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Raise Your Glass!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Do you spend more time deciding where to go than what to order when you head out to meet and greet friends and family? Dev Goswami & Anindra Siqueria help you decide, with a guide to the best places to grab a drink across the city, depending on what you’re looking for!

Whether you’re toasting to good health, celebrating a new milestone, enjoying a night out with friends or   sealing a business deal, you’re going to want to be in the perfect setting. While you will want to spend a night out with friends in a lively space, you wouldn’t take a business client there, no matter how many fond memories you have of it. If you want to choose a spot according to the drinks on the menu and the occasions that the ambiance is best suited to, we’ve got the perfect guide. So, grab your drinking permits and read on as we tell you about the best places to enjoy a round of drinks in Mumbai. 

Special occasions
Whether it’s an anniversary or a birthday, there are some occasions that demand you dress to the nines and loosen your purse strings. These restaurants won’t disappoint — whether it’s in the food or drink department.

If it looks like a family place and sounds like a family place, it must be a family place. And that’s exactly what Indigo is. That is to say, it has a more sober vibe than several other places that are known for their drinks. And, you won’t be disturbed by too many noisy college kids on account of the slightly high prices. If you’re planning on heading here, you will want to try the Lobster Bisque. There’s a stylish bar area, and they say Indigo’s sangria is delicious! “We keep finding ourselves going back to Indigo — even their cocktails are delicious,” says Cawsi Dhanbhoora, an aviation professional. While he usually sticks to a Campari or a glass of rum, when he feels like drinking a cocktail, he says there’s nothing quite like an Indigo Mary. “It’s been a standing favourite for years now. The tamarind goes really well with the classic tomato-based cocktail and they even switch the vodka for white rum if that’s what you prefer,” he adds.

Masala Library
Ask anyone who loves exploring new places in Mumbai where to go for a memorable meal and Masala Library, run by Jiggs Karla, will be one of the first names on the list. The fine-dine restaurant, located in Bandra Kurla Complex, offers up unique food preparations and twists on classic favourites.   But, we can tell you from personal experience that their drinks are just as good as their food. And, we’re not alone. Travel sales agent Sifat Shah tells us, “Masala Library is a place that I’d visit over and over again.” Her favourite drink at Masala Library is the Curry Leaf Martini — and we must say, it is our favourite drink there as well! The hint of burnt curry leaves really takes the cocktail to another level. Getting a table here will be difficult and a meal will set you back by a hefty sum, but it will be worth it. 

We may be getting a bit repetitive, but Asado is another place that is known for the delicious food on its menu — and its equally delightful cocktails. Their South American fare has us salivating at the mere thought of it — especially the perfectly-crisped pork ribs. However, their drinks are also memorable. And, for once, this is a restaurant that won’t disappoint you with a vodka-heavy cocktail menu. They have some of the best rum-based concoctions (of course!) that we’ve tried in the city.

After-work drinks
Have you had a frustrating day at work? Let’s meet for a few drinks! But, while you know you would love a drink and your friends are certain you should join them, where can you actually go to get one? We have a few ideas.

Bar Stock Exchange
A place that offers drinks at prices close to the MRP (if you’re vigilant enough) is the perfect place to indulge over the weekend, right? Well, ideally, yes. But, forget getting a table, you’ll be lucky if you get a drink at Bar Stock Exchange over the weekend! So, we recommend avoiding the weekend rush, and exploring this place on a week day instead. The concept of Bar Stock Exchange is simple; it’s based on the law of supply and demand, and popular drinks will cost more. Beating the bar stock exchange, however, is not quite as simple. The décor is alright — nothing like a real stock market — but the stock ticker displaying live prices is a nice touch. Melroy Leitao, a businessman, thinks it’s a great place for a few drinks with friends. In fact, he sees no reason why you can’t take a date to BSE either! He says, “The atmosphere is lively and the food is good. We visited on a weekday and had shots — the Kamikaze shots were just Rs 100 each!”

Monkey Bar
This newly launched bar has a decent selection of alcohol, along with a quirky monkey theme, which will really win you over. You can’t be sure you’re not in a cool European bistro... that is, until the evening is fully underway. The drinks are served in a unique manner, and the food is an absolute delight!

The Local
A really tiny pub located in south Mumbai, The Local is so well hidden that you have to find it first. Every week they change their password (check their Facebook page to find out more about their weekly passwords), which you must have in order to get in, although they will open the door if you’re fumbling to enter the password at the entrance. It’s almost exclusively dedicated to karaoke nights (there’s something practically every day of the week), but we love it! The ambience is great and the food is interesting, albeit limited in selection. However, they’ve recently expanded their food menu. There’s nothing special about their drinks menu, but with the bar area as well as the fun, sing-along atmosphere, The Local is a great place to shed your work stress.

Harry’s Bar and Café
Of all the places on this list, we feel that Harry’s is one of the most under-appreciated. But, ask anyone who has been to one of their outlets across the city (us included) and they will tell you that this place is perfect for a few drinks after work. From cheap beer on tap (they have a 500ml glass of Fosters at Rs 159) to well-priced cocktails (Rs 300-400), Harry’s has you covered. Their outlet in Andheri (w) has a large floor space, with rock and pop classics playing in the background. If you decide to heed our advice and pop over to Harry’s, come over and say hello, because we will probably be there!

