Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bounce @16th Road (opposite Mini Punjab)

How to get there: Get to Pali Naka, take the last right turn before the hill goes upwards, and then when you're down that road, take the first left. Keep going straight until the end of the road, where you'll see Mini Punjab and look opposite that for a place with a chrome exterior and a bouncer.
This is a badly taken picture of my new favourite place (apologies for the quality--cell phone camera). Bounce in Pali Naka is TOTALLY what Bandra has been needing. It's new (yay!) and doesn't play retro music (I heart the 80s, but dude, time for a change, no?) and well, SUPPOSEDLY, it plays hip-hop all night, though the DJ in a desperate bid to get people on the dance floor kept changing genres, so it went from Promiscuous Girl to World, Hold On to (ahem) Uptown Girl and (wheeeee!) Tease Me.
Here's why I like it: primo, it is brand new so not too crowded; secundo, because of aforementioned brand newness the waiters are solicitious and you don't have to wait for a hundred and fifty years to get your order, tertio, couple entry and girls are free (the rest have a cover of about 500, not entry, cover) quatro, the drinks are cheaper than the Shack down the road and the music is more appealing, quinto, the bathrooms are AWESOME, there's this red sink with a tap hanging down from the ceiling and MINTS and PADDED DOOR HANDLES and finally (aren't you impressed I can count in Latin?) sexto, cold enough that you don't turn into a little sweaty piggy after dancing for ages. I love it. Even the LIITs are cheap.
Basically last weekend, my friends and I thought we'd go check out the new "hip hop scene in Bandra" as PROMISED by Time Out Mumbai who LIED. Oh, the perfidy. (Back story: Time Out spoke glowingly of a new club called Sin City that played underground hip hop in the same location as an old shady club we had been to called Pulse. We go there and it turns out Pulse still exists and Sin City is not a new club, just some new hip-hop nights. For shame, Time Out, you got my hopes all up and everything. RESEARCH next time. ) But they also spoke of Bounce and we had seen it before so we thought it was worth a look. Bounce does indeed play (mostly) hip hop and it's fun, the crowd's not too shady (lots of men, but not lechy), the lighting and music volume is just about right and it's basically, yeah, my new favourite place.
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Toto's @ Pali Naka

How to get there: Get to Pali Naka, take the last right turn before the hill and voila! there it is on your left.

(A guest review by long time Toto's lover, S.)

Toto's is the old faithful, where you go when you can think of nowhere else to go, or don't feel like dressing up or have had a reaaahhllly bad day at work and need to vent (no, not to random strangers, friends). It could've been really shady looking, but the nice crowd ensures that it isn't.

The garage decor, complete with the models of cars and other tools on the walls and the neon lighting are really nice, if loud (Disclaimer: They sometimes make people appear more attractive than they are) Around 30-40% of the people on any given night are regulars and chances are if you keep going there often enough, you will know most of them.

The drinks are quite decent and not too expensive. The price of beer was increased a few months back so that will set you back by around Rs 500 for a pitcher.Bloody Mary's are quite tangy, and worth a try if you don't like your drinks too sweet.

The food is phenomenal, and things I would recommend are:
1. Pork/Chicken sausages (Grilled, Tandoor or Fried)
2. Chicken Cheese Omlette
3. Chicken Pepper Steak
4. Chicken Wire Mesh
5. Kheema Pao or some such which I've seen a lot of people ordering but haven't tried myself. Apart from this the kebabs and masala peanuts etc. are quite yummy too.

The music hasn't changed over the past 2 years, and I suspect it has been the same a lot longer. You will get to hear a new track or two, but expect to listen to the same sort of music on most nights. Floyd, Dire Straits, Cold Play, Metallica, Nirvana, etc. being examples of the genre.The thing I've heard from most people about Toto's is that no one can pinpoint what it is that makes the place tick, but tick it does, with barely enough standing room on Friday nights when it is the busiest, with a decent crowd on most nights.

