You’ll never guess where the city’s coolest undiscovered pub-crawl is. A surefire way to get you to Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport before the appointed one hour-in-advance, the domestic airport now boasts of six bars, from the comfortable adda to the swanky lounge.
Two bars, Foodies and 24X7, are located outside the terminals and accessible to everyone, even if you don’t have a ticket. Of course, if you look across the parking lot, you’ll see that good old veg restaurant Balaji’s has pulled up their socks and now offers a non-veg section and a bar called Blackberry’s, but don’t go looking for any recommendations. Instead, check out these more reliable options
Start your journey at this comfortable adda-like joint outside Terminal 1A. Unpretentious and blessed with abundant sunlight, this one’s perfect for those long goodbyes that Indian families are world-famous for. The prices are reasonable and you’ll find the usual suspects like Cheese Jalapeno poppers alongside their new seafood menu with items like fish fingers made from delectably soft Bassa. And if your party extends into a three-course meal, you should try the Goan prawn curry, a decent approximation of the real deal. While the bar menu veers more towards the classical, the Fuzzy Melon, featuring Midori melon liqeur and ginger ale is the resident star and doesn’t disappoint.
Just a minute’s walk away from Foodies, outside Terminal 1B, this freezing cold bar (though if you ask nicely, they’ll turn down the air-conditioner) is the cooler older sibling, attracting corporate honchos who can settle those last minute deals before heading off. The high bar tables that line the walls also allow you to wrap up Powerpoint presentations while you enjoy a drink. Apart from being refreshingly eclectic, the food menu is tongue-in-cheek. Sample the description of their signature spicy chicken wings — chicken wings smothered in our killer spicy suicide sauce with cool ranch dip, more fire than a boat load of Somali pirates. Kudos to the author and chef that the description doesn’t veer too far from the final result. Toss it back with a Cherry Blossom, and head inside for your next drink.
In the middle of the waiting area at Terminal 1B is the Signature Bar, small but hard to miss, all done up in green and wood like an old English tavern. The cocktails worth trying here are the spicy ones, flavoured with Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco, if you’re not afraid to give them a shot. The best part about this bar is the location, which makes it hard for you to miss your flight.
Good Times Bar
Swanky as they come, this one is nestled into a secluded area in the same terminal, and you should only enter if you have plenty of time to kill. Far away from warning announcements of flights departing without you onboard, this well-lit space with plush velvet seats and hot pink lounge chairs are perfect for a quick nap. In fact, the bartenders will serve your cocktails in tall highball glasses instead of thin-stemmed ones for easy handling. The chicken-stuffed potato skins come piping hot, and are well complemented by the Zombie, a sweet mix of rum, apricot brandy, pineapple juice with a dash of grenadine syrup. But before you get too cosy, move on to the next pit stop on your liquid tour.
RC Sports Bar
This one at Terminal 1A was launched by the Bangalore Royal Challangers IPL squad, and the bar, done up in loud reds and purples with reggae music playing in the background, evokes a certain celebratory feel. If you opt to curl into the spherical seats, with a glass of Pinky World (pineapple juice, hazelnut syrup and grenadine syrup) in your hand, don’t blame the bartender for helping you miss your flight. The lounge also offers buffet meals. The boys at the bar also have a penchant for whipping up house specials off the top of their heads if you ask.
With a view of the runway and a ceiling of two beers per customer, this spot in the middle of Terminal 1 C was the first bar to open and has a steady stream of visitors. Snacks are made in front of you in the live kitchens and beer is served on tap. The perfect way to end your crawl?