While stand-alone bars in the city have certainly grabbed our attention, there is something about the bars in hotel that yet have us obsessed! While most bars these days are crowded and have no qualms in letting in just about anyone, there is something classy and appealing about hotel bars; I’m assuming its old world charm, restricted entry or its 3 pm curfew!
Agreed, these bars may fret up your weekend spend by a few thousand but when the climate and cocktails are to die for – whose thinking twice?
Sip fancy cocktails or sample locally brewed beer – peruse our list of the best hotel bars in the city then choose your poison and preferred setting.
#7 Opium Den, Trident Nariman Point
One of our favourites is Opium Den! The intimate yet inviting aura can barely been found within the city. While happy hours are from 6 pm to 8 pm on a regular basis, we fancy this place for a drink much after 9 pm. Genuinely one of the finest and most extensive wine lists in the city, Opium Den entertain guests upto 1:30 am. From strawberry to green apple, their bartenders mix some fresh and flavoured mojitos.
#6 Harbour Bar, Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, Colaba
People will make life-changing decisions here in business and in love, as they always have done at The Harbour Bar. Intimate and classy, it exudes an old world charm offset by contemporary Indian art. Prohibition era cocktails under the heading “Since 1933,” include almost 30 whiskeys from the 1930s and 40 single malts. “Global Tapas” such as guacamole panipuri with tamarind dressing, crab samosas and Iberico ham with figs go well with varieties of craft beer which you won’t find anywhere else in the city.
#5 Wink, Vivanta by Taj – President, Cuffe Parade
The swanky bar at the Taj President (as we call it) is honestly dressed to impress! Designed by the likes of Noriyoshi Muramatsu (who designed ZUMA, London), Wink entails a cutting edge Japanese design. Fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices are what give ‘Winktinis’ a fresh twist. Try the fresh herb, fruit and vegetable herb based Detox cocktails. And that’s just for starters. The resident mixologist J. Majerik takes colour, form and style to a different plane.
#4 China House, Grand Hyatt Santacruz (E)
One of the most preferred bars beyond the realms of South Mumbai, China House is plush and stylish! What we loved about the decor is the centre, island-style LED light bar, with an array of bottles and unconventional glassware that appear suspended on large glass shelves overhead. The in-house signature beverages, from the classics to the unique post-dinner cocktails are definitely worth a mention!
#3 Long & Short, Intercontinental Hotel Marine Drive
Long & Short, positioned as a gastropub, is also the first to break the snooty five-star hotel lounge-bar stereotype. There’s a chalkboard menu behind the bar with drink prices that look like they’ve been slashed to half when compared with Dome’s menu. For instance, the Long Island Iced Tea, which has been our drink of choice at Dome, costs about Rs.1,200. It is just Rs.650 at Long & Short. Well, it certainly holds its own when it comes to mixed drinks. Experiment with the Pineapple Upside Down Cake cocktail and The Melon and Mint Julep.
#2 Aer, Four Seasons, Worli
When it comes to a fabulous view of Mumbai’s skyline, Aer has nailed it! Perched on the 34th floor of the decadent Four Seasons Hotel, Aer has earned the tag of Mumbai’s highest rooftop bar. While we can vouch for the innovative cocktails and the extensive list of domestic and imported wine, we loved the tapas offered! Think goat cheese and pistachio truffles, whiskey-smoked salmon and ginger prawn dumplings.
#1 Li Bai, Palladium Hotel, Worli
Occupying a prime position 500 feet above sea-level is Palladium Hotel’s very own Li Bai lounge. Owing to its stratospheric location, Li-Bai seems almost cocooned in the clouds. Perched on the 37th floor, Li Bai is Mumbai’s highest bar and has a very intriguing story attached to it. Since the bar takes its name from the famous Tsang Dynasty poet, the cocktail menu is inspired by his life. On offer are a large number of Asian-inspired cocktails such as the Du Fu (sake, orange liqueur, fresh lime and sugar); Smoking China (gin, green tea, apple juice and lime juice with apple smoke); and Spring Wind (vodka, jasmine tea, cinnamon syrup and lime juice).