Dishoom sets up Permit for Oxbridge

Dishoom is to open two new branches of its Permit Room all-day café-bars in the university cities of Oxford and Cambridge this year, following the sub-brand’s launch in Brighton last year. Cambridge opens first, on 20 June, with Oxford celebrating the new academic year in October.

The brand is named after the alcohol permits issued in Bombay following the loosening of prohibition in the 1960s and 70s. Until then, drinkers sought out so-called “aunty bars” in private homes, whose supply of drinking snacks is reflected in the menu.

Dishoom co-founder Shamil Thakrar says of the next opening: “I’ve had quite a few friends living in Cambridge over the years. When I think back to my early twenties, Cambridge pub crawls and gate-crashing the odd college party are a happy feature. I have rosy memories of hanging out there, and I’m very excited for the chance to return with our own Permit Room. I’m also looking forward to hosting our own pub crawls this time around.”

Founded in 2010, Dishoom has 10 branches across the country, but – for now at least – is avoiding saturating the market by its focus on Permit Rooms. Both offer a sly take on the Irani cafés of post-independence Bombay, with naan rolls for breakfast and plenty of cocktails later in the day.

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