Delhi’s Hot New Bars And Pubs

Over the last few months, Delhi has received much-needed reinforcements to its jaded nightlife. The capital is now abuzz with Prohibition-style speakeasies, Parisian lounge bars, and new nightspots that offer a head-spinning mix of cocktails. Here’s a list of cool new hangouts that you can choose from on your next visit to the city:

THE DIRTY MARTINI Where: Mehrauli Why: It’s the 1920s all over again! A time when cocktails and martinis were much sought after and consumed surreptitiously from china teacups. The Dirty Martini recreates the hedonistic era through its focus on velvet walls, pretty murals and a shiny piano, which takes centre stage. Often frequented by celebrities, this ‘speakeasy’ offers an array of classic and contemporary martinis. With the bar turning out the signature special “dirty martini” and Etta James’s soulful voice setting the mood for the rest of the night, this place will make you long to keep coming back again and again. Eat: Snack on any one of these must try appetizers: PB & J sandwich, Havana Joe, Botley Bag Lady’s Favourite. Drink: Swoon over celebrity bartender Zdenek Kastanek’s potent infusions: the Jasmine Martini and, of course, The Dirty Martini. Olive Bar and Kitchen, One Style Mile, Haveli No. 6/8, Kalka Das Marg, Mehrauli, Delhi (+91 11 2957 4444; Open 7pm onwards Wednesday-Sunday)

PCO Where: Vasant Vihar Why: Turn back the clock and wind your way through a dark lane to a nondescript door. Punch in the secret code at the black phone box and enter this smoky jazz haven to experience a secretive, Prohibition-style night on the town. The long basement bar has comfortable swivel chairs and cosy leather armchairs mostly occupied by those who have a taste for old-fashioned tunes and classic cocktails of a forgotten era. The bartender is known to whip up some ingenious creations. Eat: Try the Mushroom-cheese bruschetta and roast chicken salad. Drink: Sip on the Clover’s Club (gin with lemon and egg white). D4, D Block Market, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi (+91 98118 48259; Open 1pm-1am daily)

ANIDRA Where: Lodhi Road Why: The night’s always young at this sprawling island bar, which is open 24x7. The long wooden bar gives way to dark velvet booths, where guests can order from a list of uniquely created cocktails. The lovely candle-lit windows overlook the lush, green outdoor space and the music alternates between house and pop. Live bands and DJs are known to perform here occasionally. Eat: Order the sushi and you won’t be disappointed. Drink: The cocktail list is split into three categories: Insomnia Guaranteed, Twisted Classics and Flavored Martini’s. Special mention goes out to Curvaceous Watermelon, Aam Sutra, Candied Caipiroska, Yellow Belly and Snap Frost Cosmo.  Andira, The Lodhi, Lodhi Road, New Delhi (+91 11 4363 3333; Open 8pm-12.30am)

B-BAR Where: Saket Why: There’s no escaping this crossover Parisian lounge-bar. First Paris, then London, and after successful openings in Prague, Keiv, Dubai, Manila, Monte Carlo and Budapest, Buddha Bar has finally arrived in the capital, rebranding itself as B-Bar. The spectacularly vast indoor space and the stunning elaborate decor feature several Buddha statues perched overhead that form a pleasing backdrop to the soothing lounge music. B-bar appeases the city revellers with its classy decor and lip-smacking cocktails inspired by Asian flavours. Eat: Nothing but Sushi. Choose any of the Sashimi options or the Maki rolls. Drink: Opt for the Maha Bodhi (pandan infused vodka, sweet sake, cranberry juice, passionfruit, mango and blueberry pure‘es) or the Hideyoshi (mix of orange vodka, strawberry pure’e, mix berries tea, ginger, mint leaves and sugarcane syrup). B-Bar, Level four, Select Citywalk, Saket, Delhi (+91 11 46098989; Open 6pm-1am)

ON THE WATERFRONT Where: Lodhi Road Why: As the name suggests, this restaurant-cum-bar has a wonderful setting, which is literally “on the waterfront”. The exceptional ambience, gorgeous modern interiors with wonderful soothing music against a serene backdrop makes this an ideal spot to stop by for a glass of wine. Take your pick from an extensive wine list. Eat: The Canadian Pork Belly from the Robata Grill. Drink: Three Grapes, Sazerac, Watermelon Martini and Waterfront Caipirinha. On the Waterfront, The Lodhi, Lodhi Road, New Delhi 110003 (+91 11 4363 3413; Open 11am-12.30am)

SKOOTER Where: Chanakyapuri Why: Scoot along to Hotel Samrat and enter the pink neon-lit confines of Skooter to have the ride of your life. High on biker themed graphics and velvet sofas, all covered in shades of pink and black, this fantastic nightspot offers a string of appealing spirits and plays a mix of house and Bollywood tracks that will most definitely have guests up on their feet and shaking a leg on the dance floor. Eat: The tomato and olive crostini and bruschetta is a good choice. Drink: Try the refreshing fresh fruit martini. Skooter, Hotel Samrat, Kautilya Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi (+91 11 30146022 ext 610; Open 9pm-1.30am

AZ BAR Where: Mehrauli Why: This exceptional music venture has lived up to its name and is now croaking up some delicious concoctions of exotic stimulants. Look around to see low slung couches and patchwork cushions with quirky curios that make up the subtle and chic decor of Az Bar. The bar stocks an exhaustive selection of aperitifs, malts, bourbons and liqueurs.  The music is even more addictive with popular live bands and artistes from all over entertaining music enthusiasts. Eat: The Lamb Three Kebabs and the Shotgun Chicken (spicy chicken drumsticks) come highly recommended by the chef. Drink: When you are at the Frog, order the megaFROG (four shots of alcohol with three cocktail varieties, a whisky base, a rum base and a vodka base) or go for the house favourites the Scarlet, Dawn, the blueFROG and the Wasabi Bloody Mary. Az Bar, blueFROG, The Kila, Seven Style Mile, Opposite the Qutub Minar, Mehrauli, New Delhi (+91 11 3080 0300. Open noon-1am)

24/7 Where: Connaught Place Why: Swing along to the 24/7 Bar, a place that never sleeps. In the past, the bar has hosted night-long performances by celebrated disc jockeys. It possesses a huge wine cellar that houses the finest wines from all over the world and is known to dabble in modern-day kitchen experiments such as molecular mixology. If you are pondering where to stop for a quick drink in the wee hours, 24/7 is the place to be. Eat: Sample the Smoked Salmon Crostini and Grilled Prawn with garlic and paprika. Drink: The Lalit Cocktail (peach schnapps and cointreau) and Grey Goose Vodka. 24/7, The Lalit, Barakhamba Avenue, Connaught Place, New Delhi (+91 11 4444 777; Open 24 hours daily)

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Beverly Smart


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