India // Mumbai //

Bars and nightlife

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Mumbaikars have an unusually easy-going attitude to alcohol; popping into a bar for a beer is very much accepted (for men at least), even at lunchtime. Colaba Causeway is the focus of the travellers’ social scene but if you want to sample the pulse of the city’s nightlife, venture up to Bandra and Juhu.

Despite a 1.30am curfew introduced in 2005 (only clubs within hotels are allowed to carry on later), Mumbai’s nightclub scene remains the most full-on in India. Tiny, skin-tight outfits that show off razor-sharp abs and pumped-up pecs are very much the order of the day, especially in venues frequented by Bollywood’s movers and shakers – and the pretty young things desperate to break into the industry. Dominated by filmi pop mixes, the music is far from cutting edge by the standards of London or New York, but no one seems to mind. Dancefloors get as rammed as a suburban commuter train and the cover charges are astronomical. Door policies and dress codes tend to be strict (“no ballcaps, no shorts, no sandals”), and, in theory, most clubs have a “couples-only” policy – they charge per couple on the door (with a portion of the entrance cost redeemable at the bar). In practice, if you’re in a mixed group or don’t appear sleazy you shouldn’t have any problems. At the five-star hotels, entry can be restricted to hotel guests and members.

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