May 25, 2020
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Barbarians At The Gate

Tavernistas nominate the best bars in their cities

Barbarians At The Gate
Apoorva Salkade
Barbarians At The Gate


Farzana Contractor
editor, Upper Crust

  1. Dome, the Intercontinental at Marine Drive: Poolside bar facing the Arabian Sea. The white ambience, huge cushions make it even more beautiful!
  2. Tote at Mahalakshmi Race Course for its unusual and warm atmosphere, wooden furniture and split levels. It feels like the inside of a tree trunk. The finger snacks are amazing.
  3. Wink, the Taj President for being a great business bar. But also, Aer, Four Seasons, for its awesome view of the city and Leopold Cafe at Colaba for the buzz—even greater after 26/11; Shiro, Worli, for its innovative decor and minimal rates.


Alok Chandra
Wine consultant & president, Bangalore Wine Club

  1. City Bar in UB City on Vittal Mallya Road: Most happening place in town.
  2. Blue Bar at Taj Westend Hotel: Absolute top-end.
  3. Shiro in UB City on Vittal Mallya Road: Terrific ambience and for all ages. Also, Pub World on Residency Road: Good for all seasons.


Debashree Roy
(Who starred in Aparna Sen’s 36 Chowringhee Lane and now more recently in Sukno Lanka) likes her alcohol and makes no bones about it 

The best bars in Calcutta are the club bars, each has an ambience that puts you at’re left alone without people prying and there are some nice cocktails; my three favourites:

  1. The Tollygunge Club
  2. The Calcutta Rowing Club
  3. The bar at the CC & FC


Shriya Saran
Telugu cinema actress  

  1. Liquids, Banjara Hills: One of the best pubs in the city. A lounge bar where one can actually lounge around on relaxing sofas and get a view of the Banjara Lake through its glass facade. A place where the city’s swish set goes to mingle and get noticed.
  2. N Bar & Grill, Jubilee Hills: Premium, unique lounge bar with modern interiors, high ceilings, very gothic and retro. Almost everything is black. Love it for its comfort factor (it is owned by my friend and fellow actor Nagarjuna) and excellent food and drinks menu.


Satkrit Krishna
Clubgoer and fashion designer from a family of silk-weavers in Kanchipuram  

  1. Blend on Anna Salai: High-energy contemporary bar serving cocktails and tapas; with liquid crystal house music. I’m not much of a drinker, just a beer, but it was so exciting to be here all through the World Cup. 
  2. Leather Bar at The Park: The rich black leather floor blends into olive suede walls and is in complete contrast to the virginal white lobby. I like the interiors—very chic.
  3. Distil at the Taj Connemara and Star Rock tie for third place: Distil, which attracts a mature crowd, for its chic interiors, fresh fruity mixes and tall drinks. Star Rock for being a very popular restobar with good music.


Priya Mirchandani
Who, when she’s not nursing a hangover (sometimes even when she is!), edits a fashion magazine 

  1. Stone Water Grill, Koregaon Park: This restobar has a distinctive Parisian vibe. It nestles on the river bank, is open-to-sky, plays fantastic house, serves formidable food, plays host to the tres chic and has a wine list that compares (well, almost) with any bar on the Left Bank of the Seine.
  2. Hard Rock Cafe, Koregaon Park: Right next to Stone Water Grill rests a gigantic stone pyramid, crowned with a tiara of skylights. Step in and you enter the familiar interiors of the Hard Rock Cafe. Within, there’s heart-warming rock, good ol’ American comfort food, hourly bar-top jigs by the staff and a huge circular bar stacked with all the favourites.
  3. High Spirits, Koregaon Park: One of Pune’s veteran watering holes, ‘Hi Spi’ is where buddies hang out in their bermudas, and corporate divas kick off their stilettos. Delightful courtyard and patio seating.


