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Hidden Gems: 6 Cosy Indian Bars Off the Beaten Path

Hidden Gems: 6 Cosy Indian Bars Off the Beaten Path

India's after-dark scene is populated by flashy, neon-lit places where the crowd's loud and the drinks are overpriced. But we are talking about those hidden haunts where the real magic happens, where the locals assemble every other night or day, and your drink tastes like a little piece of lore. Here are our picks:

Hyderabad’s Speakeasy: Room Two

This might be a place where time seems to stand still, precisely somewhere in the 1920s, tucked away from the relentlessness of the modern world. Room Two is a speakeasy with innovative cocktails that one can relish while hearing faint jazz tunes in the background. The vintage decor adds to the experience, while the knowledgeable staff introduces you to the length and breadth of your chosen cocktail.

Delhi’s Laid-Back Hideaway: Perch

In the midst of Delhi’s humdrum, catch a break at Perch, the neighbourhood wine and coffee bar, with some fine cocktails. It’s where you go to chill, not to show off. Their pleasing but minimalistic aesthetic serves a moment of tranquillity known to European coffee bars and brunch places. Yet, there is something unmistakably Delhi about this bar, perhaps the location, which lends it an air of history and hipness.

Hidden Gems: 6 Cosy Indian Bars Off the Beaten Path

Kolkata’s Old Soul: Olypub

Walking into Olypub in Kolkata feels like stepping through a portal to another era. This place isn’t about the glitz. It’s about the grit of old retirees, the young corporate crowd, and the bunch of thrill-seeking students who know the menu by heart. Here, a simple whisky is a nod to the timelessness of Kolkata, shared amongst stories that echo through its walls.

Bangalore’s Breath of Fresh Air: Watson's

Watson’s is Bangalore’s answer to those looking for a laid-back evening under the stars. Welcoming the local crowd with open arms while offering soothing city views, their Vinifera Twist—a playful mix of Smirnoff, red wine, grape juice, and lychee—captures the essence of Bangalore’s easygoing character. Now, also in Kochi, with cocktails inspired by Kerala, Watson’s should be on your list if you are in the area.

Hidden Gems: 6 Cosy Indian Bars Off the Beaten Path

Mumbai’s Melting Pot: PJ’s

Mumbai's heartbeat is frenetic, but PJ's is where you go to dial it back. It's straightforward, unfussy, and downright welcoming with its chequered tablecloths and plastic chairs. Grabbing a cold one or a simple Smirnoff cocktail here while tucking into some classic bacon-wrapped prawns or Goan-style beef fry, mirrors the city’s diversity. Nestled in a small lane in Bandra, this bar requires a small entry fee from non-members, making you feel like you’re partaking in a community ritual.

Goa’s Community Hangout: Cajoo's Bar

Last stop: Cajoo's in Goa, where every visit feels like the whole town is celebrating. With prices that remind you of simpler times and a menu that’s as friendly as the staff, it’s the epitome of Goan laid-back charm. Whether it’s a concoction blending local feni with a hint of vodka to keep things interesting or just a cold brew, you're tasting the laid-back, communal vibe that makes Goa... well, Goa. With no-frills bar bites and a blackboard for a menu, this bar aims to bring back the communal drinking culture of the place.



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