Want a place reviewed? Want to review something yourself? Send me an email with the subject line DD review to thecompulsiveconfessorATgmailDOTcom

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bonobo@ Linking Road (just off KFC)

How to get there: Get to Linking Road. Keep going straight down till you see a giant red KFC sign on your right. Take that left turn in and walk towards the shopping complex next to KFC. Look for an elevator on the side, take it up to the third floor. A bouncer should be there anyway, to guide you.

(Stephen in the comments on the last post asked me to do a review of Global Fusion, because they're considering taking it to Bangalore. I don't do food reviews on this blog, but I can give Global Fusion (opposite Bonobo, by the way!) my full five star recommendation. Excellent buffet lunch at very reasonable prices and GOOD SUSHI! Do it!)

Bonobo is the new Zenzi. There's no doubt about it. It was packed on a Friday night when we went visiting, and I believe it's had many packed nights before that. The music is, eh, a little too electronic for my taste, but there are lots of pretty people and a smoking section outside.

They're known for their martinis, which I did not try, but I did have a Kamikaze shot, which tasted exactly as it should.

It gets really crowded though. Like standing room only, crowded. If you're not the kind of person who can stay vertical on high heels for over four hours, I'd suggest you wear flats or risk winding up on a stool all night like I did.

It is a little pricey though, definitely not your everyday local bar, but the people are pretty, the waiters effecient and the atmosphere lively enough to get your money's worth on a weekend.

Want a place reviewed? Want to review something yourself? Send me an email with the subject line DD review to thecompulsiveconfessorATgmailDOTcom

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What to do on a Thursday night? (Olive @ Union Park, China House @ Grand Hyatt)

How to get there: Get to Carter Road and take the right turn after the Cafe Coffee Day. Go uphill, past a bunch of restaurants, till you see a white wall. It's right next to a restaurant called Out Of The Blue.

This will be a pricey evening.

Olive will be full--it began as some form of expat night on Thursdays and now Thursday is Olive Day.

Eat beforehand if you want to just drink tonight--the food will be expensive.

If you must eat--get a pizza, less commitment, easy to pick up.

Have a caprioska or a margarita.

Indoors, the A/C's turned up to full blast and you can't hear yourself think.

The dining tables are not where you want to sit. Dining tables are for big groups of non-partiers, people who just want dinner.

Pick, instead, the white cane furniture on the gravel by the outside bar. This has the added advantage of being the smoking section.

Stay till it's nearly closing time, stumble outside, get yourself into a rickshaw for Kalina.

Follow the signs for the Grand Hyatt till you reach the gate.

You'll probably really have to pee by this time, and the walk towards the club is long and seems longer on a full bladder.

Make up a story about being on the guest list. Bat your eyelashes, wait around.

Invest in a little debit card thing for your drinks and spend all of it on one Long Island Iced Tea.

This is huge and should take you most of the night to drink.

Find a small round table, park your things there and dance.

Kick off your high heels and bounce on your bare feet.

At 3 am, the bouncer will suggest you leave.

Satisfy your rumbling stomach by going upstairs to Cellini, the Italian restaurant, home of the BEST pepperoni pizzas in the CITY, serving food all night.

(I told you it was going to be a pricey evening)

Go home against the backdrop of early morning Mumbai, crows squawking, milkmen making their rounds, early morning joggers glancing at you disapprovingly.

Enjoy your long weekend!

Want a place reviewed? Want to review something yourself? Send me an email with the subject line DD review to thecompulsiveconfessorATgmailDOTcom

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Soul Fry @ Pali Vegetable Market, Pali Naka

How to get there: Get to Pali Naka, take a turn after the HDFC bank. Go straight up and at the T-Junction, take a right. Then uphill again to another t-junction, where you turn right again. A little way down, you should see it on your right.