Weekends with friends
Whether you want to indulge a little or are looking for good entertainment, our recommendations for where you can go to on a weekend will leave you pleased. Take a look. 

Hard Rock Café
Yes, we’ve listed Hard Rock as a quick place to pop into over the weekend, although that’s when it’s the most crowded. However, the visual appeal and loud music make Hard Rock Café a great place to spend a few hours with friends on the weekend, if you’re not too tight with your purse strings. Abbasali Kakal, a businessman, loves Hard Rock’s ambience, although he says he would never visit with family. “Its snazzy interiors are great to lounge in with friends, especially after a long week,” he tells us, adding, “I love their Loco Berry Rita, a heady mix of tequila, triple sec and raspberry and cranberry juice. It’s delicious and the flavours are the perfect mix of sweet and tangy.”

There’s almost nothing that can compare to the ambience at blueFROG. The way the tables are arranged make it perfect for live performances, which, up until now, were reserved mainly for gigs — they’ve only recently opened in earnest to theatre events, which take place once a month. To say that they have an interesting selection of drinks would be a gross understatement — they even serve Absinthe! Advertising executive Vidya Vishwanathan says she enjoys the music scene, the live bands and ambience at blueFROG. She says, “The alcohol is totally worth it. Their cosmopolitan is the best I’ve had!”

A resto-pub with an almost steam punk-like fascination with radios, Radiobar is a good place to hang out with friends and catch up over a few drinks. The pleasant atmosphere, radios and parts of boom boxes everywhere add to the appeal. Case in point is their light fixtures on the ceiling, which have what look like cassette tapes affixed onto them. The food is decently priced, but when it comes to alcohol, they have quite a selection of spirits.

A recent addition to the city’s nightlife, Hoppipola has won many of us over with its relaxing ambience and a great collection of board games. Sanjut Roy, a copywriter, is one of the many fans of this place. He tells us, “This is a great place, with good food, good drinks and a fun ambience. They have a lot of games and the entire place is littered with interesting props and designs.” We differ in our opinion about the food, but we totally agree with his views about the ambience. A weekend here with your friends will be a weekend worth remembering!  

When you’re broke
Who doesn’t experience these moments?! You want to have a drink, but don’t really have the wherewithal to do so. But, you don’t see yourself spending a weekend at a bar like Janta (Bandra) or Gokul (Colaba) either. So, what do you do? You visit these restaurants of course!

Always a favourite with the college crowd, Jughead’s is known for its budget-friendly food. A quick look at the menu and you’ll agree about how reasonably priced it is, but if you’ve ever visited, you’ll know that it is worth it. It’s so popular that when matches are on, you’ll have a hard time finding a seat in any of its outlets across the city. Kathan Dhagai, student, tells us that, at Jughead’s, it’s not so much the food and drinks as it is the atmosphere. A beer-lover at heart, he says, “It’s your typical watering hole. I love Jughead’s for the crowd that it pulls in and it is really just an amazing stop-by for a chilled beer.”

Quarterpillar is the success story of a sketchy bar that was turned into a place that would appeal to Mumbai’s young demographic. Scoring a table here on a weekend is almost impossible — so we recommend you visit and grab a table at around 7pm. As the name suggests, this place is best known for serving drinks by the quarter. So, don’t go here expecting great cocktails, but they do have a decent selection of appetisers that will go well with your drinks. IT engineer, Rahul Sawn seconds us. He says, “Quarterpillar gets the basics right — indoor and outdoor section, not too pricey and decent clientele. I haven’t been too adventurous with the drinks there, but I’d say they get the prices right. Located in Khar, it’s perfectly situated to be on a pub-hopping circuit.”

Drinks with clients
There comes a time in every professional’s life where they wonder how to entertain their clients without exposing them to the dirty underbelly of Mumbai. If you’ve reached that stage, these are where you should be going.

Silver Beach Café
From its breathtaking location, to its memorable food and drink, Silver Beach Café place is the perfect place to treat your business partners or clients to a few rounds. They have a decent selection of wines along with standard as well as unique cocktails that won’t disappoint. Add a classy ambience to the mix, and Silver Beach Café makes for the perfect semi-formal dinner post work.

The White Owl Brewery & Bistro
From after-work drinks with office colleagues to a fun weekend with friends, The White Owl is a great place to hang out, irrespective of what the occasion is. But, it has potential to be a place you can go to with people that you’re on professional terms with. For example, they recently organised an inter-company beer pong competition — yes, we wish we were part of that too! If fun and games with your office colleagues or business partners is what you’re looking for, head here on a Thursday or a Saturday, when they organise their game nights and jukebox nights. Oh, and how can we forget about their range of unique beers — that is the USP of The White Owl. You will find beers that you won’t find anywhere else in the city. The brilliant range of beer will ensure some very happy clients!

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