Chai Deewari: Late Night Tea Run
Towards the left of Munawwar Chowrangi is a walled space called ‘Chai Deewari’. The lighting is dim and neon signs give a ‘nightlife’ vibe to the area.
Our Midnight Chai Deewari Jaunt
We were coming back from a friend’s birthday and decided to stop by for some chai. In an area like Gulistan e Johar, safety is usually a great concern. Chai Deewari seems to defy the myth, with people lining up well into the night; mostly girls and boys, very few families. The entryway was lined with expensive cars, the optimum representation of the social bubble such locations are usually associated with.
The ambiance was very typical to the dhaba culture in Karachi; portable speakers on tables blaring music, girls sipping tea, cigarettes in hand. The aura was soothing. You can potentially just hang here with friends for hours and not feel bored.
We ordered elaichi chai, lemongrass tea, and mint kehwa, primarily to test how good the chai menu is. The elaichi chai had a thick creamy texture and the distinct flavor of elaichi, which smacks of the desiness authentic chai can offer. The lemongrass tea, however, was a thorough disappointment. Boiled water with a few drops of lemon essence, it seemed. The mint kehwa was the best item we tried, deliciously smooth, the smell of mint and lemon wafted across the table. The warmth of chai, contrary to popular belief was still a great idea for a summer night in Karachi.
The dining vicinity was surrounded by a lot of plants and the open roof provided a great view of the night sky. There was a bamboo wall with a neon board that announced the name of the place. The tables were each surrounded by a small and cozy floor lamp which added to the serene aesthetic of the entire place.
The tea menu was quite marvelous although the food that was being served at other tables seemed unappealing. I usually try to indulge in writing when I find comfortable spaces like Chai Deewari but the dim lighting made it impossible. So I just closed my eyes and threw my head back to enjoy the smell of chai and the sound of music.