The first time I went to Soul Fry was awesome. I had just moved to Bombay, and was very, very new. I went with a friend and a friend of a friend, who happened to be a singer. This was great, because Soul Fry is the most fun on Monday nights where they have karaoke--a relatively new concept for me, because they don't do karaoke in Delhi. (The one place that did, Aquafir, is now defunct.)

Anyway, so Singergirl and I choose Bohemian Rhapsody--which is one of my all time favourite karaoke songs--and she was standing behind the pillar and I was in visible view of the screen and of other people. Of course, she rocked that song, and I sang as best as I could and people cheered for me (because they could see me) and it was a most triumphant moment. Also, the same night I saw Malaika Arora Khan and they played Chaiyya Chaiyya just for her and she got up on the table and danced.

Subsequently, I love karaoke nights and I love Soul Fry. It's just a tad small for the crowds that come in, and back in the good old days when you could smoke at bars, you emerged with every part of you exuding nicotine and alcohol. They do a really good Bloody Mary as well, and the food is fabulous.

Here's what you should order off the menu: 1) green chilli garlic calamari 2) prawns on toast 3) Portugese prawn rice and 4) Bombay duck. Trust me. I've ordered pretty much most of the stuff on there, and this is TRULY the best.

All of Bandra is usually at Soul Fry on Mondays, and you'll always get one old dude singing My Way and one singer chick type group doing Breathless. It's nice that some things don't change.

Want a place reviewed? Want to review something yourself? Send me an email with the subject line DD review to thecompulsiveconfessorATgmailDOTcom

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hawaiian Shack @ 16th Road, Bandra

How to get there: Get to Pali Naka, take the right for Toto's and then the first left. Straight down till you see a blue neon sign on your left and there you are.

Ah, the Shack. I have a sorta love-hate relationship with it. Some good times, some bad times. Some nights of free tequila being poured directly into your mouth (they do this on most public holidays; Independence Day etc), some nights of weird men trying to chat you up (and there are usually loads of weird men.)

Cover to the Shack is about Rs 400 per person, most nights. (A commentor here asked me the difference between entry and cover charge: for a cover charge you get drink coupons worth however much you pay at the gate.) I think this is reasonable, considering we almost always run out of coupons. The music is at two levels--one plays 90s hits, and I mean the really cheesy ones--Ace Of Base, Roxette, MC Hammer etc, and the other plays a mix of popular hip-hop and Bollywood. You can transition between both, but the upper level normally doesn't take credit cards, something you might want to keep in mind before you move.

Except for some weekdays; actually, except for Mondays and Tuesdays; the Shack is normally packed full of people. If you want a table, your best bet is to get there by like 8.30-9. After that, you should be able to find standing room, but nowhere to park your things.

The service at the Shack is pretty good, the waiters are frequent, and if it's a good night, you can coax the DJ into playing your song. It's a fun place to dance as well, AND you don't have to get too dressed up. Most people go straight from work--well, in the lower level, anyway. The hip-hop regulars always appear to be more dressed up.

I take a lot of my out-of-town visitors to the Shack and they LOVE it. Bombay locals, on the other hand, eh, much like me, they have a love/hate thing going on. A lot of people I know have found significant others there, but I wouldn't count on it.

All in all, the Shack makes for a nice, upbeat evening, if crowds and familiar music is your scene.

Want a place reviewed? Want to review something yourself? Send me an email with the subject line DD review to thecompulsiveconfessorATgmailDOTcom

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cavala @ Baga Beach

How to get there: Get to Baga beach, ask for the Britto's road. A little while after the crossroads, look for a sign with a fish on it on your right.

Previously at Cavala:
eM has THIRTEEN tequila shots.
eM has no memory of the ensuing evening.

So, I was kinda embarrassed about going back, but seriously, off-season time in Goa isn't exactly party central and Baga beach is the only one with a little life. Besides, Cavala, sober, is lovely. It's quite cheap too--1350 per room for the non-AC superior kind--and they have the nicest pool, which we had pretty much to ourselves. (More details on The Compulsive Confessor).

