The nightlife in Mumbai is the best in India. A wide variety of venues, a cosmopolitan vibe, and a reputation for being safe make the city stand out as a party destination. Casual bars and pubs dominate the scene, as their cheaper alcohol prices are popular among the young crowd, although ritzy nightclubs have made a comeback in recent years.
The majority of nightspots are clustered in and around three Mumbai neighborhoods: the Colaba tourist district in south Mumbai, the entertainment precinct in central Mumbai's Lower Parel (Kamala Mills, Todi Mills and Mathuradas Mills compounds), and Bandra West in the suburbs. Each neighborhood holds different events on different nights, so it's worth checking what's on in advance. Read on to plan your night out on the town.
Mumbai's bars tend to have relaxed Western dress standards and free entry. You can wear the same as what you would if going out back home. Many establishments are open throughout the day and serve food from lunchtime onward. They usually allow kids until a certain time at night, at least in the dining areas. However, expect bars at luxury hotels to have a no-child policy. The best in Mubai include:
- Trendy co-working space by day and bar by night, the Social has branches all over Mumbai. The ones in Colaba, Lower Parel, and Bandra West are most conveniently located. The chain is known for its urban-industrial vibe, innovative yet reasonably priced drinks, and creative young professional crowd. Its large antiSocial venue, at Mathuradas Mills in Lower Parel, also caters to underground music gigs.
- Drink prices fluctuate according to demand at The Bar Stock Exchange. The Colaba branch stands out for its art deco-inspired decor, while the branch in Lower Parel is industrial hip. Loud commercial music and budget drinks are the main features.
- "Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder" at Effingut, the hottest new craft beer bar in Colaba and Bandra West. It's most happening Thursday through Sunday.
- Havana Cafe & Bar at the Gordon House Hotel in Colaba embraces all things Cuban. It's an elegant place with inexpensive drinks and nightly entertainment.
- Mumbai's oldest bar, the Harbour Bar, opened at the luxury Taj Palace Hotel in Colaba in 1933. Try the nostalgic gin-based signature cocktails From the Harbour Since 1933 and The Bombay Blazer (served flaming).
- Award-winning 145 Kala Ghoda transforms from stylish daytime eatery to nighttime party spot with creative cocktails and diverse music ranging from current hits to retro classics. There's a pool table for added fun.
- Dome at the Hotel InterContinental on Marine Drive and recently relaunched Eau Bar at The Oberoi Nariman Point are ideal for a classy sundowner cocktail looking out over the bay.
- On the 34th floor of the Four Seasons Hotel in central Mumbai's Worli neighborhood, Aer sky bar provides incomparable panoramic city views, discounted drinks before 8:30 p.m., and DJs spinning funky tunes later in the night. Glam it up at this chic venue that's open from 5:30 p.m. Thursday to Saturday. Kids and open-toed footwear on men are strictly prohibited.
- Spacious Tamasha, in Lower Parel, attracts a sophisticated crowd with craft cocktails, mood lighting, and lively weekend events. Corporate office workers flock there during the week.
- The Wine Rack wine bar in Lower Parel's High Street Phoenix Mall showcases hundreds of wines from 35 regions across India and the world. They're paired with global comfort food that's been given an Indian spin by Masterchef Australia winner Sarah Todd.
- Jungle-themed Bonobo is part open-air lounge and part air-conditioned dance floor, with a no-Bollywood music policy and artsy crowd. Expect anything from house to disco music, depending on the night of the week. Doors open at 6 p.m. daily.
Clubbing is a costly affair in Mumbai, so the crowd tends to be older and more elite. You'll need to dress to impress so, ditch the shorts and sandals, and put on something fancy. Cover charges ranging from 1,000-5,000 rupees ($15-70) are applicable on busy nights. However, this can commonly be avoided by arriving early before 11 p.m.
- XXO, on the 37th floor of the luxurious St.Regis hotel in Lower Parel, is relatively small but big on glamor. The club is open Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Enjoy a drink and cityscape vista at the neighboring Luna Nudo bar beforehand.
- Long-running Tryst has reinvented itself several times in the decade or so that it's been in business, and is favored by the city's well-heeled young college students. It's located in the Skyzone gaming area of High Street Phoenix Mall in Lower Parel, and is open Wednesday to Saturday. Expect to hear Bollywood and commercial electronic dance music.
