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What’s the deal with Bandra West?
When in Mumbai, you simply must visit Bandra. This part of town draws in visitors with its old-meets-new charm, with conserved 17th-century architecture contrasting starkly with uber-chic cafés and to-die-for upscale restaurants.
The locals may long for the good ol’ days sans busy streets, yet they still nurture a deep sense of community. If you meet any Bandra boy or girl, they’ll seem utterly convinced their area has everything you could possibly need. And once you’ve been here, you’ll most likely agree. From trendy superfood cafés to craft beer bars, streetside shopping to high-end boutiques, the chock-a-block main streets and lazy bylanes of Bandra have it all.
If you only do one thing...
Visit the Bandra Fort, built by the Portuguese in 1534, which offers breathtaking views of the Arabian Sea and the iconic Bandra-Worli Sea Link.
Catch an up-and-coming comic – or a veteran of the Mumbai comedy circuit – at The Cuckoo Club. A few months back, they had Aziz Ansari perform an incognito after-hours gig here three nights back to back.
Go off the beaten track
Photograph: Flickr / Satish Krishnamurthy
From the bylanes of Chapel Road to Chuim village, Bandra’s walls make the perfect blank canvas for local graffiti artists. Grab your camera and head out on an aimless walk around the neighbourhood – you’ll come away with some brilliant snaps.
Bandra is packed with students, so you can certainly eat on the cheap here. One place that attracts hordes of college-goers is old-school favourite Candies at Pali Hill, where a simple sandwich and drink costs less than $2. Elsewhere, from vegan shakes to skinny lattes, gluten-free cakes to dairy-free ice creams, Bandra’s food scene caters to everyone. If you’re into your healthy eating, then Farmer’s Café may be for you. Head to Koinonia Coffee Roasters in Chuim Village for the perfect cold brew, and Taj Mahal Tea House for an array of excellent teas and snacks in a humbly done-out setting. If you’re out late, all roads lead to Sigdi Restaurant and its moreish butter chicken rolls.
Whether you’re more into your dive bars or cocktail palaces, Bandra West’s got you. For an authentic Bandra experience, visit Janta Bar at Pali Hill and team fried fish with beer, or try old school tavern The Yacht for cheap-ish drinks of all kinds. Cocktail lovers should head to The Daily for all the mixology classics. The Bandra Reclamation area offers the city’s finest brews at Doolally Taproom and Brewbot, famous for its heady dark beers.
How to get to Bandra West
Jump on an inner-city train heading westwards and you’ll hit Bandra station. In good weather it can fun exploring Bandra on foot, but you can also hail a rickshaw pretty much anywhere.
What else is nearby?
The corporate district of Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) is just a short ride away and brims with some of Mumbai’s finest restaurants. We’d also recommend a wander around the ‘fisherman’s village’ of Khar Danda near Carter Road.