Every writer knows the moment, you’ve spent all morning crafting eight, exquisite pages of meaningful prose, and in the past minute, you’ve deleted them all. It’s time to go out, get some fresh air, drink some tea (or coffee), and remind yourself that you’re part of the human race, all while working, of course. Here are the best haunts in Mumbai to settle down into with your laptop, that ridiculously large research book and your imagination.
It should come as no surprise that Prithvi is on this list. This café remains the go-to spot for anyone in the suburbs with a serious amount of writing to do. Expect to find some peace and quiet in the afternoon hours, along with the regular theatre and film crowd periodically making an appearance. Prices have remained relatively low, particularly if you stick to the sulemani chai, as do most regulars here. Prithvi has also spruced up their interiors, complete with atmospheric China lamps, features a lovely flutist on evenings and weekends, and offers Sangria on Sundays.
Freelancers have been frequenting the Bagel Shop for ages. With great juices, a Parsi chai that makes you smile, and a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere, this café makes you feel at home. On most afternoons, you’ll find some other solitary writer typing away at their magnum opus, or a reader curled up with a cup of coffee by their side. The sight is comforting, through the click-clack of laptops and the humdrum of soft conversation, it reminds you that as lonely as writing can sometimes be, you are not alone.
Bagel Shop, No.30, Pali Mala Road, Pali Hill, Mumbai, India, +91 22 2605 0178
Tea Centre is a classic. Open from 8:30am to 10:30pm every day of the week, it is a haven for those who need any form of tea to make their life remotely better. You only have to open the menu to know that they’ve accounted for every occasion, jasmine tea for when your nerves are shot to hell by that chapter that won’t work, herbal tea for when you’re puzzling out structure and need your novel to flower, masala chai for that burst of energy to bring your characters to life and plough through the one scene that isn’t working. It even has a lovely range of food for when you drag your fellow writers there. Waiters serve you and then leave you alone for the most part. It is often a quest to get the check. If you’re still searching for one more reason to visit, it’s relatively close to the Asiatic Library, you can spend the morning navigating those impossible steel chests stuffed with literary treasures and then use the evening to sooth yourself with a well-earning masala chai.
‘Hole in the wall’ is a literal phrase when speaking about this charming café, located near the ISKON temple in Juhu. As the name suggests, Tea & Tea serves mostly tea — a mind-boggling variety. Some homey snacks like Maggi and beans on toast are available as well, so you won’t have to take a break from writing to hunt for your meal. It has very limited seating and very non-intrusive staff, ideal for spending the afternoon writing in solitude. We recommend getting a pot of tea and spending the day here when the itch to write strikes next.
Tea & Tea, 2, Juhu Road, Juhu Tara, Juhu, Mumbai, India, +91 98 2170 0041