Our Best Bars | MF Guide

By Vansh Panjabi August 31, 2016
Illustration: Brandon Joseph

Mumbai’s bar scene is buzzing with creative cocktails, malts and liquors from around the world. Not only have bartenders upped their game, we’ve recently been to some places that stand out for their vibe, crowd, and atmosphere. These are places you can mingle and pre-game at, but we’d say you’re only doing justice to what they offer by ordering a cocktail. These are the bar counters we find most grand and inviting:

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Escobar in the evening. Image: Zomato

Escobar, Linking Road
Initially hard to distinguish between a bar and a lounge, Escobar’s massive bar counter helps you make your mind up. A little research tells us this bar counter is the longest and can seat more people than any other in Mumbai.
They’ve got a mammoth cocktail menu comprising of classic and in-house concoctions. Plus Shooters, a Sangria menu or Malt/Scotch/Whisky menu, counting up to 43 (yes, you read that right!) different concoctions.
A true bar menu, with a true bar counter and a truly staggering variety in a spacious, subtle lightwood interior and exterior sections.
Quick tip: Their Whisky Sour is absolutely smashing.


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Masala Bar fully lit by candlelight. Image: MasalaBar.in

Masala Bar, Carter Road
To be engulfed here in dark interiors with an abundance of candles providing light creates an atmosphere right in between tavern and a classy cocktail joint. However, the originality here lies behind the bar. Their must-try cocktail is the Bollywood Bhang – a Thandai with the ‘Bhang’ replaced by Vodka (for obvious legal issues). Science is made fun with drinks such as the Malabar Point which blends Vodka, Thyme, Apple and Chamomile into a representation of the literal Malabar Point in South Mumbai. MasalaBar is more experience than place with its gorgeous interiors, astounding view of the Arabian Sea and creative genius behind their mixology.
Quick tip: Date night here is great for the candlelight, but switch your phone’s flash on to read the menu.


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The Daily’s compact interiors. Image: HungryForever.com

The Daily Bar & Kitchen, Bandra Talao
A personal favourite for its craft beer from the local Gateway Brewery and music that’s fun and experimental. Their indoor and outdoor sections are spacious with plentiful tables for seating; hitting the equilibrium between a chilled out lounge and a sit-and-relax sort of bar.
The cocktail menu spans over Signature mixtures, Classic cocktails, ‘Pre-Prohibition’ themed drinks, ‘Tiki’ tropical cocktails, as well as Molecular cocktails. While it is an impressively vast and diverse menu, their quality of ingredients is undoubtedly spot-on.
We’ve enjoyed the Molecular-themed Gypsy Queen (whisky, cinnamon, clove, peach, apple wood smoke), the Signature Enchanted Piper (vodka, peach schnapps, green tea, sage, cardamom) and the Tiki-themed Zombie (white, dark and gold rum, peach and pineapple juice), to say the least.
Quick tip: For nights when you want cocktails, order a Bartender In A Bottle.


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Local brews at True Tramm Trunk. Image: YouTube

True Tramm Trunk, Juhu
Where else could you have ice sitting in an engraved center on your table to maintain your drink’s temperature? If that isn’t unique enough, they also have a desi approach to their cocktails with unique drinkware and nostalgic flavours.
True Tramm Trunk recreates DesiDaru, but with Western and local (legal) alcohols and liquors. These ‘Trunk Cocktails’ – which are well priced at Rs.350 each – come in flattened, wide bottles with slim, short necks like old-school bottles, Desi style. The Gulabo U.P. is made with House-Made Coconut Rum and Pineapple Juice, the Dr. Blendy Maharashtra is made of House-Made Brandy, Apple, Spices and Hot Water, where as the Pawsar Country Mumbai is made of Tequila, Triple Sec, Coffee Beans and Sprite. Each bottle has a label with original artwork inspired by its region.
Quick tip: Experiment across the country’s flavours.

