Best Clubs in Mumbai

Mumbaikars don’t dance. Is that why there are so few dance floors in the city? Or is it the other way around?

As you ponder this funky chicken-and-egg situation, here’s the A-list of Mumbai clubs to get into this party season – and why.

1. Tryst: To see your name on the menu

Tryst Mumbai

The focus at Tryst are the elevated VIP tables.

A night at Tryst is like attending a spectacular light show, where more than a million color-changing LEDs poke out of almost every corner and bright green absinthe potions swirl around in glasses.

If you’ve got the bucks, you’re in the spotlight.

The focus of this futuristically designed club is elevated VIP tables with a minimum billing of Rs 25,000 each (The King Table dictates that you spend at least a lakh), with a personal butler and your own bouncer to boot.

Two special VIP tables – Den 1 and Den 2 – even have gadgets built into table tops that will display your name, a personal message and your customized menu for the night.

“It’s a great way to impress your date,” says co-owner Rajiv Tandon, who’s busy prepping Tryst for the upcoming party season with powerful air conditioners, a fatter hip-hop track list, a glossy new dance floor and if you can believe it, more lights. Many more lights.

462 Phoenix Mills, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel; +91 (0)22 6661 4365/6; www.trystmumbai.com

2. China House: For random Wi-Fi hook-ups

China House Mumbai

At China House the music is on till at least 3 a.m.

So the experiences you can have at China House are varied. You could be turned away right at the door for not being dressed appropriately or for being a group of stags; you could get in and have yourself some pricey but yummy cocktails — like the Bonnie Beb made with Dewar’s, apricot brandy, apple juice and Assam tea — and some fun dancing; you could stay late, turn on your Wi-Fi and connect to questionable ladies of the night.

So yes, there’s something for everyone at this club housed at the Grand Hyatt hotel, where new DJs visit every Friday and shutters go down as late as 3 a.m.

Special mention for the seriously happy bartender Oster Fernandes, who takes requests for impromptu cocktails that aren’t on the menu, even when the bar is packed. And by packed, we mean packed.

Grand Hyatt Mumbai, off Western Express Highway, Santacruz (E); + 91 (0)22 6676 1149; mumbai.grand.hyatt.com

3. Trilogy: To run into the beautiful and the damned

Trilogy Mumbai

Trilogy, the suburbs sexiest nightclub with a sea view.

The sexy red couches and the wannabe models have been around so long at Trilogy that it’s hard to tell whose legs we spotted first on opening night at this sexy Mumbai club in Juhu.

Needless to say, Trilogy affords more than a sea view.

Here, from the owners of Colaba’s Henry Tham, you’ll find a wooden bar on level one and a glittering red staircase scattered with lounges that leads to a humongous dance floor above it, a thing of rarity in Mumbai.

Oh, and there’s also a smoking room inside — another specialty.

Outside, bartenders in fedoras groove to typical Mumbai club music — think David Guetta and the likes — and hand out yum watermelon-basil martinis to a mixed crowd of teenyboppers and the working lot pushing for that once-in-a-while heavy dance night.

Bar snack picks: Sushi and batter-fried chicken.

Hotel Sea Princess, Juhu Tara Road, Santracruz (W); +91 (0) 22 2646 9500  ; www.trilogy.in

4. Aer: For membership of the sky-high club

Aer Mumbai

Aer is on the 34th floor of The Four Seasons Hotel in Worli.

Recently buffed and polished for its post-monsoon opening and soaring 34 floors over the real estate cauldron of midtown Mumbai, this rooftop bar and club at the Four Seasons Hotel affords the city’s most iconic views, including the Haji Ali mosque, the Mahalaxmi racecourse and the Bandra-Worli Sealink.

Here is where well-to-do expats go to end a hard work week and also where fashionistas break out their best party frocks and high heels, which tap along with tunes the popular DJ Shaan spins.

We suggest you get a newly introduced Lady Boy (white rum, coconut syrup, kaffir lime) cocktail or a Falling Indian (white rum, rose syrup, sambuka), along with a thincrust pizza to soak it all up.

While weekend nights resemble a Mumbai club scene, Aer cuts early birds a break with great happy hours from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. every day (yes, Sundays too), when all cocktails are half price and where you can watch the sun go down over maximum city.

The Four Seasons Hotel, 114 Dr. E. Moses Road, Worli;   +91 (0)22 2481-8060      ; www.fourseasons.com

5. Blue Frog: To thank them for the music

Blue Frog Mumbai

Blue Frog revolutionized the live music scene in Mumbai.

Every Mumbai musician worth their guitar would agree: Blue Frog revolutionized the live music scene in this city, with its egg-shaped seating booths, state of the art acoustics, high-tech LED screens, great burgers and steaks, overpriced drinks and we-don’t-care-what-you-think arrogance.

Founded by an eclectic bunch of musicians, admen and filmmakers, this concert hall, recording studio, dance floor, restaurant and bar with a stage in front has hosted an impressive lineup of homegrown and international artists, including sitar player Anoushka Shankar, African pop artist Angelique Kidjo, British saxophone player Soweto Kinch and the immensely popular indie duo Shaa’ir + Func.

