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1911 Bar
Photograph: Courtesy 1911 Bar

The 9 best bars in Delhi

To truly experience the Indian capital, visit the best bars in Delhi, where old and new seamlessly and gorgeously mingle

Written by
Ariel Sophia Bardi

A thriving, sprawling city of more than 20 million souls, Delhi’s attractions might cover centuries but its bars and pubs are focused on one thing and one thing only: having a darn good time, right here, right now.

Delhi doesn’t have the glitz and glamour of Mumbai but can still dish up more than enough crisp beers and masterfully mixed cocktails. The best bars and pubs in the Indian capital set their own trends and blaze their own paths – here are the pick of the bunch.

📍 The best things to do in Delhi
🍛 The best Delhi street food
🏛 The best museums in Delhi
🪩 The best clubs in Delhi

Best bars in Delhi

1. Hauz Khas Social

Hustle by day, party by night in this sprawling, multi-floor and millennial-packed co-working and nightlife hub. Though smack-dab in the middle of Hauz Khas Village – South Delhi’s main party mecca – this crowd-pleaser pub boasts serene views over the tree-lined lake in Deer Park, plus a something-for-everyone roster of special events. The hipper-than-thou hotspot was even featured in the 2015 Bollywood hit Tamasha.

2. Cirrus9

The rooftop bar of the iconic (and recently revamped) luxury hotel The Oberoi is open late and boasts a touch of old-school sophistication. If you’re itching for a classic gin and tonic but haven’t ticked off enough tourist sites on your to-do list, then ease your conscience with postcard-perfect views of Humayun’s Tomb from the panoramic terrace. Bonus points: the hotel has its own cigar lounge.


3. The Library Bar

You don’t have to be a guest at the palatial Leela Resort – one of Delhi’s most opulent hotels – to enjoy its stylish, mood-lit lobby bar. But you do have to be over 25, so college-aged revellers be forewarned. This is the ultimate retreat from Delhi’s unrelenting hustle and bustle, with cosy corner banquettes making for the perfect date night. Whiskey aficionados will appreciate the 172 brands of single-malt and premium brands on offer.

4. The Piano Man Jazz Club

Get your saxophone fix at this sweet, sultry and adorably pint-sized Safdarjung staple. Ignore the slightly silly Billy Joel reference. This club attracts the most white-hot musical acts in town, plus in-the-know performers from abroad. Be warned, reservations are a must if you plan on ever sitting down and there is a strict no-talking policy during performances.


5. 1911

This time-warp bar – part of the stately old Imperial Hotel in Janpath, which opened in 1936 – gives a nod to the year in which New Delhi became the capital of British India. Come for the first-rate cocktails – there are over 500 beverages on offer – and stay for the museum-worthy military memorabilia that decorates the blue-wallpapered, Downtown Abbey-esque Hardinge Room.

6. Summer House Cafe

Located in laid-back Hauz Khas Market (just a stone’s throw away from rowdier Hauz Khas Village), this hip South Delhi watering hole and music venue tends to draw a diverse crowd that includes the embassy workers and aspiring DJs. The eclectic clientele makes for first-class hobnobbing, especially during special theme nights throughout the week.


7. Olive Bar and Kitchen

Located near the twelfth-century Qutub Minar in fashionable Mehrauli, this Italian restaurant and bar is a pitch-perfect venue for a boozy Delhi brunch. Italian gastronomy isn’t the easiest sell in Mughlai-crazy Delhi, but this food and drink menu more than holds its own – especially if you like flavoured martinis. Plus, you might just rub shoulders with the biggest names in the city, from fashion designers to movie directors. In the evenings, the venue hosts everything from disco nights to film screenings.

8. Dzukou Tribal Kitchen

This stylish, down-to-earth bar and eatery combines finger-licking-good cuisine from Nagaland with homey decor and an unpretentious drink menu. Nothing pairs quite so well with a Kingfisher beer or Black Dog whiskey as a sampling of fiery-hot northeastern snacks, like house-made crispy shredded pork or Naga chicken wings. If sprawling out on cushions is your thing, then this should be your go-to spot.


9. Farzi Cafe

Don’t be put off by the speakeasy-like entrance within Connaught Place. This ambience-heavy restaurant-cum-bar is well-worth the find, even if it involves stumbling through a clothing store to get to a confusingly tucked-away staircase. Connaught Place – the horseshoe-shaped, Georgian-style shopping arcade completed by the British in 1933 – is practically built for bar hopping. Wallet-friendly cocktail pitchers and a menu full of tantalizing, fusion snacks (goat cheese Tikki, anyone?) will give you a good head-start.

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