Mumbai Nightlife

No other city in India knows how to have a good time quite like Mumbai. Here you'll find everything from dingy "permit rooms" (basically cafeteria-style rooms with a liquor license) so dirty they make an American dive bar look like the Rainbow Room, and clubs so fancy they make the Rainbow Room look like a permit room. Whatever destination you choose, they all hold their own special charms. If you're

in the mood for a cheap tipple, and you appreciate the character of a down and dirty dive bar, head to Gokul, behind the Taj Mahal Palace, it's the most tourist-friendly of Mumbai's permit rooms.

If you're more inclined to clubbing, Mumbai has lots to choose from—though club owners seem to have decided that the only option that works in this city are lounges with blaring music and tiny dance floors: be forewarned, though, that prices are steep, and you'll often pay New York prices, or more, for your drinks. Note, too, that many clubs and bars have "couples" policies, wherein a "stag" (lone man) is not permitted to enter without a woman. This might be a circuitous attempt to prevent brawls, pickup scenes, and prostitution—or just a club owner figuring that in a country where many more guys are allowed to stay out late than girls, a club full of dudes isn't going to attract much business. To avoid an unpleasant encounter at the door, check with your hotel staff to find out whether your destination club or bar will allow you to enter if you're a man traveling alone or in a group of men. Dress nicely and you'll probably get in; an advance call from your hotel concierge might also make your entry smoother.

One area where the suburbs have it over the city is nightlife, and the after-dark scene in the wealthy enclaves of Juhu and Bandra thrive on suburbia's young nouveau riche as well as city folk willing to travel for a good night out.

Revelry peaks from Thursday to Sunday nights, with an early-20s-to-mid-30s crowd. Pubs open daily at around 6 or 7 (except a few, which open in the afternoon) and close by 1:15 am or a little later, depending, honestly, on how much they've paid the local cops. Some places collect a cover charge at the door. As in any metropolis, the reign of a nightspot can be ephemeral. Ask a young hotel employee to tell you where the best clubs or bars are, as trends change quickly in Mumbai.

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Colaba 20

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Juhu, Bandra, and the Western Suburbs 3

Fort and Marine Drive 3

Malabar Hill and Environs 1

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Mumbai Nightlife

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Aer

  • Bars/Pubs

The rooftop club at the Four Seasons is one of the most popular—and most expensive—bars in town, but it offers stunning views of...

Blue Frog

  • Music Clubs

International bands and local acts play Tuesday through Sunday nights at this spacious, trendy nightclub with top-notch acoustics. Munchies...

Busaba

  • Bars/Pubs

In addition to its Asian restaurant, which serves a mix of Burmese, Chinese, Vietanmese, and Thai, Busaba has a relaxed but small and...

Dome

  • Bars/Pubs

With some of the best views of the city, the open-air Dome attracts a young, good-looking crowd who sit, amid candlelight, on plush white...

Eau Bar

  • Bars/Pubs

Facing the Arabian Sea, this bar is elegant and more reserved than many of its peers, and attracts a rather high-class clientele for...

Geoffrey's

  • Bars/Pubs

A relatively staid yuppie crowd likes to hang out in the clubby (in the British sense) setting here, but it's also one of the few bars...

Gokul

  • Bars/Pubs

The safest destination to test out one of Mumbai's infamous permit rooms offers a no-frills, dingy atmosphere—this is the kind of place...

Koyla

  • Bars/Pubs

Koyla is a rooftop hangout with hookahs, Arabian music, a good breeze, and tasty barbecue bites. No alcohol is served. ...

Olive Bar and Restaurant

  • Bars/Pubs

This candlelit nightspot draws Mumbai's who's who for bites of top-notch antipasts, risotto, seafood salad, and sips of caipiroskas (caipirinhas...

The Barking Deer

Stay long enough in Mumbai, and the words "cold beer on tap" start to sound like some distant faraway dream. This bar's founder Greg...

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