Colombo, being the commercial capital has a growing nightlife with a selection of bars and pubs offering a much welcome diversion and places to unwind. If you are on the look out for a quiet time out, then In on the Green would be ideal with its British pub grub and laid back quiz nights. For party animals who need some noise, Floor by O! with a range of exciting cocktails and drinks, is the best choice. Further most bars and pubs offer ‘happy hour’ and live music by popular bands guaranteeing a fun night out. As most of these bars and pubs are scattered around the city, if you are planning to bar hop, a reliable tuk tuk or a cab is a definite must.
A British-inspired bar with elaborate adornments and pictures depicting old Colombo, the Echelon Pub at the Hilton is where many go to grab a drink—chilled beer especially—with friends. A place to unwind after a long day’s work, the pub serves international beers, premium spirits, cocktails and traditional pub grub. For some light sport action play a game of pool or lounge around to catch sporting action on the giant screen.
In the battle of providing the best view for guests, many swear that perhaps ON14 has by far the best views in the city. With inspiring views, a good selection of cocktails and a daring menu, ON14 reflects sophistication. A rooftop pool adds to ON14’s glamour while if bad weather sets in you can always take your party inside where taste in decor, drinks and food goes hand in hand. One highlight is a chandelier that changes colour (it’s not the effect of the cocktails). A little quirky, a visit to ON14 can intrigue.
Called one of the hippest bars in Colombo, the post-modern design of the Sky Lounge complements nightly entertainment with a menu of exciting and creative selections. Sky Lounge also carries cigars, premium champagne and signature molecular cocktails. The view is sensational attracting patrons to gaze at the Colombo Port, the old parliament and the Galle Face Green. Be there before dusk to witness the stunning sun when the sky’s cloudless. A popular venue for stargazers and to view Colombo’s burgeoning skyline.
The mood in Margarita Blue is anything but blue. It’s a jolly ground floor cocktail lounge with great live music (by Mirage from Wednesday to Saturday), especially retro. There’s traditional pub games too, such as darts, snooker and pool, and even a giant screen for sports fans to catch up on the latest game, keeping patrons engrossed. If the mood is right and the music cool, dance along to it; it’s that kind of place.
In a parlour created with glass walls and ceiling, ZAZA bar is all about providing an outdoorsy feeling while enjoying the comforts of an indoor bar. By day ZAZA is an atmospheric venue which is a fusion of modern and abstract elements. It’s the place to sip some premium blended Ceylon tea or a tea mocktail while listening to engrossing lounge music. Then as darkness falls the bar swings, with a ready range of international wines, spirits and innovative signature cocktails, ZAZA bar is a must.
Perched on the 26th floor of the Cinnamon Red Hotel, Cloud Red is the highest rooftop bar in Colombo. Providing an unobstructed 360º view of the city, Red is the pervading theme, of course with some other colours thrown in. There are stunning views of the ocean, harbour or the twinkling lights of the city at night, or you can catch the spectacular sunset if you make it to the bar before 5.45pm. Comfy seating creates a very relaxed ambience spiced with some contemporary jazz, and there is a sheltered enclosure if it happens to rain. The menu has a varied selection of beverages, tapas and some fusion dishes; the service is fast and efficient. Cloud Red’s a great place to chill, muse on the view and nibble away on some tasty snacks.
A charming space with a one-of-a-kind interior and dim lighting to create the right mood for relaxing, The Loft at the Colombo Courtyard is about being trendy but basic, albeit in a wonderful way. Recycled pieces of scrap such as tractor parts for bar stools, crinkled sheet ceilings and cushions made out of sacks make up most of the décor. While it is unconventional, the drinks are traditional made by a bar tender who can also whip up some impressive cocktails.