My earliest visit to what’s now Pizza By The Bay was when the place was still called Talk Of The Town, and boy, was it. Despite the fact that it first opened in 1969, it remained the talk of the town quite literally right up till the 90s. Anyone who’s anyone would make their way to this pub, and my parents weren’t one to miss out. I recall sitting on an adult’s chair (yes, I was that young, and yes, my parents broke all sorts of parenting norms) and watching the legendary Usha Uthup performing energetic tracks in her trademark sari and bindi. Shortly after, the place was rechristened Jazz By The Bay and became one of the most popular jazz venues. Perhaps to reach out to a wider audience, its identity changed once more. This time, it was called Not Just Jazz By The Bay and a Pizzeria outlet took over its semi-outdoor, almost-seaside space.
As a teenager, I’d see families celebrating milestones and groups of SoBo kids hosting birthdays, graduations, engagements—you name it—hunched over 12-inch pizzas and huge iced teas. For me, instead of celebrating a milestone, visiting Pizzeria became a milestone in itself. It was the pineapple-topped Hawaiian pizza that had won me over. If you are scoffing at “pineapple”, let me remind you that this was the first place to present and popularise the use of the fruit on pizzas, which many years later, pizza chains emulated, to cash in on the fad.
Then, as an early 20-something, I ventured indoors to the then-Not Just Jazz By The Bay for live jazz acts and independent rock band performances. One of the evenings, a friend’s then-boyfriend, who was a vocalist in an independent band, introduced me to Red Hot Chili Peppers (dedicated Snow to win me, the girlfriend’s best friend, over).
Today, peering at the menu of Pizza By The Bay (which has no references to its musical past), I can’t think of a more apt connection. Red hot chilli peppers top a great many pizza offerings here—whether it’s jalapeño or habanero. I dig into the Veg Supremo Pizza and the Pizzeria Veggie Lovers, both of which are generously topped with one or the other spice. A portion of garlic bread provides some much-needed relief but it’s the really big glass of iced tea that helps wash down the pizzas as well as the nostalgia I feel. Much like the establishment, I’ve changed but what remains constant is my need to go back to Pizza By The Bay for more.
How to Get There
Pizza By The Bay
Where: 143, Soona Mahal, Marine Drive, Churchgate, Mumbai
Contact: 022 22856115 | 022 22820883
Timing: All Days 7 AM to 1:30 AM
Cost: ₹2,000 for two people (VAT & service charges extra)