Kolkata has been slow to pick up on the growing bar and pub trend. Especially when compared to the young cities of Pune and Bangalore. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some fantastic drinking and dancing spots in the city. Most of the best locations are found in swanky hotels, though there are plenty of down-to-earth, after-work spots too. The approach to nightlife is a little more traditional in Kolkata. Dress codes are strictly smart-casual across the city, so take that into account!
As for the music, Kolkata still maintains a strong connection to its Punjabi and Bhangra roots. The DJs play Bollywood remixes, with plenty of Indian flavours in the music. One or two trendy club spaces have opened up recently, experimenting with more international dance music. It’s a sign that Kolkata is beginning to compete with the more cosmopolitan cities. Without further ado, here are the ten best bars and clubs in the city.
Roxy is part of the renowned Park Hotel, and it’s every bit as luxurious as you would expect. It’s actually one of the more modern-looking bars in Kolkata. Its blue, neon lighting and contemporary design makes it an exciting place to drink. Roxy is incredibly popular with the locals, and there’s always a buzzing atmosphere. The drinks are top quality, and the music never feels too overpowering. It’s the perfect place to unwind, and get up and dance later on.
Both the number one and number two Kolkata bars are located at The Park Hotel. It’s the best place in town if you’re looking for a good night out! If Roxy is the club space, then Aqua is perfect for a quieter drink. It’s an alfresco bar, built right on the edge of the sparkling blue pool. In the summer, you can take a dip before ordering a juicy cocktail. Sunset and twilight are particularly popular times here, when the atmosphere is at its most magical.
Nirvana is famous for its enormous Buddha statue, sitting proudly in the centre of the bar. It’s unmissable, and it gives the bar its distinct and individual flavour. The rest of the decor is clean and simple, with a modern touch. It’s a great destination for dinner, before you kick off the night in style. Late in the evening, the DJs take over, and there’s room for some traditional dancing.
4. Shisha Reincarnated
The bar was originally just called Shisha. It was opened in 2003, as Kolkata’s first hookah bar. It has since been redecorated, renovated, and renamed as ‘Shisha Reincarnated’. It has an exotic ambience inside, with rich red velvet and soft mood lighting. It has become an incredibly popular destination for partiers. If you turn up late on a Saturday, it’s unlikely you’ll get in, so get in line early!
5. Someplace Else
Someplace Else fills the gap that Kolkata is so badly missing. It sits in the middle of the range, between the luxury hotel bars and the divey after-work establishments. Someplace Else is the perfect place to unwind in comfortable and cosy surroundings. The bar itself is decked out like a traditional English pub, and you can buy the best craft beer in town. It’s also the only establishment in Kolkata to host live music every night of the year. Expect to see traditional Indian bands playing western rock songs!
Tantra is the biggest club in town, and it’s the late-night destination for most of the revelers in town. It boasts an enormous 5,000 sq. ft. dance floor, and it’s spread across two levels. We suggest avoiding this club during the week, when there’s not much going on. At the weekends, however, it’s a different story! International DJs are invited to play, and the dance floor is packed out until the early hours. If you’re looking for a great night out, look no further.
7. Privy Ultra Lounge
Privy is a very high-end establishment. On busy nights, it’s open to members only, so get there early if you want to experience it for yourself. The decor is modern with a black and red colours scheme. Fibre-optic lighting sets the mood, and gives everything a luxurious, contemporary feel. As for the drinks menu, it’s all about cocktails here at Privy. The Long Island Ice Tea and Flaming Shooters are particular favourites. This is the city’s elite partying space, and you’ll love every second.
This club has gone through a few different names and disguises in the past. It is now Underground, and it’s our favourite reincarnation yet. It’s also become the most popular with the young Kolkata crowd. It has a warm and comfortable vibe, with soft lighting, and traditional features. Japanese and Korean cuisine is served over the dinner hours, and the music is turned up around 9pm for dancing. Underground has become a favourite for its themed nights, though a typical night is pounding Bollywood beats.
9. Xrong Place
Xrong has quickly become one of the most popular destinations for the young crowd. It plays mostly western music, and international dance anthems. It’s another large bar, set over a number of floors (though the first floor is generally considered the best). It is decorated with quirky, modern finishes, and the local crowd love the unique ambience. As for the drinks, Xrong prides itself on classic cocktails. Try a Cosmopolitan, a Thai Sunrise, or a classic single malt.
10. The Basement
The Basement is exactly how it sounds! Located in the basement of The Hotel Samilton, it’s quickly establishing itself as one of Kolkata’s best bars. There’s a main entrance from the road, so hotel guests aren’t disturbed. The glass doorway creates an inviting entrance into the unique and charming basement area. There’s plenty of food on offer, and there’s a fantastic array of spirits and wine. When it comes to dancing, The Basement brings in some of the finest bands in town to play for the revelers.
Kolkata is certainly building its reputation, and we expect many more pubs and bars to open up across the city.
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