Mumbai was a city made famous to me because of Michael Palin. My entire trip to India featured a load of Palin flashbacks and I simply loved my time in Mumbai based at the Traveller’s Inn. There were so many highlights here. Finding a bar that brews its own beer, watching BBC to see that the Cherries have beaten Scum (Southampton) 2-0, touring Elephanta Island, the morning traffic madness as I sweated on my walk to the hotel. Mumbai brimmed with Indian chaos on every corner and I felt it was time for some beers to escape the wildness.
Perhaps the defining alcohol moment in Mumbai would be the night that my backpacking buddies Joe and Katia and I had a BOMBAY Sapphire actually in Bombay! We had gin and tonics in Mumbai.
1.The White Owl
The White Owl is an oddball for sure! To get into this bar, you have to walk through an area of slums, then into a posh residential block, through a parking lot/mini-storey car park and then out of nowhere is this swanky bar that brews its own beer!
The manager came over and let us try a sample of all 6 beers and ciders they make. Of these one was called an Irish Red and there was a Honey Ale which was my favourite. Katia preferred the French style cider.
In a vain attempt to catch AFC Bournemouth v. Scumdog Southampton live, I headed to Irish House. Normally Irish pubs have live sport and stay open late. This one closed at 1 am, the match was at 1.45 am in India and it didn’t show much sport except cricket.
However, the bar had a great selection of bar food and even better – cheap pitchers of beer for us to share.
3.Taj Mahal Palace Hotel Bar
I did the Palin and entered into the Taj Mahal Palace. The beers in the bar were slightly over priced and as a budget tight-ass cheapskate whackpacker, I had to decline a drink. But I did go in and see the bar, chat to the staff and check the menu.
Without a shadow, Café Universal is the most charming and endearing on this list and even better – they had fans and Wi-Fi so I could sit here on a day and work on my laptop away from the sweat and chaos that lurks outside.
The bar was established in 1921 and since India gained independence, this has been run by Gustad Dehmiri, his wife and son. The café boasts an old world charm and should be number one of your list when whackpacking in Mumbai. Even better, it is literally next door to where we stayed at the Traveller’s Inn.
Lassis are excellent and they have a recommended five storey burger at Cafe Universal which my budget sadly didn’t stretch too, though I was tempted!
5.Bombay Sapphire Bar
The coolest thing was – we wanted a gin and tonic and it had to be Bombay Sapphire. We wanted to have Bombay Sapphire in Bombay.
However, ridiculously Bombay Sapphire was the dearest one on the menu but we went for it anyway. The gin prices were: Blue Riband – 81 Rupees, Beefeater – 208 Rupees, Bombay Sapphire – 235 Rupees. But we had to go for it and obviously could only afford one.
There are a load more cool bars in the city, but India isn’t really a “party travel destination”, it’s more spiritual. That said, I can probably also compiled top 5s for Vagator and New Delhi.
Here are some videos from the bars in Mumbai: