Pak Tea House is a little corner in the blogosphere that will endeavour to revive the culture of debate, pluralism and tolerance. It has no pretensions nor illusions but the motivation of a few people who want to see Pakistan a better place – where ideas need to counter the forces of commercialism, adverse effects of globalisation and extremism. And, ideas must translate into action that leads us to an equitable, just and healthy society.

On Pak Tea House

“It was a different world when coffeehouses and teahouses flourished. They flourished in the background of a rich restaurant culture, which distinguished the Mall from other cultural spots of the city. Those sitting there were never seen in a hurry. They could afford to sit for long hours discussing ideas and ideologies over a cup of tea. Each literary theory had its protagonists, who when engaged in a discussion gave the impression of being the defender of a noble cause most dear to them. And it was not simply an intellectual exercise with them. What they discovered as truth in the process of their literary or intellectual thinking stayed as an article of faith with them.

Such were the devoted souls for whom ideas and ideologies meant more than worldly benefits. It was because of them that certain restaurants gained a cultural status. Now we are living in a different world. This world cannot afford to have such souls and such haunts within its fold. The age of coffeehouses and teahouses is gone. Food streets are now the hallmark of life in Lahore.”

From Intizar Hussain’s essay Revisiting the Past.


“It is said that both the Coffee House and the Pak Tea House, which was across the road, belonged to two Sikh brothers. The two places used to be known before partition as the India Coffee House and the India Tea House. The two brothers replicated their two Lahore restaurants in Delhi where they were forced to migrate as the 1947 bloodbath took hold of Punjab.

Sirajuddin, who turned India Tea House into Pak Tea House (now dead like its owner and only a memory), once told me – or was it his son who did – that one day, he noticed a Sikh standing across the road, just staring. When he asked the stranger to come in, he told him that he had come from India and this place and the Coffee House across the road used to belong to him and his brother. The Coffee House has long been gone and in its place there now stands a bank. Nila Gumbad, where these restaurants and intellectual hangouts were once located, is now a bustling auto parts and car tyre market. Although there is no shortage of hotels and restaurants in Lahore today, there is not a single place that could claim to be a true successor to any of those wonderful establishments.”

A Hameed translated by Khalid Hasan

  • Ali Raza

    Don’t forget the historical Mohkam din bakery,the oldest bakery of subcontinent.Pak Tea House and Mohkam din bakery are two great and historical cultural heritage of Lahore.
    Everyday after going from Government College University I’m suppose to buy biscuits from Mohkam din bakery and have tea from Pak Tea House.

  • Rafay Rathore

    When I visits Pak Tea House there is a young man selling pens.He is fluent in English and looks educated and decent,so why that poor guy is selling pens.Can anyone give more information about him and his background?

  • Yusuf

    Elite Lahore Then;
    Government College Lahore,Faletti’s Hotel,Pak Tea House,Mohkam Din Bakery.

    Elite Lahore Now;
    LUMS,Royal Palm Hotel,Cafe Zouk,Gourmet Bakery

    This is the heritage and the contrast which makes Lahore so special.

  • By a fortunate accident I clicked on your website and felt a sudden pang of nostalgia. “Ik teer mery seenay pey mara keh hai hai”.

    While I prided myself as a fixture of the neighboring Coffee House in lae sixties and early seventies, I occasionally spent evenings at the Pak Tea House which was then frequented by Sajjad Baqir Rizvi, Shahzad Ahmed, Ahmed Mushtaq, Intizar Hussain and other regulars of their ilk. The Coffee House, on the other hand, was the favorite haunt of Habib Jalib, Nasir Kazmi, Sheikh Hassam ud Din, Shorish Kashmiri, Riaz Qadir, Abdulllah Butt, Abdullah Malik, Nawab Natiq etc.

    The art of joyous, engaging and inspiring conversation practiced at these two places is dying if not already dead. The likes of Siraj Saheb of Pak Tea House and Saeed Saheb of the Coffee House knew that as businesses they were running failing enterprises yet, their love of the institutions, and their fondness of the poets, thinkers, intellectuals, artists and just conversationalists,kept them going for a long time.

    I have not been in touch for decades now, although heard that Pak Tea House was revived for a short while and there have been attempts to bring it back to life but I have unfortunately not kept abreast of the latest developments.

    Even if revived, with times that are a-changing, I wonder where can we bring from the equivalents off those figures who graced these places. “Way soortaiN Ilahi kis des bastiaN haiN—ab jin kay daikhnay ko aakheN taristiaN haN”

    Just wanted to share these nostalgic thoughts with your readers. As someone said, even nostalgia is no longer what it used to be.

    Shahid Akhtar

  • Muhammad Bilal Sarwar

    In spite of accountancy profession, i have always been a great fan of Urdu adab, poetry, novels and the personalities and Places associated with Urdu. Pak tea house is a nice place to visit, but nowadays neither we can find those personalities there, nor those talks and environment. but the decision to reopen this historical place is really appreciable. The problem is, how can we produce such great poets, writers and intellectuals. Now the situation is really worst and there is no quality of thoughts, ideologies and even minds. i often feel, English is dominating our National language Urdu, and this is a bitter reality to accept.

  • Jeff Jaffary

    Now we have Cyber Cafe occupied by self centered egotistical teens.

    We need to establish old memories and re establish Tea Houses

  • Minal Kanwal
  • haya khaan

    its great if you re-establish and give some new touch.
    we also come back with new items check it out http://www.sunderplast.com/