Bengaluru is a city that loves its pint. Ever since the British arrived here in the early 19th century the capital of Karnataka has enthusiastically embraced the culture of grabbing a drink at the end of the day. Today Bengaluru is chest-thumpingly proud of its drinking culture and home to a roaring craft beer scene with an ever growing number of microbreweries. Visit our pick of Bengaluru’s best bars and you’ll soon understand why.
The Bengaluru drinking scene spans the spectrum, from nostalgic holes-in-the-wall to chic cocktail lounges that could hold their own in Paris or New York. Keep a particular eye out for the city’s craft beers – local brewers create everything from wheat beers to pale ales and stout – and Bengaluru mixologists who add Indian herbs and spices to the standard cocktail palette. Here’s our pick of the best places in Bengaluru to wet your whistle after hours.
Daytime tipples at Noon Wines
The appeal of Noon Wines & Scottish Pub (No 17/21, Vasavi Complex, St Marks Road) lies in its nonchalance. This ‘hole in the wall’ outpost of colonial-era Bengaluru is open for only five hours in the day (12-5pm), but nostalgia seekers flock here for inexpensive wines and an agreeably short menu with simple potato wafers as a best seller. The Heritage wine is extra sweet and extra potent in nature, served in shot glass-sized wine glasses.
Cocktails like grandma used to mix
Take a map of Bengaluru and stick a pin in its heart and you’ll find yourself on the threshold of The Permit Room (thepermitroom.in), a welcome retreat from the hubbub of MG Road. Cosy interiors decked out in the iconography of South Indian slang make you feel like an insider immediately. The moody mixologist, inspired by his ajji (grandma), has reimagined hearty home cooking as well as the cocktail menu; for our rupee, Paati’s Magic Rasam curry, Highway Pandi Curry, and filter coffee-flavoured pot de crème are all decided winners.
Ten of the best at Arbor Brewing Company
Start your love affair with the brews of Bengaluru with a choice of ten in-house craft beers at this spacious, minimalist American-style microbrewery. The pub fare at Arbor Brewing Company is best enjoyed at long communal wooden tables, with low hanging lights running along the centre. Sip crispy Hefewiezens, confident stouts, German-style pilsners, Belgian fruit beers and pale ales with lingering bitterness to wash down amply portioned dishes with a US flavour.
Wheat beer that pulls in a crowd at Toit
Back in 2010, Toit Brewpub almost single-handedly salvaged Bangalore’s flagging pub scene with a sprawling wooden-floored brewery, providing space for close to 400 happy beer drinkers. Of the six house brews, the Bavarian-style Toit Weiss wheat beer trumps the competition any day of the week. Check out the curious logo, inspired by Pepé Le Pew (the skunk of Looney Tunes fame), with the motto ‘sending it since 2010’ (a local phrase for downing a drink).