Reminiscing the old times at Airlines Hotel
Airlines is a place you can't miss to visit in Bangalore as it boasts of familiar faces, authentic meals and lots of fun and frolic.
Almost half a century old Airlines Hotel on Lavelle Road still remains the most popular hangout in Bangalore as it has successfully etched memories of relishing authentic South Indian khana from generations after generations. The history of Airlines dates back decades ago when restaurateur SNS Rao thought of a concept of having drive in restaurants in our city. “He opened his first drive-in restaurant called Sujatha in Mysore during the year 1965. Three years down the lane he thought of doing the same here. That’s when Airlines was started in the year 1968. Back then it was a very alien concept,” recalls Diwakar Rao, son of SNS Rao who inherited the legacy of family business.
The concept was soon a huge success and an immediate rage among everyone in the city. And why wouldn’t it be Bangalore is known for its incandescent green cover and beautiful weather which makes the whole experience of eating your morning breakfast in the lap of Mother Nature a very memorable one. “I was first introduced to Airlines by my grandfather and since then it’s our Sunday ritual to visit the place for breakfast. It’s a great place to meet people and make new friends,” says Shobith Acharya, a Business professional.
From South Indian tiffin to north Indian chats. From your favourite Corner House ice-creams to thin crust pizza’s you will find everything to tease your taste buds at Airlines which is spread over acres and acres of land. Come May and you will be surprised to see a small take away of tantalizing cocktails. “We are planning to start Coconut express, a small 10 ft x 15 ft take away joint which will serve variety of mocktails in coconut water,” says Rao who also has the franchise of Corner House and Pizza stop in the premises apart from Tavoli Garden which boasts of everything that we Banagloreans love the most idli, sambar and filter 'kofi'.
“The old charm is still very intact. It has been like this ever since it’s beginning. The openness and the garden area are the main attractions of this place among the people,” says Jaya Shankara Acharya, the Hotel manager who shares a working relationship of 20 years with the hotel. This place is also very famous among the Kannada film fraternity and politicians. “Initially Dr. Raj Kumar would often come here and sit. Today we see his sons Puneeth Raj Kumar, Shiv Raj Kumar and actor Upendra to name a few. Before BS Yeddyurappa came into power he would often come here with his family. Artist M F Hussain would never miss visiting this place. He always spent half a day in our gardens,” says Rao who has been taking care of the business for over two and half decades now.
“It’s a great place to work and I have served for almost four generations here. The taste has remained the same ever since it started. I often see a lot of eminent personalities coming here,” says waiter Padmanab who has been working here for 15 years now. Rumours did their rounds almost a year back that the property was sold to set up an IT company. “No, that’s not correct but then yes it’s most likely that we will shut after 8-9 months for over two years. We will demolish the entire building and reconstruct the place. The lodge needs immediate renovation,” states Rao. Don’t worry folks it will back with a bang but until then you can enjoy the fresh air with your peers!