Swinging in the Hip City of Bengaluru
The following hip spots are all basically close enough to each other to paint the town red with a number of venues; just call a cab. Start (or end) with Park.hotel's i-BAR, still one of Bengaluru's most happening spots, particularly on frenetic Friday's, which are dedicated to Bollywood. Alternatively, head for 13th Floor (Ivory Tower Hotel; Barton Centre, M.G. Rd.; tel. 080/4178-3333; www.hotelivorytower.com; dress code for men), a sexy 120-seater rooftop cocktail lounge where you get a large dose of the Bengaluru skyline -- this is definitely the place to be if any day-night cricket matches are going on at the near-by Chinnaswamy Stadium, where everyone downs a few extras with every six hit, irrespective of which side scored -- to console or celebrate! Nearby, in a century-old stone building, is what once used to be part of the Blighty Tea Rooms, a popular British hangout, and now the location of the local Hard Rock Café (St. Mark's Rd.; tel. 080/4124-2222) with its "Love All, Serve All" motto, tons of memorabilia and great rock. Aside from i-BAR, a "must-do" is the stunning Taika (Church St.; tel. 080/4151-2828) with its summery look and totally chilled vibe; skip merrily between the two choices in hand -- Club Above, tapping to popular music, and Club Beyond with its special theme every night (single entry charge for both clubs). And of course no visit to Bengaluru would be complete without having a couple at Shiro (Third Floor, UB City Mall, VM Road. tel. 080/4173-8861) -- gigantic Buddha sculptures in an ultra-spacious roof top setting make it a winner visually, and with an 80s pop loop, hip crowd, and amazing fig mojitos, this is currently the flavor. NASA (1/A Church St.; tel. 080/2558-6512) is worth a giggle: Staff is decked out in pilot outfits, and the interior is like the inside of a sci-fi space module; the bar is called the "Fuel Tank" and the loo is known as the "Humanoid Disposal" area. It's good for an afternoon pint, but happy hours draw massive crowds. For mean metal and a crowd that likes to sing along, look no further than Purple Haze (M.G. Rd., near Richmond Circle; tel. 080/2221-3758; www.purplehaze.co.in). If you don't care much for a pub hop, then zero in to Kosmo (off Cunningham Rd.; tel. 080/41702030) with its three-in-one choice of seating -- the al-fresco Buddha Garden (cafe during the day), two bars and DJ's spinning at Music Lounge, and classy dining at the Terrace to the background of jazz and blues -- service however, is not good. At Fuga (No. 1 Castle St., Ashok Nagar; tel. 080/4147-8625 or 98-4524-7914; www.fuga.co.in), elegantly wasted would be the way to be, if one had to blend in -- it's got plush interiors, a mix of hip-hop, house, and club seeing the night through, great food, and a trendy, well-heeled crowd -- all at a whopping Rs 1,000 per couple. Not enough time for Goa? No worries -- head straight for the terrifically chilled out Opus (Vasanthanagar, tel. 080/2344-2580), for its Goan ambience, local live acts in an open amphitheater, and reasonable food; given its proximity to the prime venue for international gigs, it's perfect to pop in for a pre- or postconcert drink. On the other side of the fence, the Oberoi Hotel's smart Polo Club combines deep leather sofas with the ubiquitous TV sports entertainment. The last word in exclusivity goes however to Leela's Library Bar (tel. 080/2521-1234; www.theleela.com), for which you will pay dearly but come away feeling like an English Lord -- sink into a leather sofa, order a brandy, light up a cigar and leaf through a collectors item from the library.
It may be a bit muted during the week (which makes for romantic evenings), but come Saturday and Taj West End's Blue Bar set amid greens is all set to bring the house down -- well, in its own classy way of course. Liquid (Ista Hotel, Swami Vivekanada Rd.; tel. 080/2555-8888; www.istahotels.com) is also very popular for its candlelit alfresco bar with live music and indoor lounge for chilly evenings. And while Mumbai's Geoffrey's brings its English Pub atmosphere to Bengaluru (Royal Orchid, Airport Rd.; tel. 080/2520-5566), Dublin, the watering hole at the ITC Windsor Sheraton (tel. 080/2226-9898), serves -- yep, you guessed right -- an Irish pub vibe.
(Note: A strict no-smoking law has been put into place in all public areas.)
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.