What Music to Expect at a Dive Bar: Mumbai
For a city whose clichés resort to ‘never sleeps’, ‘always glitters’, ‘coughs up new dreams each day’, it can often be tiring for the resident who has to jump onto the treadmill and run on the pre-set speed. Very fast. Naturally, catching a break and slinking into dive bars is more than just an economical reaction. One feels a sense of solace, just like the night, as dusk descends onto the city, with cheap alcohol and quirky humans that fill these bars. And what better if you can sway to music to heal you of the day’s pace that often tires the sinews of even the strongest soul. If you haven’t done such a thing then visit a dive bar and open your eyes and ears by night as waves lap against rocks on the shore afar as Mumbai offers you with some of the best options as far as dive bar culture is concerned in India. We give you the best of the crop judging on the basis of four categories, Live Nights, Music from the Console, Quirks that add the charm to a place and, of course, the Dance bars where you party your way through.
Here are some dive bars that have a vibrant live music scene and a dedicated crowd that keeps it going. For instance, take Three Wise Monkeys, where beer lovers are known to make a beeline for. Most recently, it began hosting BOMB Thursdays, a fortnightly program featuring indie artists, which used to take place at Andheri’s Kino 108.
Since the music is of the dance-y variety, mostly commercial popular stuff that attracts a lot of advertising crowd and people from other creative fields, you will see those who come in large groups to cool off some steam, often directly from work. Oshiwara’s The Little Door is another such venue which you can visit for food as well as affordable alcohol with regular live gigs and guest DJs. They hold a weekly event called Acoustic Thursdays, hosted by indie music portal Artist Aloud. Boveda, another Andheri pub hosts live nights weekly on Thursdays, where ambient electronica acts like AlgoRhythm and Zokhuma have played in the past. With minimalist interiors made of brick walls and leather couches, where modern chic meets vintage rustic, this place can easily become a familiar member of your gang.
Music from the Console
Toto’s Garage is one of the oldest places that you could go to amongst the Bombay lounges for beer and camaraderie. Go there for their kitschy interiors, cages separating tables, which look right out of a Hollywood movie from the 90s. Hawaiian Shack is your go to place if you’re looking for the latest Bollywood stuff alternating weirdly enough, with trance/house music.
Quench, Reclamation’s quaint little joint, is all retro with its setting that makes it look like a seaside cafe from the shop front. Known for good comfort food, it doles up many local favourites. Among other places which people swear by is Ghetto, a paradoxically low-budget venue parked bang in the centre of Breach Candy’s upmarket locale. It would be within limits to say that it has built its own ghetto with people visiting the place for several years every weekend. Best part of visiting Ghetto is that they will play requests and has an eclectic mix of people with their ear out for good music beyond the usual commercial realm. In case, you’re a Ghetto reject, move upwards to the first floor to the Food Court, a gentleman’s club (read raucous) for affordable alcohol, which makes it a very good place to pre-game in case Ghetto is filled up and you have a gig to catch around at Lower Parel or Colaba.
The Irani-owned Cafe Mondegar, or Mondy’s by the beer guzzlers, has a curious history of visitors. Local college kids and office goers swear by it, while it attracts a good mix of Colaba tourists as well. With walls dedicated to Mario Miranda’s cartoons, beer pitchers that would do many a pub proud and a jukebox that is killing it with vintage pop music most of the time, Cafe Mondegar often lends itself to fond memories. After all, who wouldn’t like to sit and drink in the afternoon to some Beatles while Miss Fonseca, Miranda’s buxom secretary beams at you from over the wallpaper?
As far as eccentric goes, Bandra’s newly opened newspaper-themed The Daily beats even Toto’s which has a vintage Beetle model hanging from the ceiling. With framed newspaper clippings hanging in neat order from the ceiling, you will surprisingly be able to steer your way through weekend jams at the venue.
Waterfield road’s Elbo Room, Poco Loco (a stone’s throw from Khar station) and Some Like It Hot (Four Bungalows) are the places you must root for as far as wallet conscious bars with great dance floors go. Designed to be a packed space where the dance floor is small, putting people in closer proximity to make friends and merry as our Bombay people put it, all three are great places to go to for all things pop – the Coldplay variety included. If you need your Long Island Ice Teas and familiar music to cool down, head Anderi-wards.
To read about the Dive Bars in Delhi, click here. To read about open air performances in Mumbai, click here.