When you’ve had enough of the shack life and you’d like to enjoy a quality evening while still very much feeling the ‘Goa’ vibe, head to one of these unique hotspots that offer something that’s off the touristy track. If you’d like to go where the good music and the good folk mingle, here are the best spots only locals know about.
The road to Cohiba may feel like it’s leading nowhere until the sound of laughter and dancing reaches you just as you turn up the far end of Candolim. Cohiba is a multi-level venue with a separate area for their live musicians, a foyer, and a couple of different bars. The food and the service are both excellent, and the crowd varies from frequent guests to tourists and everyone in between. Wednesday nights are ladies nights here while Saturday is Retro night, their busiest night of the week!
Cavala is not only an amazing watering hole but is also a quaint hotel run out of an old Portuguese structure. When it comes to live music, few can compete with the bands that play here, and every week, they feature Piano Sundays. Bars are available both inside and outside and provide ample opportunity to load up on their delicious cocktails, but make sure you don’t miss out on the food (the seafood platter is especially recommended). Run by second generation owner and life of the party Marius, Cavala is, in more ways than one, a true institution.
A grungy beach shack with a laid back yet thriving music scene, this place, which claims to have been in business since 1967, is pretty trippy. Guru Bar is where you’re most likely to run into Israeli backpackers and young Indian musicians waiting to perform at open mics. Sunday nights are live music nights, and it’s recommended that you call and find out what genre of music is on that night before you go. Try their coconut feni or any of their squid preparations and you won’t be disappointed.
MasterChef Australia Season 6 favourite Sarah Todd’s recently opened seaside restaurant is a smash hit with locals and tourists alike. The wait staff is super attentive, dress in costume, and even hand out free shots every now and then! Combining that with a multi-level layout, laid back interiors and the perfect menu (not to mention, one of the best live music scenes in Goa) makes Antares an unmissable spot on your Goa itinerary.
Soro only recently opened its doors to the public, but it’s already quietly becoming a favourite on the Assagao circuit. A live music venue that also offers fantastic food (and parking!), Soro has an eclectic decor that combines the aesthetic of a village pub with a contemporary setting, and it even features an enclosed bar and stage area.
Firefly is a beautiful Goan bistro that boasts regular live music nights, which are usually on Sundays and Wednesdays. The restaurant is home to a lovely garden, and while the music and ambience are just perfect at this bistro, its food is absolutely unforgettable as well. Try the pork ribs, glazed prawns and the goan pao, and you’ll be here every day of the week!
Set in a classic Portuguese villa, TWF at Panaji is host to amazing live music every Saturday, which is performed by the Valentino brothers. While you’ve probably heard the seafood here is beyond delectable, the ambience and the service are both top notch as well. TWF prides itself on being a ‘refined beachside’ experience, and it sure does deliver on that promise. Give them a call and make sure to make a reservation, as things can get really busy really quickly! We recommend the bacon wrapped prawns, the tempura prawn, the prawn curry and the tiger prawns — really, any shrimp dish here is a winner!