homelifestyle News30 best bars in India: Khakra spiked cocktails stir up a storm — what else is shaking us up

30 best bars in India: Khakra-spiked cocktails stir up a storm — what else is shaking us up

30 best bars in India: Khakra-spiked cocktails stir up a storm — what else is shaking us up
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By Nishtha Pandey  Mar 14, 2023 1:44:47 AM IST (Updated)

The 30 best bars of India 2022 were announced yesterday and it seems India is on the forefront of a cocktail revolution. Pune is showing the way with radically hyperlocal drinks while it's all about class and cutting edge equipment in Delhi. So, it's not a bad idea at all to scan the top bar trends across major cities India, even as you sip your latest favourite.

Glasses clinking, subtle lighting, artsy décor, vigorous bartenders and cocktails have been defining bars for centuries but now the focus has started to shift. The 30 best bars of India 2022 were announced yesterday, January 17 — based on a poll of over 250 bar enthusiasts, beverage influencers, and industry experts — that highlighted India as the new and emerging market for the bar industry.

India’s bar industry in the global eye

“India is a market of creativity in innovation and cocktail making and it is indeed a focus market,” said Thomas Mayr, Marketing and CCM Director Asia, Campari Group.

In fact, the market of pubs, bars, clubs and lounges (PBCLs), as part of the organised food service industry across India, has been rapidly growing. As per data from statistics website Statista in 2014, the market value of pubs, bar cafes and lounges in India amounted to about Rs 10,000 crore. Meanwhile, as per data by market research company IMARC group, the market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.3 percent during 2023-2028.

As per Greogorie Verdin, AVP, Head of Marketing at Sula Vineyards, India is the emerging wine market with immense potential for creativity.

According to a report by Reuters quoting data by IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, India's $20-billion (€20.5 billion) alcohol market is set to grow by 7 percent annually in the 2021-25 period, with whisky and spirits among favourites. However, the bar industry did see a dip due to the pandemic, where consumption dropped nearly 12 percent.

But there has been a steady recovery, with bars emerging in tier 2 and 3 cities. “In the ranking from 21 to 30, we saw a diversity with bars from eight cities, and in our list of Top 50 bars we did see bars from Jaipur, Pune and Guwahati,” said Vikram Achanta, Co-Founder of 30BestBarsIndia.

Here’s a look at the bar trends in India:

Mumbai dominates, Pune prefers hyperlocal drinks

Mumbai made the most significant strides in new bar openings and the strength of beverage programmes, with eight bars making it to the Top 30. Meanwhile, four bars from Pune ran away with awards in individual categories.

Mayur Marne, owner of Cobbler and Crew, Pune, which focuses on hyperlocality in its drinks — with shrikhand, khakra and thecha flavoured cocktails — has seen immense growth in business with revenue growing from Rs 55 lakh per month to Rs 70 lakh in the span of three months, spurred by demand for hyperlocal flavours.

What Delhi demands

As per industry experts from Delhi, customers here are aware of what they want. “Sustainability, prioritising quality, hospitality and catering to customer needs is the trend that will dominate 2023,” said Minakshi Singh, Co-Founder, Sidecar, Delhi, the bar which ranked first in the list of top 30 bars.

Meanwhile, as per the best bartender of 2022, Santanu Chanda, Group Beverage Manager, The Home, New Delhi, the city wants to see new innovations; and machinery is the next big thing for the industry. “Customers want to experience hospitality, conceptualised menus, minimalistic drinks and simplicity which comes out as ultimate efficiency. With this evolution (comes the need for) new machinery,” he added.

Bengaluru is all up for sustainability and the story!

Garden city and India's silicon valley, Bengaluru, has been dubbed ‘beer capital’ of the country, but the demand for cocktails is rapidly rising in the city. As per Sarath Nair, Beverage Manager at Copitas, Four Seasons Hotel, the ‘Bengaluru experience’ is the trend here.

The bar sells 800-900 cocktails per month, which are based on local experience, indigenous spirit and hyperlocalisation, aiming towards a greener future.

“All bartenders get ingredients from their hometown and drinks inspired by that are made because it’s all about how you make the customer feel,” he added.

The guests receive re-plantable “seed bombs” as takeaways after their evening of cocktails, and are also encouraged to carry home the coasters used to place their glasses on, as they are made from holy basil seeds, making for meaningful gifts in themselves.

Kolkata is evolving while and Goa's goes back to past

Kolkata has been a city of restaurants, bars and nightclubs but now the customers have been moving towards pubs and microbreweries. “Cocktails are coming to Kolkata,” said Tanmoy Roy, Corporate Head, F&B division, of Grid Kolkata.

Roy, who has been in the business for the past 22 years, believes that a little combination of everything is what makes a bar standout in Kolkata.

Meanwhile in Panjim, Goa, the old school culture vibe is making a return. Dhruv Tutja, Co-Founder of Miguel's Panjim, has been seeing a rousing response from customers for the bar's vinyl records, where guests can listen to music while sipping on local brews.

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