The relaxed ambience at Brewbot

The relaxed outdoor section at Brewbot. Image: Burrp.com

Brewbot Eatery & Pub Brewery, Andheri West
A real tavern-like ambience, with a brick wall-structured counters and booths, finished with lightwood table tops and enclosed spaces between the bar counter and seating arrangements make for an intimate, boozy setting. Their Craft Beer spans every palette, from Malt Liquor flavors, to fruity bursts of Ciders and European, opaque, cloudy Wheat and Stout flavors. Well-suited to the Neo-Mumbai age of Craft Beer, each pint on the menu comes with a description of its appearance, style, ingredients, and taste, making Brewbot a solid bet to learn about the brew you’re about to enjoy. Besides the beer, they offer cocktails, pitchers of Sangrias, Mojitos and Margaritas as well as an impressive wine list that goes by the glass or bottle.
Quick tip: We’re all about the craft beer here.


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View from a bunker booth at Capital Social. Image: WhatsHot.in

Capital Social, BKC
Smaller in size than most other Socials scattered over Mumbai, Capital Social is known for peppy music, a detailed, funky ambience and cocktails (duh!). Our favourite thing about this outlet is the vibe. Themed around communism, the booths feel a little more glamourous, the benches a little more spartan, and the loo feels like a legit military bunker. We were as amused as spooked on our first visit.
The ‘Social Signatures’ are classic cocktails with a twist. The added local flavors cater to our palette with the Cosmo-Explosions (has candyfloss), the Acharoska (has Lime Pickle). They also offer ‘The Longest Long-Island Iced Tea’ (L.L.I.I.T) which comes in Cola (The Classic) or Apple with Cranberry Juice (The Toxic) or Blue Curacao (The Electric) and 2 cocktails available nowhere else.
Quick tip: The Kurry Konfidential (with actual Curry Leaves, Tamarind and Jaggery) or the Laal Salaam (containing Beet Juice and a sweet and sour mix) must be had for novelty.


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Exterior, night at The Bombay Canteen. Image: veen83.wordpress.com

The Bombay Canteen, Lower Parel
With a taste for the vintage, old Bombay, this casual restaurant and bar offers a Fancy Drinks menu compiled of in-house concoctions that send every Mumbaikar down memory lane. Their behind-the-bar mixology includes ingredients of old and new, such as recommended Egg Whites in their fizzy Gin cocktails and Kala Namak in their Old Monk cocktails, creating a nostalgic experience for visitors.
Similarly, they still offer classic cocktails be it a Mojito or a Whisky Sour – which keeps them from going overboard hipster – and their bartenders will gladly conjure up certain cocktails that are desired but not on the menu, boosting their hospitality by a grand degree. Their variety of Punches (a Mumbai invention) and local Craft Beer make their bar a truly complete one, with a well-classified wine listing and an extensive selection of Malts from around the world.
Quick tip: Order a Punch! The group cocktail was invented in Mumbai and no one makes it quite like them.


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Regulars call it PDT for Please Don’t Tell. Image: Burrp.com

Please Don’t Tell (PDT), Lower Parel
One of Mumbai’s few ‘speakeasy’ style bars, PDT is themed around the 1920s Prohibition-era in America. The focus is on the originality of cocktails with aspirations to raise bartending here into an art form, starting with their in-house specials and their ‘Prohibition Classic Cocktails’.
They recommend the French 75, with Gin, Sparkling Wine and Lime Juice, however I personally found the Bee’s Knees (Gin, Honey Syrup, Lime Juice) more0 intriguing. The cocktail menu is astonishing, with a whole range of Liquors, Malts, Beer and Wine to leave you spoilt for choice.
The highlight of the décor is a mural of a woman’s face with a finger on her lip, spread across a bare-looking beige wall at the entrance. Vintage looking rotary-dial telephones, phone booth doorways, grungy and bare tables, flooring and walls complement their chic-antique vibe. Visit for a sip of the style of the past!
Quick tip: Anything from the cocktails, without a doubt.


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The bar section at 145. Check out the roof! Image: WhatsHot.in

145, Kala Ghoda
This is the only stop required for comfort food and intoxicating drinks at a fantastic price in a lively atmosphere. Two parallel bar counters create room for those lacking a table to be sit and sip, with a pool table and contemporary décor keeping the environment chic.
From a personal point of view, their shooters are ridiculously good, with my favorite being the Thadani’s Toxic Brew (Dark Rum, Peach Liquor Flames Fumes chased down with House Beer). Their extensive cocktail menu makes for fascinating reading.
Experiment with unconventional ingredients such as Orgeat, a Secret Wood Mix, Cool Cucumber, Lemongrass, Cumin Spice and Chaat at the disposal of their bartenders. All the cocktails are well-sized and potent at less than INR 300. This one is Mumbai’s hottest bar locationright now, whether you’re 20 or 50.
Quick tip: They have a pool table and great Toddy if you want to drink when you’re under the weather.


