When in Goa, there’s much to choose from if you want to party the night away. Whether you dig electronic music or jazz, rock and roll or pop, Goa’s live music culture hankers to every taste. Sure, you’ll find yourself in the midst of a party when you step into every other beach shack or restaurant and bar by the road. But don’t go about expecting something out of the ordinary when it comes to the best in food, music and drinks. There are but a few places in Goa that quite effortlessly exude a cool vibe; they’re the bars every Goa insider and local frequents. Here are three of these unassuming bars that are keeping things real in Goa.
Soro — The Village Pub
The restaurant and bar Soro, in the quiet village of Assagao, has fast become a popular live music venue for locals and tourists alike. A throwback to an old village tavern of yesteryears, Soro’s design retains the old-world charm of its original structure. Most of its exterior walls have been left untouched and this rustic feel flows well into its cleverly conceptualised industrial-themed interior. Heritage tiles, rustic brick walls, vintage graffiti and exposed ducts add to its quaint ambience. Soro, which translates to “alcohol” in Konkani doesn’t just channelize Goa’s laidback charm of erstwhile times; the atmosphere is just as lively. A typical evening at Soro — particularly its jazz evenings and rock nights — is a far cry from the flashy club parties that seem to be taking over the coastal state. While the menu is multi-cuisine, it does carry a local touch with dishes like salted tongue and beef chilli fry. The experience of travelling back in time to Goa in its heydays is taken up a notch with cool cocktails like the Goan Reviver, a delightful mix of coconut feni, gin, white rum, coconut water and lime juice.
How to get there: Soro — The Village Pub, Badem junction, Siolim Rd, North Goa, Assagao,
Cerveja e Mais
Cerveja e Mais, a gastro pub on the main Candolim stretch, doesn’t have to try too hard to reflect the essence of Goa. The true Goan spirit can be experienced in its interiors, menu, hospitality and the regular set that keeps coming back for more. You cannot miss its standout décor that exudes warmth through wooden furniture, black-and-white wall hangings of famous musicians and an eye-catching exposed-brick bar. Neither can you resist joining in the revelry that takes over night after night, whether it’s karaoke, live music, or even live screenings of football games. The labour of love of the young and enterprising Divya Rosario together with her father, Cerveja e Mais serves authentic Portuguese-tinged dishes that are increasingly hard to find in Goa today. This means that you can indulge in everything from traditional prawn rissoi, corn beef sandwiches and ox tongue roast right up to massive, meaty burgers. The beverage menu has a focus on beer — choose from over 40 beers from across the globe — but ask for your usual rum and coke, and Rosario will happily oblige your request.
How to get there: Opposite Sequeira Vaddo, Candolim
Where does Goa party on a Monday night when most bars are shut after a heady weekend? Cantare tops the list for its famous live music evenings and newly launched Latin dance nights. The laidback bar in the quiet neighbourhood of Saligao is just as popular on every other night, too. Opened in 2009, Cantare occupies the upper level of the restored family house of owner Maurice, although it’s now run by husband-wife duo Mervyn (Maurice’s brother) and Joanne. From the outside, Cantare retains the charm of its idyllic surrounds; once inside, the atmosphere is no different. The restaurant and bar is a favourite with those in the know and locals alike who pop in for a dose of music, a great meal and fantastic cocktails. Whether you choose to be seated in Cantare’s balcony area or in the main bar, the chatter and music coupled with rustic décor exudes the feel of a village tavern. The bar menu is extensive but reasonably priced, while the food menu will ensure you leave with a happy tummy even if dinner isn’t on the cards. The beef potato chops and chicken cafreal are a must-try, but even the Thai food is just as good.
How to get there: 7/73 B Cruz Waddo, Goa, Saligao,
Article by Beverly Pereira
Photo credits: Soro, Cerveja e Mais, Cantare
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