Where To Watch The IPL
Seven weeks. Seventy-six matches. Weathering the Indian Premier League’s fifth season can burn a hole in any devout fan’s pocket. What are the best places to grab a pint, nosh on decent food and watch the game in (relative) peace? Whether you’re a cricket nut or an occasional follower, a few wallet-friendly options to consider:
Royal Plaza, next to City Mall, New Link Road, Andheri (West). Tel: 2674 8700/91676 66722. Also above Hometown Cafe, opposte Ramada Palm Grove, Juhu Tara Road, Juhu. Tel: 91676 66770.
When we reviewed Bora Bora back in November, we remarked about the inordinate number of television viewing options. There are no less than 14 TVs plus one projector and another giant, six-panel LED screen. Bora Bora is an 80-seater bar, so that’s one TV for every five people. While they don’t have any special offers for the IPL (they will screen all matches), they do already have generously long happy hours, which run from noon to midnight, from Sunday to Thursday. Provided you stick to Indian brands, you get a free beer for every two you buy, and one free drink for every spirit you purchase. They might have a DJ blaring pop hits on the weekends, but given the fact that Bora Bora is not among Andheri’s most popular pubs there is also a good chance that you’ll always find room here.
Cost of a Kingfisher pint: Rs198 (exclusive of taxes).
CAFE GOA @ THE DEN
Shops No.3 & 4, Prabhat Kunj, 24th Road, in the lane behind KFC, Bandra (West). Tel: 2648 3136.
Comfortable seats, a 72” TV screen (plus a couple of 32” ones), great service, and fantastic food make Café Goa aka the establishment formerly known as The Den, an ideal if slightly pricey place to catch the match. Our menu picks include the garlic-flavoured prawn Tiracol tikkis (Rs240), and the hand-tossed Cafe Goa Special pizza, featuring toppings of Goa sausage, herb chicken and pepperoni (Rs440). With only nine tables in the indoor section, the restaurant is relatively small, but the waiters never hover around you to try and get you to leave. In fact, there have even been times when they’ve heeded our request to switch off the music so we could hear the commentary—something we have managed to do less successfully at other bars. The only minus point: because they open at 5pm, they will only screen the 8pm matches.
Cost of a Kingfisher pint: Rs180 (exclusive of taxes).
Hotel Marine Plaza, Lobby Level, 29 Marine Drive. Tel: 2285 1212.
The pub at Hotel Marine Plaza has long been a favourite match viewing spot, and for good reason. There’s the “olde English pub” ambience with its all-wood interiors and vintage sports memorabilia, and the fact that with five flat screens, and two projectors, the folks at Geoffrey’s make the experience “surround sound” so as to speak. If you come with a large party, try and corner the cosy room at the back, which comes with its own projector screen. The snacks—there’s a special IPL menu with pepper prawns, pomfret and other seafood—and drinks (there are no special deals on booze during the tournament) aren’t cheap. However, if you stick to the best-selling cheddar chilli mousse toast (Rs200) and the chicken banno kebab (Rs325), marinated in a special cheese sauce, you may want for nothing else, except of course a pint or three to wash it all down.
Cost of a Kingfisher pint: Rs215 (exclusive of taxes).
HARD ROCK CAFÉ
Bombay Dyeing Mill Compound, Pandurang Bhudkar Marg, Worli. Tel: 6651 1209.
The 6,000 square feet Worli bar has rolled out a bunch of bargains for their IPL screenings: beer buckets for five at Rs649 plus tax; cocktails pitchers for Rs799 plus tax (options include the “Power Play” mojito pitcher); and combos such as the starter-plus-three drinks offer for Rs699 plus tax, and the BBQ starter-plus-unlimited Indian booze offer for Rs1,099 plus tax. A large projector screen above the bar and 10 LCD TVs that usually show music videos will be used for all the IPL matches, during which they will offer free face painting (so you can sport your team colours) and run on-the-spot contests. Hard Rock does tend to get crowded quickly so it might be wise to book a table before heading here. While it’s by no means cheap, the restaurant’s American-sized portions help keep you fuelled for the long evening ahead. Recommended items include the chicken wings (Rs275 for half-portion inclusive of tax) and the chicken burger (Rs567 inclusive of tax).