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The elegant, warm bar counter at Woodside Inn. Image: Burrp.com

Woodside Inn, Colaba
I’m a sucker for bars with wooden interiors, replicating the Irish/English pub style. I’m an even bigger sucker for a place like this if they serve Guinness! Serving Craft Beer from Gateway Brewing Co, Independence from Pune, as well as from Bira, Woodside Inn had my beer-loving soul at hello. You’ll often see the compact yet classy bar counter here filled with enthusiastic beer and cocktail drinkers.
Their mammoth bar snacks menu is perfect with some of the most consistent cocktails in the city, especially a Charcuterie ‘Cheese and Meat Board’ as well as ‘Butter Garlic Crab Bruschettas with Flame Roasted Peppers’.
Quick tip: They probably have the nicest playlist in the city, whether for breakfast or at midnight.


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Cuban vibes at Havana. Image: Zomato

Havana, Colaba
This Cuban themed joint gets lit every evening once the crowds start pouring in, staying open until 3am on most nights. Their selection of Shots and Bombshots are innovative with tropical flavors to suit the Cuban vibe, such as the Cocobat (White Rum, Coconut and Lemon) or the Dark Passion (Dark Rum, Passion Fruit and Lemon).
Havana’s bar selection is vast and houses select Malts, Wines and Vodkas, also used in the selection of Signature & Classic cocktails. They serve three versions of the Cuba Libre – using either White Rum, Old Monk, Spiced Rum or Bacardi Superior.
The colourful, bare walls contrast with lighter shades of sky blue and a creamy yellow, transporting one to Cuba. Luxurious leather booths, vintage yellow lamps for ambience and of course, the obvious mural of Cuban revolutionary Che Geuvara round off this place.
Quick tip: Cuba Libre pitchers are surprisingly VFM.


Funky interiors at Monkey Bar. Image: Zomato

Monkey Bar, Bandra
It’s the perfect place to enjoy a buzzing drinking session with your friends. Its fuss-free décor along with the comfortable seating and upbeat music make it a happy hangout place in the evenings. This well-spaced bar also has an outdoor section, where you can enjoy their super cocktails such as the Copper Monkey. They serve interesting bar food as well as hearty main dishes, many of which are examples of fusion done right.
Quick tip: Forget LIITs, their Saat Rasta has 7 types of alcohol for just 800 bucks. One drink is all it takes.


Farzi Cafe

Elegant bar setup at Farzi Cafe. Image: Zomato

Farzi Cafe, Lower Parel
A modern and funky bar that serves some of the city’s most consistent and inventive food and drinks. Tucked inside Kamala Mills, their dimly-lit ambience and peppy music combine for an energetic vibe. Farzi Café is the perfect example of extraordinary technique and the use of molecular gastronomy in both, their food and drinks, making this bar a trendsetter.
Quick tip: The Mishti Doi Spheres and Farzi Green Apple Foamartini look good and taste better.



Bohemian feels at Doppio. Image: Zomato

Doppio Bar & Brasserie, Breach Candy
One of town’s newest fancy spots. The interiors balance being Bohemian with being elegant. The dim lighting, cozy seats and dark upholstery make it the perfect place for a night out on the town. They have small plates and large plates on their menu, and a very impressive collection of alcohol and cocktails too.
We were pleased to know they serve Japanese whiskies, which are steadily becoming some of the best in the world.
Quick tip: Try their Coffee Liqueurs, of which they have the best collection in the city.



Interior shot at MRP. Image: Zomato

MRP, Dadar
Here’s a cool hangout place for a drunken games night with your friends! We like MRP for being a reasonably-priced bar, along with all day offers on both food and drinks. The minute you enter the bar, you’ll sense its playful spirit with waist-high Jenga towers and game boxes on each table. The interiors have a tinge of American diner in them, and the beer pong arena outside is great for groups.
Quick tip: The Feng Shui Pot will wow anyone, even if they don’t like whisky.

What’s your favourite bar and what do you like to drink there? Tell us in the comments below!
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