Oxygen Lounge

A place not to be missed while in Pokhara

The Oxygen offers acoustic bands which are more than enough to fill the whole Lounge with music. The lap dancing place next door features outdoor group singing every Saturday that gave a sniff of degeneration to the otherwise mellow and relaxing atmosphere.

By Joan K Matlock

Drinking an Everest beer before dinner, my iPhone laid out on the slate table, taking in the heat from the outdoor bonfire, I was glad not to be cold. Two fellows at the next table were passing a hookah back and forth. The vapor was floated away by the light breeze coming in from beautiful Fewa Lake which was shimmering in the moonlight only a hundred meters away. Hotel lights that reflected all around the Lake made me forget there was no electricity in the whole of Lakeside at that moment. All the big hotels have their own generator for lighting, just like Oxygen does.

I felt the Oxygen Lounge itself was comfortable and inviting. Your choice of seating arrangements are: 1) a booth for large parties; 2) comfy sofa seating with movable tables to customize for your group; 3) tables outside overlooking the lake; 4) a bar stool; or 5) quiet seating in a covered area away from most of the activity. The whole layout was downright gorgeous. Looking into the main room with the psychedelic lit bar, sports on flat screen right about it, and the huge projector screen next to the band, gave you the feeling that there was something for everyone. There was even room for kids to run around.

I was handed a newly printed menu with the heading of “Fuel Crisis/Blockade Menu.” This was no joke. Thirteen dinner choices were available from the kitchen. With the various types of power and fuel available on an unreliable timetable, a Fuel Crisis menu was required. A French chef had personally trained the entire kitchen staff for three months in all phases of kitchen operations. The kitchen now operated at top notch. I ordered the Nepali curry dinner. The live band, Rock Stereo, started playing, after of a long preamble that must have been titled Sound Check. I heard that a new local band, BLANK PAPER, would be playing every Monday. Live music here seven nights a week!

The Oxygen offers acoustic bands which are more than enough to fill the whole Lounge with music. The lap dancing place next door features outdoor group singing every Saturday that gave a sniff of degeneration to the otherwise mellow and relaxing atmosphere. I liked it. The noise level was just right. Personable and neatly attired waiters hovered like hover boards so as to fulfill your every need and wish. The bar had become well populated and I wondered if I could solicit a partner to slow dance. The female vocalist was so refreshing.

The customers and waiters alike kept adding wood to the bonfire. I felt someone was looking at me. I then noticed that the faces of vocalists from the past had been artfully painted to make a mural on the patio wall. Bob Marley, Janis Joplin, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison were all there to remind us that life does not last forever. Remember to check them out. Would be a great background for a picture!

The owner, Sudip Bikram Rana, arrived. He asked me to meet him upstairs. A young, well presented Nepali businessman, he explained to me that after working at a bank for three years, he wanted to do more for himself and Lakeside, which is his hometown. He gestured around us, indicating the upstairs space, which I had not taken a good look at yet.

The upper level open dining area had been designed into areas so that several events or dinners could take time at one time, but enough privacy provided so that you had your own room. The upstairs had a tremendous view over Main Street, in which a huge ancient tree had conveniently grown, giving the impression of a garden instead of a busy street out there. The upstairs had been redesigned just a year ago, making available a unique space for his patrons. There is no other venue like it in the Lakeside.
I sat in awe as I looked around. The walls, dividers, flooring, and paint have a light, rustic, crisp look. Rana explained that he built a stage as part of the facilities.  He added a microphone, speakers, a guitar, and other items that might be needed. Wow, a completely equipped stage at your disposal! I could not believe it!

I recommend that you consider holding your events here at Oxygen. An intimate (or lively) dinner, an Open Mic night, a party, an anniversary celebration, or even a fashion show would be perfect here. Only upstairs at Oxygen can you get anything you need and more! I urge anyone and everyone to drop Oxygen Lounge, Bar and Restaurant by for a meal, a drink, or just a snack. Then sit back and relax. Or simply call ahead and make an appointment to walk through and take a look. I know you will be glad you did.

Joan K Matlock is an American expatriate who have declared Nepal her second home. She plans to live in Lakeside, Pokhara, for the next few months before going on to India. She plans to live in Nepal for five months every year. Joan is a single retired American woman on an extended vacation around Asia. Every evening she visits local clubs and catch up on “what the years had done to the music scene since the glory days of rock and roll”.  She can be reached at jmkrsna@yahoo.com

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