Cost of a Kingfisher pint: Rs232 (inclusive of taxes).
MANCHESTER UNITED CAFÉ BAR
Palladium, Third Floor, Phoenix Mills, Lower Parel. Tel: 4360 1111. Also at Infiniti Mall, Level 3, Malad Village, Malad Link Road, Malad (West). Tel: 6196 0300. Nirmal Lifestyle, Level 2, L.B.S. Marg, opposite Nirmal Nagar, Mulund (West). Tel: 6588 8077.
Though MUCB is the regular haunt of football fanatics, it’s also the occasional refuge of cricket fans. The café was built to serve as a hangout for sports fans to congregate over games. As a result, the Lower Parel outpost has two projector screens and five TVs; the Mulund branch has four TVs and two projector screens; and the Malad one has two projector screens and six TVs. They serve a limited, appetiser-focused menu with such pub grub favourites as jalapeno poppers (Rs245), cheesy nachos (275), and chicken wings in a cola BBQ sauce (Rs185). All three outlets run daily happy hours, from 4pm to 9pm, during which you can buy one and get one free drink of domestic alcohol; and buy two and get one free drink of imported alcohol. During the IPL, MCUB will serve 300ml mugs of draught beer for Rs150 (exclusive of taxes). At the Lower Parel branch, they will also offer beer, vodka, rum, gin and tequila towers (their version of a pitcher), prices of which start at Rs699 (exclusive of taxes). On the day of a Mumbai Indians match, this outpost will levy a Rs1,000 per person cover charge. However, MUCB will only screen IPL matches that don’t clash with Manchester United football games.
Cost of a Tuborg pint: Rs225 (exclusives of taxes).
21B, Santhal ONGC Complex, in the lane opposite Lilavati Hosptial, near Candies, Bandra Reclamation, Bandra (West). Tel: 2645 2031. Also at 289 Cadell Road, opposite Natural Ice Cream, Shivaji Park. Tel: 6565 8222.
Masala Zone, which is located next to the Candies in Bandra Reclamation, is perhaps the most value-for-money mid-priced option. The alcohol is reasonable and the starters are well portioned. We strongly recommend the mutton Chandi kebab (Rs145) and the filling Sikandari raan (Rs375). There are plenty of dishes for vegetarians too, from the butter garlic mushrooms (Rs120) and the tandoori aloo (Rs110) to the tandoori kalimirch chaat (Rs110). For the 4pm games, you can sit in the indoor air-conditioned section where they have flat screen TVs, and for the 8pm games, you can get a table in the larger al fresco area, where they have a projector screen. Though there’s music playing throughout, it’s not so loud that you have to scream to have a conversation or hear the commentary. Most importantly, it’s easy enough to score a place here, unless it’s a weekend.
Cost of a Kingfisher pint: Rs162 (exclusive of taxes).
Sagar Palazzio, First Floor, Saki Naka Junction, Andheri (East). Tel: 2859 1277. Also at 7/8 Shiv Shopping Centre, Four Bungalows, J. P. Road, Versova, Andheri (West). Tel: 2634 5664. Jheel Darshan, opposite Powai Lake, above Café Coffee Day, Powai. Tel: 2570, 5222. C/13, Mayfair Greens CHS, Godrej Hiranadani Link Road, Vikhroli. Tel: 4011 0946. R Mall, Third Floor, LBS Marg, Mulund (West). Tel: 2292 9456.
