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Cocktail bars are now all the rage, attracting a set of socialites and young professionals that come together over a of mixologists creations. Mumbai is no different, delivering the flavors of India in beautiful bars, stylish pubs or glamourous hotels. We take a look at ten of the best cocktail bars in which the very best of Mumbai’s cocktails and beverages can be sourced.
Only the second microbrewery and bar in Mumbai, The White Owl brings you the very best in Mumbai-crafted beers. It space channels a look of casual sophistication with a hint of eccentricity, featuring sleek leather, dark minimalistic furniture, a bright yellow bar and lit-up bicycle wheels. The ultimate aspect however, is the gleaming domed and copper architecture of the microbrewery, set up behind a glass partition. Try the Owl’s craft beers, or their selection of international beers, wines and spirits.
One could be forgiven for not noticing where Aer stops and the evening beyond starts. With its ethereal indigo-violet glow, this rooftop bar sitting atop the Four Seasons Hotel, seems like an extension of the twilight sky. It is expensive, but worth the money. Enjoying delicious cocktails at sunset overlooking the Arabian Sea and the Queen’s necklace (the lavish string of street lights that circle the bay) is a sublime experience.
A club and performance space, The Blue Frog is arranged with clusters of circular booths in honeycomb-like pieces rising towards the periphery of the room like an amphitheatre, enclosing a dance floor in the centre. The menu has a selection of international and craft beers, spirits and cocktails, as well as a programme replete with national and international gigs. Loyalists unanimously swear by the cocktails and craft beers, the music, the food, and its warm colours.
Café Mondegar has only a small range of beers and Indian wines, but is nevertheless an unmissable stop on a city bar crawl. ‘Mondys’ is one of Mumbai’s gathering spots and it is one of Mumbai’s dearly loved Iranian cafés and a landmark in the city’s history and culture. Established in the late 19th Century by migrant Iranians, these cafés are recognizable by their chequered tablecloths, dark wooden furniture, bentwood chairs and loudly whirring ceiling fans. Mondegar’s has another special aspect: feisty murals by iconic Goan cartoonist Mario Miranda, splattered across the walls telling humorous tales of restaurant life.
Not technically a bar, when speaking of beverages and culture, you cannot fail to speak of Samovar Café. Established in the 1970s in a long narrow corridor, with brightly coloured décor and looking out onto the lawns of the Prince of Wales museum, Samovar is attached to Jehangir Art Gallery and was a refuge for many of the greatest artists of the city and country, who scribbled on its walls and contributed to a commemorative coffee table book. Its significance to the art scene is unrivalled, as both a casual space to work in and a venue in which to share culture and tea. If this doesn’t take your fancy, try a beer, or a glass of chaas, jeera lassi or guava juice. Their stuffed parathas – pan-fried flat breads – and pot kulfis – ice-cream made from evaporating and sweetening milk – are particular favourites.
The SKKY Lounge at Powai will appeal to those who love nature, inventive cocktails and a good game. At SKKY, seating is delicately placed between a symmetrical arrangement of plants and still-water pools. The venue, viewed from above, resembles the ornate geometry of India’s Mughal gardens. There’s also a wide-screen TV placed high above the lounge, allowing you to keep track of a sports game even in this surreally beautiful environement.
It is best to book in advance as Toto’s Garage Bar is usually full of happy punters whiling the hours away. Rock music, affordable drinks, motor and hubcap décor together with a charming and informal crowd make this a friendly local that is a must-see for visitors.
Over the charming bar at Woodside Inn are beer bottles set in ornate box picture frames. This is just a flavour of the carefully considered décor, from the inside, the beautiful gothic arch appears like the outline of a fireplace, welcoming in the punters. These and other touches fill Woodside Inn with references to English culture and evoke feelings of an English pub. What makes Woodside Inn even more interesting is the enthusiastic range of cultural events they run. They have hosted musical and comedy gigs, an Old Mumbai Bicycle Tour, conversations during their Late Night Beer Sessions, (with restaurateurs and food bloggers) and a night with Gateway Brewery.
Woodside Inn, Wodehouse Road, Colaba, Mumbai, India, +91 22 2202 5525