When it comes to Bombay’s bastions of old-world charm, there’s no where quite as timeless as The Taj Mahal Palace hotel.
An iconic stalwart of the city’s storied past, the hotel is home to Harbour Bar – the oldest licensed bar in Bombay and perhaps one of the most fetching spots to sink a cocktail (or few) whilst idly gazing out at the boats, ships and yachts gently treading out against the ocean waves…
The bar’s Speakeasy Nights (every Friday and Saturday) present a particularly enticing proposition, set against an enthralling soundtrack of jazz tunes. In fact, the bar has a rather strong link to the American prohibition era, with its signature cocktails created in celebration of the abolition of the prohibition.
As the story goes, an American who had his yacht moored by the Gateway found his way to Harbour Bar upon hearing news of the end of the prohibition. Having been thirsty for many, many years, he requested the bartender to concoct something special to commemorate the occasion… The rest they say is history, with the resulting cocktail “From The Harbour” as inviting a sight today, as it was back then (in 1933!) – a lush combination of gin, local fruit juices (and a few secret ingredients!) elevated by the flaming cognac poured on top for a high-octane finish.
From the Harbour @TajMahalMumbai… Created in 1933 as lasting tribute to the end of the Prohibition Era, this signature cocktail is set apart by flaming cognac poured on top! Do ask the affable bartender Bhushan for the story behind this creation, it’s as intriguing as the drink itself! #DrinkThis #HarbourBar #TajHotels @TajHotels #TheFoodieDiariesBombay
Truth be told, the stories accompanying the signature cocktails (engagingly retold by the old guard bartender, Bhushan) are as enthralling as the drinks themselves; and of course, there’s plenty to whet your appetite too with a bar menu curated by the hotel’s highly sought-after restaurants, Golden Dragon and Wasabi by Morimoto. Think devilishly deep-fried tofu and immaculate sushi rolls assembling an intriguing medley of ingredients, from high-grade black garlic (sourced specially from Japan), to delicate wisps of black truffle…
Needless to say you might pop in for a quick drink, only to find yourself still steadily perched by the marbled bar a few hours later – swapping stories and local tips with hotel guests, as you unwind over yet another round of sushi and cocktails! It might be the city’s oldest bar, but really Harbour Bar is a contemporary classic in its own right too.
Harbour Bar, Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai, Apollo Bandar, Colaba, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001
More on going out in Mumbai, here.