Mumbai for Nights Owls

Our guide to the best bars in the city

THE BASICS

Mumbai, (Bombay) is fairly stretched out and the traffic can be appalling, so it is worth planning a night out well. Generally the best plan is to start in the south and work up towards Bandra later in the night where you find more of the happening bars with options to continue to Juhu to the north of that later on.

Many bars will charge a fairly steep entry fee (especially if you are an all male party) but sometimes this is redeemable at the bar and you receive tokens. Bars have a licence until 0130 with larger nightclubs in hotels opening until 0300 or later. Obviously, go with the flow, there is always a new bar on the scene and its best to ask around. Do dress up well, as there are strict dress codes (no shorts etc).

SUNSET

There are some excellent places to have a drink when the sun sets. Dome is a rooftop bar located in the Intercontinental Hotel right on Marine Drive in the SoBo (south Bombay). It has amazing views and is always a classic first stop. Midway up you get two excellent rooftop bars, Aer is located on top of the Four Seasons Hotel (as seen in the main image, and city’s highest bar) and could easily be a good second stop. Next door is the new St Regis Hotel and on top of that you find Asilo. Also within the St Regis is the Li Bai Bar which charges a cover charge of 2500 rupees from 8pm and EXO, the nightclub open until 3am.  Alternatively head north to Juhu and visit to Aurus which has a deck right onto the beach. Around the corner is the excellent Gadda da Vida, again with a deck right by the sand.

SOBO

South Bombay is a great place to start a night, and there are a few bars that many Bombayites head to early on before moving north later on. Indigo is located around the corner from the famous Taj Mahal Hotel, it is more of a restaurant, but you can mix it up with high and mighty. Leopolds is a classic travellers bar worth a beer or two. Wink is located in the lobby of the Vivanta Taj President with excellent cocktails. If you are still down in SoBo and want a nightclub you can’t go far wrong that Alibii, or the rather eclectic Liv located near the Fort.

WORLI & MIDDLE MUMBAI

Move north and you find two excellent places to stop for a drink or two before you reach Bandra (alongside Aer and Asilo mentioned for sun set drinks). Blue Frog is Bombay’s premier live music venue, with a range of bands playing all through the week. Just next door you find the Barking Deer, which is a micro-brewery. Shiro is just around the corner and is Bombay’s answer to New York’s Tao or Paris’ Buddha Bar. Towering ceilings and dramatic decor awaits you. Around the corner is the happening F-Bar (the F stands for fashion, so dress  up well). Next to that is White Owl, a trendy New York style brewery, complete with beer pong tables. Another option is Tryst, a modern neon-lit nightclub, open until 0130.

NOBO

North Bombay contains the districts of Bandra and the beaches of Juhu where many of the late night establishments are open. Let’s begin on the more rough and ready. Two excellent go to places are Toto’s Garage, a small smoky bar that plays a lot of rock to an over-excited crowd. It is simply great fun with such a happy atmosphere. Another is Hawaiian Shack, also in Bandra featuring a range of floors. Both are open until 0130. A slightly sleepy yet superb hangout is Olive, frequented by quite a few Bollywoodites who all live nearby. Nightclub options include Royalty and Level 5 in Bandra (both close at 0130) and Trilogy in Juhu (open until 0300).

CLASSIC ROUTING

Head to Leopolds at about 4pm for a couple of beers, possibly taking in some time to walk around the old colonial corner of Bombay and seeing the Gateway to India. Head to Dome at about 1730 and get a good spot for sunset. At 1900 head straight to the Four Seasons and the rooftop bar of Aer or the St Regis’ Aurus. Jump back in the car about 2100 and head to Worli and checkout Shiro for a couple of drinks. At around 223 0 head up to Bandra and if you want to hit a proper club head to Royalty or Level 5, should you want something more down to earth, Hawaiian Shack or Totos. If it is all too much and you just want to chill head to Olive. If you are still feeling thirsty, then Trilogy nightclub in Juhu is open until 3am.

I have always been somewhat of a traveller. When I was 17, I set off for a month to Bolivia, climbing mountains, exploring the Amazon and working in an orphanage. This continued before university where I worked as a teacher in Nepal, living with a local family and learning the language. This allowed me to …

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