The club is planning on spreading the music, with a New Delhi branch in the works. People in the capital, take note.

Mathuradas Mills Compound, NM Joshi Marg, Lower Parel,  +91 (0)22 4033 2300 ; www.bluefrog.co.in

6. Privé: The only real after-hours Mumbai club

prive mumbai

See Prive in its best light, after hours.

It may be a little rough around the edges from all the non-member, non-millionaire clientele in the past couple of years, but Privé still has plenty of glamour to offer, especially at 3 a.m. when all the other drinking holes around Colaba have shut for the night.

Walk in and you are enveloped into a darkened world of decaying perfume and private tables, Dom Perignon lounges and wincingly expensive cocktails (even a club soda here can set you back significantly).

And if all the gloom and boom is getting to you, just walk across to the interconnected Tetsuma, brightly lit, more casual and open just as late.

41/44 Mon Repos, Ground Floor, Minoo Desai Road, Colaba,  +91 (0)22 2202 8700 ; indagerestaurants.com

7. Hype: For Bollywood-style partying

hype mumbai

The Bollywood brigade at Hype.

“I always wanted to start a club of my own, and I always knew I’d call it Hype,” says the club’s jet-setting founder and celebrity DJ Aqeel Ali, in between boarding a plane to Udaipur for a wedding and Tweeting about tour dates in Delhi, Australia, Dubai and New York.

Hype is unabashedly billed as “the country’s first luxury nightclub,” claiming a ginormous area of “clubbing bliss” in the heart of South Mumbai.

“It’s the most exclusive place in Mumbai — the clientele is exclusive, the decor is exclusive, even the alcohol is exclusive,” the visibly proud DJ says.

Despite the fact that it’s located inside a mall, which at first glance would seem an odd choice of address, Hype has plateaued since opening in late December 2009. But it is still the Mumbai club to hit for an authentic urban Indian clubbing experience – DJ Aqeel’s thumping Bollywood dance remixes included.

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Indian Festivals, Mandaps and Mockery

It’s been a while since I got here. Anyway, now that I am, it’s obviously because something’s made me. This time it’s our great Indian festivals and the chaos they plan to cause every evening.

If Dahi Handi, a one day thing could cause so much of traffic, noise and waste of public money (where do you think our civil servants get that dough to fill your matkas until they overflow?), the Ganpati celebrations I think are pushing it too far now. Like really!

I have nothing against the festival, fine, he’s one of your God’s. Cool! But how is he even treated. Instead of bhajans, lately Akon’s track Takin’ it off and some House music have been singing his praise on Linking road.

I’m pretty sure you’ve strolled around and seen enough mandaps and shamianas put up. Practically every 2 kms you’ll bump into one, sometimes even lesser. Mostly organised and put together by slum dwellers and an illiterate lot, these mandaps have more lighting than the house those organisers live in. They probably wouldn’t spend that much on buying new clothes or food for their entire family either.

So where is the money coming from? DUH!!! Its OUR (middle class) money. So we pay taxes, and what do you get in return? Noise and mandaps…shit loads of MANDAPS. Because Indians believe in celebrating every festival, and if there isn’t one anytime soon….hell we’ll make one up.

These festival celebrations have just turned into one big pile of bull. With nothing but illiteracy, larger than life speakers, free food, and a whole lot of mockery!

“RICKSHAW”

How often does one halt a rickshaw and manage to convince the rickshaw-wala enough to reach their destination? Almost never. In these days of an endless population and everyone running around to get somewhere, well, getting there has become rather an issue.

Every rickshaw-wala has some excuse or the other. We have gotten used to hearing phrases like, “gas bharne ka hai”, “abhi rickshaw wapas dena hai”, “oos taraf nahi ja raha hoon”. It’s annoying. But all of us are dealing with it. And why? Because we’re at their mercy anyway.

Another major hitch is when paying them. Not quite all of them have that one rupee change to return. Usually we let go thinking of it as just one rupee, but then again, it now seems like a habit that these rickshaw-walas have formed.

And the mirrors! Some of the rickshaws are completely covered with them on the inside, leaving every passenger feeling attractive and disgusted, both at the same time. There is some art for sure, in the way they place their mirrors, surprisingly they focus on a few body parts and guessing they enjoy their job (ride) too.

To add to the masala, driving alongside them is a nuisance. They try pushing in and getting their way through the narrowest lanes, leaving behind scratches on a few cars and a few rotten words too. Thinking of driving adjacent to them, very often they find pleasure in coming in the way while women are driving, or passing lewd remarks, or basically doing anything that would really upset a woman.

But these rickshaw-walas have really got it going. You can love them, you can hate them, you certainly can’t ignore them. Besides it being a ride to your destination, travelling in a rickshaw could sometimes really end up being a joyride, with all the bumps on the road and the loud Himesh Reshammiya music playing.