- Close to Mumbai airport, The Lalit hotel houses Kitty-Su. This fashionable club is renowned for its underground electronic sounds, top DJs, and inclusive door policy that welcomes LGBTQ+ people and people with disabilities. There's something on most nights.
- Matahaari is a huge commercial club with a femme fatale theme on the top floor of Worli's Atria Mall in central Mumbai. The club is named after a Dutch exotic dancer and spy during World War I. It's open Tuesday to Sunday, with happy hours from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Bollywood music is popular on weekends.
Mumbai regained its status as "the city that never sleeps" in early 2020, with the government allowing malls and restaurants that aren't in residential areas to remain open 24 hours. (The deadline for serving alcohol is 1:30 a.m. though, so most places close then). Various establishments are trialing the feasibility of staying open all night. The few doing so are mostly situated in Lower Parel–in Palladium and High Street Phoenix malls, and the Kamala Mills compound.
Otherwise, your best best for a post-midnight meal is to head to a 24-hour cafe at one of the luxury hotels in Mumbai.
If you want street food, you can get your late-night fix at iconic Bademiya—Colaba's landmark roadside restaurant, which has been serving up succulent kebabs and grilled chicken on the sidewalk since the 1940s. It gets particularly busy after the bars close on weekends. You can find it behind the Taj Palace hotel.
Live bands can be hard to come by in south Mumbai, although there are quite a few places where they play in the suburbs. Here's a selection of the live music on offer:
- The National Center for Performing Arts (NCPA), near the Oberoi hotel in Nariman Point, is the place to go for live traditional Indian music and classical concerts. Many leading musicians have performed there including Kishori Amonkar, Zakir Hussain, Shivkumar Sharma, Ajoy Chakrabarty, and Hariprasad Chaurasia. Grab a bite to eat before or after the show at the center's fine-dining restaurant or casual all-day cafe.
- Thursday nights are band nights at Effingut in Colaba.
- For a dose of nostalgia, the Eau Bar's regular band and pianist specialize in retro music.
- Wednesday nights at Bonobo, in Bandra West, are devoted to eclectic live acts.
- Intimate and dimly-lit, The Bandra Base has the feel of someone's living room and hosts live gigs with space for up to just 60 people at a time.
- Further north, in suburban Andheri West, the Mumbai outpost of the famed Hard Rock Cafe provides a decent dose of American food and culture. Live rock performances are held on certain nights.
There's more information in this guide to the top live music venues in Mumbai.
Feel like a laugh? Mumbai has you covered for stand-up comedy, which has really caught on in the city. Most events take place at the trendy new performing art spaces around suburban Bandra West.
- The top comedians can be seen at Bandra West's main destination for culture, the Cuckoo Club. A small cafe is on the premises.
- That Comedy Club in Bandra West hosts both established and up-and-coming young comedians, with shows every night except Mondays.
- Tuesdays are open-mic comedy nights at The Habitat, an experimental community cafe and "home for performers" at Hotel Unicontinental next to Khar railway station (bordering Bandra West).
- Mumbai's comedians test their new material nightly at Standup Labs in Khar. It's India's first and only comedy venue run by standup comics.
- The Integral Space in Lower Parel sometimes has comedy nights too.
The Mahindra Blues Festival is held over two evenings in February each year at Mehboob Studios in Bandra West. It's billed as the largest blues music festival in Asia.
Tips for Going Out in Mumbai
- Alcohol licensing restrictions force most bars to close by 1:30 a.m. Nightclubs usually remain open later, some until 4 a.m. on weekends.
- The legal drinking age in Mumbai is 25 for spirits and 21 for beer.
- Venues often restrict the entry of single guys (referred to as "stags") or groups of guys, especially on weekends.
- The Mumbai local train runs until around 1 a.m., and the first train departs from Churchgate at 4:15 a.m.
- App-based Uber and Ola cabs are available throughout the night, and are the most reliable way of getting around. Fares are determined according to surge pricing and demand.
- Auto rickshaws (in the suburbs) and taxis can readily be found congregating near nightspots but you'll have to pay 50 percent extra from midnight to 5 a.m.
- Where venues don't automatically add a service charge of 10-15 percent to the bill, a tip of up to 15 percent is satisfactory. Tipping isn't compulsory though.
- Open alcohol containers aren't permitted in the streets in Mumbai. However, some bars will pour your drink into a plastic cup to take away if you haven't finished it at closing time.