If you live in Andheri or Powai and aren’t in the mood to travel, then Pop Tate’s might be your best bet. There are plenty of screens (the Saki Naka and Versova branches have three and four TVs respectively, both also have projectors, which will be used to show select matches) and the menu spans Indian, Italian, American, and Thai cuisine (they do a reasonable if not spectacular job of each at their price point). Menu picks include the pizzas (Rs144 to Rs199), burgers (Rs94 to Rs139) and the mini meals like the veg curry-rice (Rs199). The quantity of the portions, however, is inconsistent, as is the service. Also, the cramped space (watch out for neighbouring elbows) and bad acoustics pretty much negate any chance of having a conversation without screaming. The booze is relatively cheap, which is important because the happy hours end before the 8pm match (they run from 2.47pm to 7.27pm).
Cost of a Kingfisher pint: Rs145 (exclusive of taxes).
Royal Challenge Complex, off Film City Road, Goregaon (East). Tel: 28400 208.
Royal Challenge is not the place you go to for great food or great ambience. What it does have however is a large projector screen on its rooftop terrace that will be used to show all the 8pm matches. Plus, the alcohol and food—mostly Indian and Chinese staples (though we recommend you avoid the latter)—is pocket friendly. On any given day, your total bill is unlikely to exceed Rs500 per person. In case you want to watch the 4pm match here, they have two TV screens in the indoor section.
Cost of a Kingfisher pint: Rs150 (exclusive of taxes).
SPORTS BAR EXPRESS
Ground Floor, Regal Cinema Building, Shahid Bhagat Singh Road, Colaba. Tel: 6639 6682.
This sports-themed bar may have cricket bats on the wall (and clocks that indicate the time at Lords), but its single projector screen and five plasma TVs (situated behind the bar) and row of bar-facing booths, only make it conducive to comfortable viewing when the venue isn’t that crowded. It’s a prime haunt for office workers in the area, who visit during the happy hours (from noon to 7.30pm) to make the most of the 20 per cent discount on domestic beer, and a buy-one, get-one-free offer on domestic spirits. The food is strictly average (the usual sampling of bar food and Indian snacks like chicken lollypops and masala papad) and whatever you do stay away on Wednesday nights, when it turns into a karaoke joint.
Cost of a Kingfisher pint: Rs217 (exclusive of taxes).
THE IRISH HOUSE
High Street Phoenix, Phoenix Mills, Lower Parel. Tel: 4347 1111.
The Irish House is today what Sports Bar used to be for after-work drinkers half-a-decade ago. Okay so you can’t play pool or shoot hoops at The Irish House but you can park yourself here to watch the IPL matches on their large projector screen near the bar, and or on any of their seven 32” TVs. The food, a mix of finger snacks (Rs200 onwards) like nachos and potato skins as well as mains (Rs250 onwards) such as pie and pasta, is a tad pricey. The booze is relatively more affordable–a grand gets you 3 litres of beer, served in a test tube, while happy hours, where you can get one drink free for every one you buy, run from 5pm to 8pm daily. A word of warning though—the music does tend to get loud, so be prepared to lose your voice from all the cheering, booing and your own running commentary.
Cost of a Kingfisher pint: Rs165 (exclusive of taxes).
THE LITTLE DOOR
B31, Ground Floor, Shri Siddhivinayak Plaza, New Link Road, in the Maruti Suzuki showroom lane, opposite Fame Adlabs, Andheri (West). Tel: 2673 2527.
This new Andheri resto-pub, which already had a projector screen in its indoor section, has installed an additional one in the same area, especially for the IPL. During the tournament, they’re offering cocktail pitchers for Rs997 (exclusive of taxes), six shooters of your choice for Rs1,197 (exclusive of taxes), six beers for the price of four, and four spirits for the price of three. The regular menu boasts some delectable appetisers such as the Keftedes Tiganitos (lamb meatballs, Rs243), Arranchini di Riso (deep fried cheese and risotto balls, Rs223), and chicken wings (Rs223).
Cost of Kingfisher pint: Rs167 (exclusive of taxes).