7 best Mumbai clubs
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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.