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Last updated : Nov 2009
Delhi Nightlife
Delhi Nightlife - TravelPuppy.com
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 listings.


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 code.

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 loyal following.

Live music

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 and environment.

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.

Hauz Khas, 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 Chanakya, Chanakapuri.

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 drama.