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T Block – commercial and upmarket (Photo by Rana Zahid)

Once a small, sleepy local market with only a handful of corner shops, the
T Block Market in Defence is now one of Lahore’s more fashionable, upmarket and hip commercial pockets.

The area’s popularity has skyrocketed in the last decade partially due to the presence of its affluent residents and partially because of the young and hip students who frequent it due to the presence of educational institutions such as Defence Public School, Lahore Grammar School and LUMS.

Choosing ice-cream amidst Pop Art (Photo by Rana Zahid)

The young and affluent who ‘hang out’ in the Market have plenty of choice in terms of entertainment and dining. From ‘gourmet’ french fries at the recently opened OPTP, café style food and homemade ice-cream at The Hot Spot and chocolate treats at Hobnob Bakery, to Marble Stones’ Death Brown chocolate ice-cream and Jammin’ Java’s coffee, there is plenty to be partaken there.

But it’s not all expensive and upscale; for people on a budget (such as LUMS students who have over spent their monthly allowances) there are dhabba-style ‘hotels’ which serve up mouth-watering and inexpensive staples such as paratha rolls and shawarmas.

Although the restaurants and eateries are the Market’s crowd-pullers, two entertainment venues nearby are also well worth a mention. The DHA Cinema screens all the latest Hollywood and Bollywood releases, while the Uptown Alley, as its name suggests, features a bowling alley and also serves as a popular venue for birthday parties.

Sifting through discounted books (Photo by Rana Zahid)

Block Market has more to offer than recreational venues and restaurants. A number of banks and convenience stores are located there, as well as several tailors’ shops, such as Nayna Fashion House. The well-known Old and New Book Shop, as its name suggests, sells all kinds of books; a bi-annual book fair, which is held opposite it, in the adjacent park in spring and autumn, is definitely worth a visit for a wide variety of books – ranging from textbooks to graphic novels – all at discounted prices, of course.

With all this activity, evenings are particularly busy in T Block Market, with fashionable people visiting the cafés, the cinema and the bowling alley – driving luxury cars and dressed up to the nines.

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– Maheen Hassan
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First published in the Real Estate Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on April 1, 2012.