By Rashmi Goyal
Globe trotters love to check out the different types of nightlife other countries have. Many visitors to India seek some fun nightlife as well as satisfying, thrilling exploration of the land. India has exciting nightlife, not just at five star hotels but also bars, pubs, nightclubs, discotheques and trendy coffee cafes. India’s nightlife is diverse and growing. Most people who travel look forward to unwinding often years of fatigue or just chilling out at some elegant hotel for some fun along with hectic business meets. Whatever the reason, nightlife is avidly sought out – fun and frolic is part of the game.
Nightlife is a term for any entertainment that is available and more popular from the late evening into the early hours of the morning. It includes nightclubs, discotheques, bars, live music concert, cabaret, small theatres, small cinemas, shows, and sometimes restaurants. These venues often have cover charge and their revenue is from sale of alcoholic beverages.
Capital Delhi is a fun place to be in with lots to do and lots to see. Though roads can seem deserted after 11 pm, many bars, discos and coffee shops are open 24 hours. A decade ago a typical night out was a family trip to the latest Bollywood blockbuster. Not any more! Today’s youth make much more money and they want to party. A popular option used to be to go to a five star Delhi hotel that in all likelihood had a private club and bar. Most discos were in 5 star hotels in Delhi. Today, the youth have carved out an active new night life, in South Delhi especially, a collection of upscale neighborhoods stretching from Humayun’s tomb in the north to Qutab Minar in the south. “Delhi is no longer a snake charmer city,” says one nightclub promoter who is planning to publish the first Delhi party listings magazine.
A trend that has set off all over India now is the proliferation of clubs and bars, pubs, discos, coffee joints where the night starts after 9 pm, especially in Delhi. This scene has spread east and south into the neighboring suburbs of Noida and Gurgaon Its no longer a choice between the latest Bollywood blockbuster or the five star hotel in Delhi.
With the advent of lounge bars, Delhi nightlife has been further transformed. If you don’t want to dance, simply lay back and enjoy the ambience and décor with your favorite drink in hand. If you like crowds then its discos for you – freak out on yummy food and drinks and shake a leg whenever the fancy grips you. The discos at Delhi hotels are international standard. Some places even have theme night parties with popular DJ’s for example, Djjins’ at Hayatt, a five star hotel in Delhi. Gradually, nightlife is becoming a top rated entertainment option that has made its way into the itinerary of tourists.
Vibrant nightlife is found all over India. No matter what category hotel you are located at, you can take in a live performance or party until after the sun comes up. Five popular nightlife cities are Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore and Goa, each packed with notorious lifestyle and hedonists, though in most cities in India, nightlife is early to start and early to end because of curfews. Mumbai has the biggest selection of party places, come 1.30 a.m. they all start to close for the night. The scene is similar in Delhi with the exception five star hotels . Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore have 11-11.30 p.m. curfews. Kolkata has no curfew.
In Goa many places are forced to close by 10 p.m. due to noise restrictions. Many venues have found a solution to the curfews by opening during the day or early evening. Surprisingly dancing is banned in Bangalore! In sharp contrast is Kolkata which offers the most for late night party animals. There’s no curfew enabling bars and clubs to stay open until the wee hours of the morning. Large clubs exempt from the curfews are usually found in 5-star hotels in Delhi and other cosmopolitan cities. The facilities are world class – you could easily forget you were in India.
In Mumbai, be it a beach, club, bar or rave party, disco, nightclub, theme based parties, you find amazing crowds of night owls. As in Delhi hotels, popular ones are in five-star hotels. Bangalore, the ‘Pub Capital of India’ , has a reputation for wild yet elite nightlife that is relaxed and enjoyable. The city has 200 clubs and bars. Kolkata is loaded with night clubs and discotheques, bars, discos and pubs. As for Goa, on any night you will find beaches and pubs full of hustle and bustle. The hedonistic state has developed a reputation for outdoor psychedelic trance parties. Other popular locations with such parties are around Manali and Kasol in Himachal Pradesh and Guwahati in Assam.
An interesting term being used in India is “resto-pub” or “resto-bar”. These are restaurants that double as places where you can drink, and sometimes dance late into the night as many restaurants don’t serve alcohol in India. As drinking traditionally isn’t part of India’s culture, the country’s bars tend to be divided into two categories –- cheap, seedy local bars frequented by India’s male population, and classier venues catering to the progressive middle and upper class crowd. The latter are common in hotels of Delhi.
The age for the legal consumption of alcohol varies . In Delhi, it’s 25 years. India’s party state Goa has the lowest legal drinking age of 18 along with Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka. Elsewhere it’s generally 21 years. However, venues aren’t usually strict about enforcing these limits.
Mumbai is the place to come for busy traveler hangouts offering a lively atmosphere and cheap beer. The live music venues in Mumbai are excellent. Bangalore booming pub culture has plenty of live gigs. Rock bands can be found playing in Goa and Delhi.
Until recently, many posh areas of modern New Delhi were rocking with rave parties and the like – and it was not just the fringe ‘fashion’ jet set crowd. Those interested in something more traditional will find no shortage of cultural performances either. Kolkata has grown into the cultural capital of India with lots of live dance, drama, and music. In Mumbai, the National Center for Performing Arts at Nariman Point as well as Delhi, Jaipur and Udaipur in Rajasthan have interesting cultural programs. Delhi, as well as the cities of Jaipur and Udaipur in Rajasthan, also have interesting cultural programs.
Hotels have multiplied in every nook and cranny of India – even the remotest region will have a budget hotel and transport service plus some sightseeing and guides. There is hardly a spot in India that doesn’t have an ancient monument, palace or fort, or exotic wildlife or that bliss giving beach or hill station or scores of fascinating temples both ancient and modern architectural wonders. With the tourist flow, the nightlife in catching up fast everywhere .