Your friendly neighbourhood pub or bar is meant to be a place where you can unwind, relax, enjoy a couple of drinks and good food and have a nice time with your friends. While that is what it is supposed to do, it can get tricky when your bill arrives and you end up paying more than you would have liked. Mumbai is getting more expensive each day and drinking and dining out isn't always an affordable option. Instead of completely avoiding places, scout for places where you can have a good time and don't have to break the bank paying your bill. We thought long and hard and came up with a few places that fit the bill.
Toto's Garage – Grungy, dingy and really makes you feel like you are inside a garage, this affable pub has been one of Bandra's favourites for many years. There are elements like the rim of a wheel or metal wire mesh that they have used to decorate the place, not to mention a car hanging over the bar that has been around for decades now. There is no dress code or anything remotely stylish about this joint, but that's the charm of the place. People come here for a chilled beer and their greasy Indo-Chinese grub.
Quench Bandra – There are three outlets for this pub but the one that is our favourite is the original one in Bandra. Quirky funky décor on the walls, colourful tables with different posters on them and tiny bar makes it a cozy place to hang out. There is good rock music playing almost through the day and great deals on happy hour and beers.
Ghetto – Apart from its signature neon walls full of graffiti and things patrons have scribbled over the years, this pub's greatest claim to fame was that Michael Jackson's bodyguards came to party here when he was on a tour in Mumbai city. There are no famous people that drop by anymore except for people that enjoy playing pool, that want to listen to good rock music and of course want decently priced liquor.
The Local – It really is as if this place doesn't exist. They do an excellent job of staying under the radar. They don't care about large crowds or themed nights or famous DJs, they just want people to come and have a good time. There is no signage outside, except for a single black door and you need to punch in a password on a computer outside and only if it is correct then you can enter. If you do manage somehow by getting your hands on this password, pop in early for happy hours as the place tends to fill up later. It is affordable and they even have some creative in-house Indian flavoured cocktails which are worth trying.
Loca Loca – This indoor and outdoor pub is meant to be Cuban and Mexican themed which you can tell from its bright colourful décor and posters on the wall that depict typical street life in Havana. However, since they play all kinds of music and serve a mix of dishes, none which are remotely Latin American, there seems to be some identity crisis. However, all is forgiven because it is a fun space with a casual relaxed vibe, great munchies and drinks at reasonable prices.
Follow Roxanne @The Tiny Taster
Better known as the Tiny Taster, Roxanne is an internationally respected blogger and expert on the Mumbai food scene. She has hosted many events, including the Upper Crust Food & Wine Show and travels the world, sharing her knowledge and gaining more experience.