Cavala has three retro-ish evenings on the weekends--a live band all three days, but I liked the Friday night band the most. The drinks are a little more expensive than the shacks, but they do lovely food and hey, expensive for Goa is 250 for a drink as opposed to 150.

We asked the band to play Breakfast at Tiffany's or Wild Thing, which they didn't know, but they did oblige with a very nice version of Ain't No Sunshine. All in all, Cavala + off season = lovely mix of liveliness and having the place to yourself.

Want a place reviewed? Want to review something yourself? Send me an email with the subject line DD review to thecompulsiveconfessorATgmailDOTcom

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Boat Club @ Pali Presidency, Pali Naka

How to get there: Get to Pali Naka, go a little beyond the HDFC bank and look on your right. It's right before Five Spice restaurant.

Shady little place, with shady people more often than not. The music is loud--sometimes Pink Floyd, sometimes popular hip-hop, dancy stuff. But, I dunno. There's an inexplicable something to Boat Club, despite its shadiness. We do go there more often than we should.

Is it the cheapish alcohol? No, because there are many places with the same price ranges. Is it the food? Erm, my seekh kebabs have been unrecognisable before. Is it the ambience? It has a funny smell and dark--not just dim--interiors.

No, Boat Club draws you back, I think, for its very shadiness. You enjoy (ironically, of course) the loud music, the thick french fries, the Romanov Vodka. You get up after much drunkeness to dance to SexyBack. You do as I do and go on your second date with your present boyfriend here, where you can be drunk and flirt wildly and no one will bat an eyelash. It has nooks.

Want a place reviewed? Want to review something yourself? Send me an email with the subject line DD review to thecompulsiveconfessorATgmailDOTcom

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Wednesday Nights @ Del Italia, Juhu

How to get there: Get on to the Juhu Tara road, till you have the beach on your right. A little before the bus depot, take a u-turn and look on your left. If you get to the Marriott, you've gone too far.

* Called Daddy's Windsong Wednesdays, coz the proprietor likes to call himself "Daddy". Which is strange only because in Bombay it doesn't seem strange. We like our eccentricities, we does. Basically live music every Wednesday, sometimes good, sometimes crappy.

* I FUCKING HATE ENTRY CHARGES. ENTRY, for fuck's sake. Charging me to come in and spend some more! On principle I avoid each place that charges me entry. Cover, I can deal with, I'm going to spend that much money anyway--but two things happen when you charge entry:
1) all sorts of randoms can come in, and do, because they have the cash, so not much crowd quality control and 2) you wind up feeling cheated and betrayed if whatever the deal is for the night doesn't live up to the money you spent coming in. Windsong Wednesdays has a Rs 500 entry. BOOOO!

* "We don't have Smirnoff," I was told the last time I went, "Only Absolut." So, obviously I drank it like it was liquid gold. WTF, Del Italia, you charge me to come in and then you charge me double for my usual drink?

* Grrr. But the music is often good. So if you're into live music, and pretty people (there are LOADS of pretty people here) and money is no object, then by all means, make this your destination.

Want a place reviewed? Want to review something yourself? Send me an email with the subject line DD review to thecompulsiveconfessorATgmailDOTcom

Zenzi Mills vs. Zenzi Bandra

How to get there:
Zenzi Bandra: Get to Waterfield Road and head towards Linking road, away from ICICI bank. It's an orange building with fairy lights on it.
Zenzi Mills: Get to Lower Parel and go under the third flyover (which will take you past Phoenix Mills). Look for the ICICI bank on your right and a gate after it that says 'Todi & Co.' Take the gate inside and it's on your right.

As a Bandra loyalist, I should be all about Zenzi Bandra, but, what can I say, their quality seems to be falling a little bit. And so to help me (and possibly you) out a little bit, I'm going to make a list of pros and cons for each establishment and then we'll reach a verdict. Cool? Cool.

