|Delhi is far
behind Mumbai, the capital of Indian nightlife. In Delhi, it is
almost impossible to obtain an alcohol license. Most of the swishiest
bars and nightclubs are in the five-star international
hotels – with prices to match. Apart from these hotels,
the drinking venues of Delhi are located around Connaught Place,
with various outposts in the more upmarket southern suburbs.
Wine in Delhi is expensive and often of questionable quality –
those who wish to drink would be wise to stick to spirits, cocktails
or beer. There is no minimum drinking age, however the minimum
purchasing age in India is 18 years. The price of a beer in
Delhi can vary considerably, depending on the establishment, however,
averages out to approximately Rs200.
Local newspapers (Times of India or Hindustan Times
) publish daily and weekly listings on nightlife in Delhi.City
Guide City Scan, and delhidiary magazines also publish
Anyone who has visited Delhi returns to tell about the Rodeo
bar, A-Block, Connaught Place, because of the fake saddle seats
at the bar and its Indian waiters dressed, quite absurdly, as cowboys.
The Pegasus bar, L-Block, Connaught Place, is the most credible
attempt in Delhi to replicate an English pub. The Maurya Sheraton,
Diplomatic Enclave, has a cheerful bar behind the lobby of
the hotel, with a golfing theme. Henri’s on top of
the Meridien Hotel, Windsor Place, offers a panoramic view of the
city. The popular Cavalry Bar, in the Oberoi Maidan Hotel,
Civil Lines, is a relic of the Raj and will appeal to those who
enjoy bars to be simple and smart. Rick’s, located
in the Taj Mahal Hotel, 1 Mansingh Road, has recently been renovated
in a swish modernist style and offers live music to boot. In Defence
Colony Market there is a new and extremely loud bar above the restaurant,
Gola. Vasant Vihar boasts a TGI Fridays – very
popular among hip young Delhiites – and the Golden Dragon,
both situated in C-Block, Market. Expresso bars are increasingly
popular and many can be found throughout the city. The Barista
chain is the most widely established.
There are no casinos in Delhi as gambling in India
– with the exeption of the racecourse – is illegal.
There are around half a dozen discos that are regular haunts
of up scale Delhiites. Most are in the luxury hotels and several
of them have a couples-only policy, as well as a dress
1 of the most fashionable is CJ’s, at Le Meridien,
Windsor Place. The newly opened RPM, above Lazeez Affaire
restaurant, Shopping Centre, Malcha Marg, Chanakypuri, has an energetic
vibe and is popular among younger, well-heeled Delhiites. Annabelles,
at the Inter-Continental, Barakhamba Avenue, Connaught Place and
Wheels, at the Ambassador, Sujan Singh Park, both have a
The Jazz Bar, at the Maurya Sheraton, Sardar
Patel Marg, stages live jazz every evening, performed by Indian
musicians. The Tavern, at the Hotel Imperial, on Janpath,
provides the same in its restaurant-cum-bar.
The foremost performing arts institute is Sangeet Natak Akademi,
Firoz Shah Road (tel: (011) 338-7246), while the arts complex of
Triveni Kala Sangam, Tansen Marg (tel: (011) 371-8833), boasts
2 galleries committed to fine art and an open-air and an indoor
theatre, as well as a bookshop and sculpture park.
Alongside Delhi's ‘chaterati’, the India International
Center, 40 Lodhi Estate (tel: (011) 461-9431), is a political
icon and post-Independence institution. The capital’s leading
cultural center, it organizes lectures, seminars, dance recitals
and music, as well as screening films on all aspects of Indian culture
Nearby is the huge and newly constructed Indian Habitat Center,
junction of Lodhi Road and Max Mueller Marg, which offers an interesting
and upbeat program of drama and lectures.
Most of the cultural centers host exhibitions and concerts, as well
as presenting films in English or their native language. These include,
on Kasturba Gandhi Marg, the German cultural center Max Mueller
Bhavan (tel: (011) 332-9506), the American Center (tel:
(011) 331 6841), at D13 NDSE Part II, the Alliance Francaise
(tel: (011) 625 8128), on Golf Links, the British Council (tel:
(011) 371-1401), and the Italian Culture Center (tel: (011)
687-1901), and, on Firoz Shah Road, the Japan Cultural Center
(tel: (011) 332-9838) and the Russian Cultural Center (tel:
(011) 332-9102), which houses the Eisenstein Film Club.
Local newspapers (Times of India or Hindustan Times )
publish daily and weekly listings of all events and are a good reference
for anyone interested in sampling the rich cultural life of Delhi.
City Guide, City Scan, and delhidiary magazines
also carry listings. While reading the newspapers, one can also
gain insight into another aspect of Indian culture – the marriage
columns. ‘Brides Sought’ and ‘Grooms
Required’ in the weekend newspapers are essential reading.
Delhi’s concert halls are busy year round, with the Delhi
Symphony Orchestra performing at the FICCI Auditorium,
Tansen Marg (tel: (011) 335-7369) and the Kamani Auditorium,
Copernicus Marg (tel: (011) 338-8084).
Hindustani music is without a doubt the most popular, closely followed
by Karnatic music. Many of Delhi’s open-air venues, including
the majestically lit Qutb Minar, provide a dramatic backdrop
for select performances. The Delhi Music Society (tel: (011)
611-5331) is based at Nayaya Marg, Chanakyapuri.
Delhi has many innovative theatres and the area just to the north
of India Gate is home to quite a few of these, including the Kamani
Theatre (tel: (011) 338-8084), on Copernicus Marg. The Abhimanch,
Bahawalpur House (tel: (011) 338-9402), presents a sensational program
of theatre, films and dance throughout the year.
Lovers of dance are well provided for in Delhi, with a rich mix
of classical – including Kathak, Kathakali, Bharatnatyam
and– tribal and folk dance, as well as ballet performed at
various auditoria throughout the year.
Delhi-Mehrauli Road, is a great place to join well-heeled Delhiites,
as they relax over a meal or a drink while taking in an open-air
music or dance performance. The India International Center,
40 Lodhi Estate (tel: (011) 461-9431), and Triveni Theatre,
205 Tansen Marg (tel: (011) 371-8833), are both popular venues for
regular, professional dance shows.
Cinema is without a doubt the most popular form of entertainment
in India – an estimated 23 million Indians see a film every
day. The glitzy love stories and action movies of Bollywood beckon
huge audiences and their stars are national celebrities. There are
several cinemas in Delhi, some showing only films in English, some
only in Hindu and some in both languages. English-language films
are shown, among many others, at the Kasmiri Gate, Ritz, and the
The movie that is closest to Delhi’s beating heart is the
extremely popular Monsoon Wedding (2001), which was filmed in the
city. The vibrant marketplaces of Delhi punctuated director Mira
Nair’s beautiful celluloid weaving of character, place and