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Clube Nacional: Back to its old world glory

Nacional collapsed, ringing in a sad period for the cultural scene in Panjim. “It was a Sunday. A full part of the bar and a part of the office collapsed. Thankfully, there were no casualties. There was leakage on the wall and the structure is more than 100 years old so the roof gave way. The last function held at the club was the St Anthony dance in June that year,” says Tony Dias, President of the Clube Nacional Committee.He further adds, “We immediately had a meeting with all the members and we decided to repair the club as soon as possible. After we cleared the NOC from CCP, we started the work. We repaired the premises with the help of Edcon Builders, patron members and well wishers. We got good sponsors like Nana Bandekar from Vasco, Dempo, Salgaoacars, Peter Vaz and Albuquerque of Alcon. We feel very proud and happy to complete the renovation work of the collapsed area. You can easily see how the place has been changed. We had a meeting and everyone is happy to have contributed to make it come to life again. The patterns have changed and we have a little ‘balcao’; this was a chance to make it look different. The bar side will be functional and we plan to have one function a week, with Karaoke evenings. The other side will be renovated by October this year.”
The committee consists of 50 patron members and every occasion is a need to celebrate at the Clube. Some of the functions that are held at this venue include World Elders’ Day, Christmas Party for Children, the annual Litany on August 14 and, most importantly, the annual ballroom dances: New Year Dance and the Old is Gold dance. While the renovation work was underway, these functions were held with the same zeal but at a different venue, the Taleigao Community Hall. The iconic Red and Black dance, a must for the Carnival, was held at the Samba Square. “Our main dance is the Red and Black dance. Despite the damage to the premises, we didn’t stop our activities,” says Tony.On the opening night, the 104-year-old building will be resonating with new music and enthusiasm. The reopening of the premises will be held on July 14, 2017 at 7pm with a live band performance by Braz Gonsalves, one of the best saxophonists in India, his daughter, Sharon, and her husband, Darryl Rodrigues, and son, Jarryd. Carlos Menezes and Group will entertain the crowd with Portuguese and Goan songs.
The restaurant on the first floor of Clube Nacional has got a completely new look with musical instruments mounted on the walls and huge life size figures of a Goan band above the counter. The restaurant looks more spacious.Napoleon D’Souza has been running his restaurant and bar for the past 38 years. His Goan snacks, such as sausage breads, rissoles, croquets, pork and beef dishes, are really famous and he lovingly reminds us that the person behind these bite size wonders is his wife, Santana. “The restaurant is completely changed with new designs and more space compared to earlier. The restaurant will continue serving all Goan dishes in pork, beef and chicken and we still have our faithful clientele waiting for the place to reopen. I took over this restaurant in 1979 and my wife is the main person behind this restaurant,” says Napoleon enthusiastically, looking forward to the formal reopening of the pride of Panjim, Clube Nacional. [H]

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