From authentic English pubs to Middle East-inspired dance dens, Bengaluru’s hotel bars are almost as iconic as the hotels themselves. Take a look
The Taj West End, Race Course Road
Once a boarding house in the late 1800s, today this is a luxury heritage hotel with one of the finest bars in the city. The open-air Blue Bar sits in the middle of the 20 acre property, surrounded by Bengaluru’s famed greenery. Its modern, pulsating light trim might seem a bit at odds with the Victorian architecture, but as you guzzle the signature Curry Leaf Martini, it all blends in seamlessly. Winston Churchill, a man who loved his beverage, stayed here.
The Park, MG Road
So what if watering holes in the city shut by 11.30 pm? It certainly hasn’t stopped the patrons from dancing their blues away, especially at i-Bar. It has been designed as a lounge (complete with Moroccan lamps hanging from the ceiling), and admittedly it does not boast of a lot of space. But with an exhaustive collection of liqueurs, and DJs who know how to drop the beat, many an evening here starts off with martinis but ends up with impromptu Beiber moves and tequila shots.
The Leela Palace, Old Airport Road
There is something undeniably plush about sinking into a leather sofa and soaking in the aroma of cognac surrounded by limited editions of rare books. The Library Bar quite lives up to its name. The list of wines is impressive, so it makes for a perfect destination on rainy evenings, when you can forget about traffic and just curl up with a novel and a shiraz. You don’t even need company, except perhaps to help you finish off the scrumptious thin crust pizza.
Vivanta by Taj, MG Road
Ice is a popular destination for girls’ night out. At the risk of stereotyping, we’d assume it’s because of their fantastic fruity martinis. They muddle and mix and create some incredible elixirs that make the dance floor look twice as big as it actually is. Their watermelon martinis are best enjoyed by the poolside when the weather holds good. Don’t forget to add an order of teppanyaki prawns along with it.
Vivanta by Taj, MG Road
Technically, this is a getaway where the suits come to play, unwind, read the newspaper, and knock back a few malts. Its energy is therefore a lot more relaxed and the space, despite its modern interiors, has a decidedly gentleman’s club feel to it. The combination is almost comforting and if you’re a guest at the hotel, you can also avail of a number of their exclusive services.
Alila Bangalore, Whitefield
The rooftop bar by the infinity pool at the Alila is a special space – there are barely any other buildings around, and sitting under a blazing blue sky gives you a distinct feeling of being suspended in time. The night opens up the cityscape of Bengaluru at your feet, as you sip on cocktails and sample some of the best tapas the city has to offer. We suggest ordering a bottle of champagne and making the most of the expansive pool and deck.
The Oberoi Bangalore, MG Road
Semi-private booths, tables out in the garden, club sandwiches and fruity cheesecakes – the Polo Club has several selling points. Its allure also lies in its cocktails, the fact that it has a live band most evenings, and the deep bold wooden bar that channels an English pub. The interiors pay homage to the pub’s moniker by displaying vintage photographs of polo games and players.
ITC Windsor, Sankey Road
An Irish pub in the heart of South India? Sure, why not? ITC Windsor’s Dublin dresses up in Irish trimmings, from clover green accents to stocking the finest single malts. Their service is impeccable and with their selection of gourmet snacks, it is a great place to catch up with old friends, especially with a jukebox to help walk down memory lane.
ITC Gardenia, Residency Road
Located in the middle of the restaurant, Highland Nectar sits like an oasis of calm. ITC Gardenia’s gourmet bar offers an impressive range of malts and whiskies. If the variety confuses you, their talented army of mixologists will help you choose your poison. And if while drinking you’re inspired to delve deeper into the history of whisky, they have curated a library and some artefacts to help you find your way.
Vivanta by Taj, Yeshwantpur
When a bar hosts exclusive previews of designer collections, you can excuse the pink-and-black decor and a menu populated by ‘shimmerinis.’ Fashion shows play out constantly on suspended screens, a line of mannequins dressed to kill greet you, while the resident DJ channels a distinctly Ibiza vibe. And if it all gets a bit excessive, kick back with a Detox, a fresh fruit and herb-based cocktail that promises to balance out the night’s excesses.