED!
c) Vanilla Shake – The taste of butterbeer totally eclipsed the taste of this drink which my friend had ordered. Well you can’t expect wonders from a glass of vanilla shake, but at INR 69 this is again a nice drink if you love the simple soothing vanilla flavor.
d) Kentucky Chicken Wings with BBQ sauce – This was again recommended by the owners and we chose our Chicken wings with the BBQ dip. The dish had six pieces of chicken wings with crunchy covering. Though I personally do not prefer fried chicken with a crunchy cover but I liked this dish since the chicken inside was pretty succulent and fresh. And the BBQ dip was awesome. Lovely evening snacks for sure.
SERVICE - - - - - No doubt, this place has got a homely feel with extremely warm and quick service to go with. The owners are friendly and they took out their time to share their experiences with this venture and they even clicked some pictures with us. Service is surely a key part of this industry and since here the owners are only interacting with the customers, so that part can never go wrong.
SUMMARY - - - - - Here are my granular ratings:
Food quantity: 3.8/5
Food quality: 4.1/5
Food presentation: 3.8/5
Value for money: 4.3/5
The overall rating comes to 4 out of 5, which is very good according to me. I will be paying few more visits to this place since I want to taste some more food items from that menu and definitely the Butterbeer. Also few of my friends are already eager to visit this place when they heard about it from me, so I might just accompany them next time. Though I would have loved this place to be a little more spacious but I can understand and I am sure the owners will work towards expansion in near future, otherwise this is one gem of a café that gives give you one gem of an experience. Must visit for every rock music lover, it will be a landmark destination for you like the Woodstock festival of 1969 was a landmark event in the history of rock and roll music. Do visit them if you already haven’t.
Cheers to Peace & Music!