FOR Zenzi Bandra

  1. Is in Bandra (Duh)
  2. Can smoke in the outside section (obviously, smoking in a bar is all I need these days)
  3. Is slightly cheaper
  4. Can wear whatever you like, even though some people dress up, there doesn't seem to be an obligation.
  5. Used to be able to bump into your whole social circle there, but I don't know if that applies anymore, since no one seems to be going these days.

AGAINST Zenzi Bandra

  1. Has become a little bit run down, specially their interiors
  2. The outside section is HOT, crowded and basically uncomfortable.
  3. No one goes anymore.
  4. They did away with quiz nights.
  5. Still pricier than a lot of places with better service.

FOR Zenzi Mills:

  1. Posh enough inside to justify you spending all that money.
  2. Nice little dance floor with hip-hop nostalgiac music.
  3. Usually meet lots of people here, and not just townies either.
  4. Very nice interiors--just the right amount of darkness and dim lighting and no dining tables which just make me feel like I'm cheating for only drinking and not eating any food.
  5. Is in Lower Parel, which, granted, is not Bandra, but if you get bored there are loads of fancy places you can hop to next which are only a stone's throw away.

AGAINST Zenzi Mills:

  1. Is NOT in Bandra. I only go to town when I really, really need to.
  2. Is more expensive. (So, I make the trek, which means I need to justify it, which means I will drink more alcohol. Q.E.D)
  3. Really, really limited seating, which sucks. In Zenzi Bandra, you are almost always able to find a bar stool.
  4. AND you can't smoke inside. Boooooooo!

Oh my, I didn't expect that. Looks like all in all, Zenzi Mills (just about) defeats Zenzi Bandra. We'll keep that in mind next time we have a Zenzi craving. That is weird.

Want a place reviewed? Want to review something yourself? Send me an email with the subject line DD review to thecompulsiveconfessorATgmailDOTcom

Monday, August 3, 2009

Banana Bar @ Hotel New Castle, Linking Road

How to get there: Get on to Linking Road, and keep going straight till you see a sign for 'Little Tomatoes' on your right. A little while after that is a home decor shop and a sign for 'Just Parathas' next door. Stop at Just Parathas, go inside and to the first floor.

What I like about Banana Bar:
1) You can SMOKE there--in the balcony area. I am so sick and tired of having to go outside each time I need a cigarette, which when I'm drinking is fairly often.

2) The drinks are relatively cheap and almost every night has a special buy-one-get-one-free before 10 pm.

3) The waiters always fix you exactly what you like.

What I don't like:

1) If you HAVE to sit indoors, on a day there are like three other people there, turn down the music. Seriously.

2) The bar snacks are meh. Nothing to write home about.

But Banana Bar remains a favourite for my friends and I--primarily because of its economic viability and the fact that you can smoke there. Plus fun 90s music on Saturday nights when you can actually get drunk and it doesn't seem so loud anymore.

Want a place reviewed? Want to review something yourself? Send me an email with the subject line DD review to thecompulsiveconfessorATgmailDOTcom

The Drunken Diva

A long time ago, when I still worked in Delhi with the internet start-up, I started a blog with them called the Drunken Diva. The aim was to be a separate blog from The Compulsive Confessor, which I tried to do cleverly by making references to "eM" and talking about myself as "we". The blog was basically about reviewing Delhi nightlife honestly and fairly.

Anyway so this morning I got a comment on that long ago blog (some spam thing on curing male impotence) and I was so curious that I retrieved the password and logged on to the email address and I went through the blog and realised it was a damn good idea, even now.

You can see the old blog here. As for this space, I'm going to be doing exactly the same thing--reviews about Bombay's (or Delhi's) nightlife, done from my P.O.V. Anyone wanting to chime in or suggest a review can email me at thecompulsiveconfessorATgmailDOTcom. I want this to be a collaborative effort, as far as possible.

Welcome! And enjoy your weekend!

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