Raaja Bhasin
Historian who knows the hill station inside out

  1. The ADC bar at the Gaiety Theatre complex: Well-stocked, comfortable, fine range of Scotch whiskys and wines. Old-world bartenders, heavy wood-textured decor.
  2. The bar at the Clarkes Hotel: Old-fashioned, large open room. Attracts not just hotel guests but locals too.
  3. The bar at the Oberoi Cecil: Has all the fancy new stuff, which youngsters like.


Bhaichand Patel
Former UN diplomat, man about town and author of the Penguin Book of Cocktails 

  1. The Blue Bar, Taj Palace Hotel: This has to be the most elegant bar in Delhi, if not the country. If you are in the mood for seduction, this is the place where you might get lucky. The timber deck outside has a romantic view of the lawns and the lit-up pool. Don’t turn up before ten; this is a place for night birds. Do order a vodka martini laced with lemon and basil.
  2. Olive Bar & Kitchen, Mehrauli: People from the fashion industry hang out at Olive, Delhi’s other favourite night spot. On some nights, the men are more beautiful than the women. The ambience is Mediterranean; the terrace offers a lovely view of the Qutab Minar next door. Great Mojitos!
  3. India International Centre bar: The glassware and the cutlery are better suited to a dhaba, the cocktails are terrible, the snacks haven’t changed or improved in over 20 years. But this is my ‘local pub’ and it attracts people connected, however remotely, to arts or literature, who enjoy a tipple in the evening. Mercifully, politicians keep away since Soniaji and Advaniji frown upon drinking in public.


Arun Pottamkulam
Runs a shipping and logistics firm 

Mattancherry Bar at Taj Malabar on Willingdon Island: The harbinger of a drinking culture in Kochi, the shift away from hard drinking to social drinking. Cosmopolitan, both Indians and foreigners, men and women. Couples walk in freely and women shed their inhibitions.

Eva Lounge Bar, Dream Hotel: Full-fledged discotheque, good music, a magnet for youngsters.

Cochin Trader, Trident Hotel: Captures the business and commercial ambience of Kochi; also, the bar at the Cochin Yacht Club on the Vembanad Lake.


Wendell Rodricks
Fashion designer and Goa icon    

Goa has a bar at every turn. Locals joke that there are three or four bars near each chapel. These bars are noisy, thriving affairs. All you need to do is turn around to anyone and talk. A good starting point is the price of fish. That should set off a dozen viewpoints.

  1. Titos: There’s never a dull moment at Titos. The DJs are the best. The ambience is otherworldly. There are pole dancers. Pretty girls are hauled up on the bar tops to dance. This must be India’s most happening bar. If you want to experience a slice of Ibiza in India, go to Titos.
  2. Down the Road: Off the quaint Rua de Ourem bridge in the Fontainhas quarter of Panjim, Down the Road sits at the corner of an old Portuguese-style mansion. On Saturdays, the great drinks and delicious snacks attracts crowds that spill over onto the pavement. With its carnival atmosphere and true Goan flavour, it has carved a niche for itself in just a couple of years.
  3. Joets: South of the Zuari river at Bogmalo, the best party is at Joets. This beach shack begins the evening as a restaurant and ends as a bar. With the Arabian Sea a few feet away, a walk on the sand, drink in hand, under the stars or a full moon is sheer paradise. Joets also enlists the best singing talent in Goa. On karaoke nights, this must be the only place on the planet where a person with mediocre talent dare not approach the mike.


H. Kishie Singh
Who loves his cars, food and drink

  1. Rustles at Hotel Mountview in Sector 10: Everything for everyone—from rum and coke to a proper wine list, a variety of Scotch whiskys and even those ghastly readymade cocktails you get nowadays. Pleasant atmosphere, subdued lighting.
  2. Bristol Hotel bar in Zirakpur: A lounge area divided into four or five sections of different sizes, a well-stocked bar supported by a restaurant specialising in Mediterranean cuisine. Since it is on the Chandigarh-Delhi highway, you will find people from Delhi, Chandigarh, Manali or even Punjab here—the well-heeled in their Mercs, usually well-behaved.  
  3. The bar at Four S's in Sector 35: One of the few places in Chandigarh where you get genuine draught beer (on tap, not the branded variety).


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