WOODSIDE INN IS EVERYONE'S FAVOURITE NEIGHBOURHOOD BAR
Woodside Inn is a bar located in Colaba that serves a great selection of craft brews in addition to the regular beer, wine, and spirits menu. Happy hours are daily from 4;00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., when much of the bar menu has a buy-one-get-one deal. Woodside Inn Colaba is the mothership of the Woodside Inn brand. Its other location is at Andheri.
At our small university campus in a village in the middle of nowhere, Ohio, there weren’t too many options for entertainment, especially if you didn’t have a car. So we did what most young adults in college do – bonded over food and alcohol.
That was more than a decade ago. Now we’re back in Mumbai, older and (hopefully) wiser, and although the location of our friendship has changed, little else has.
Ninety nine times out of 100, our plans to meet revolve around food and drink and, more specifically, happy hours at Woodside Inn. We try to do something different occasionally. One Friday we even naively decided on post-work coffee. But when 5 p.m. rolled around my phone started buzzing. Now that Friday evening is here, would anyone like to meet for drinks instead? Yes.
It seemed we all needed to unwind, and it was at Woodside Inn that we landed up again. It’s the perfect place for us 30-somethings who grew up listening to the rock music that plays from its speakers and prefer the laid-back atmosphere of the dimly lit, homey neighbourhood bar to whatever “it” place the youths are frequenting. Arriving at 6 p.m. on a Friday evening is the only way to guarantee you won’t be standing for the entire night. We’ve cracked the code.
We fiercely hold on to our table, the non-smokers refusing to budge or give up seats when the smokers leave to, well, smoke. The drinks flow freely – it is, after all, happy hours, when the craft beer, among other drinks, is two for the price of one. The running joke is that I can singlehandedly eat all the very many plates of sweet potato chips and spinach and artichoke dip
we I order. By the fourth plate, I do. I’m secretly terrified they’ll take it off the menu one day. What will I do then? Sure, there are plenty of other things on the menu, but you can get bruschetta and pizza and burgers at a lot of places. An appetiser rivalling the delightfully crisp chips and creamy dip I have yet to find elsewhere. To be fair, Woodside Inn does a lot of bar snacks very well. Or so my friends tell me while I’m busy chomping on my chips.
Arriving at 6 p.m. on a Friday evening is the only way to guarantee you won’t be standing for the entire night. We’ve cracked the code.
The bar section isn’t large, and it gets crowded very quickly, yet the staff briskly weaves its way around the lot to refill your drink. You may be down one too many beers and caught up in endless conversation with your friends, but when it nears 8 p.m. they will make their way to you to let you know that happy hours are ending soon in case you want to order one last round and get two. Of course you do, because you’re not ready to leave yet. Why would you be? You’ve got Lenny Kravitz playing in the background, friends you didn’t know would be here have arrived, your drink is chilled and you’re welcome here whether you’re dressed to the nines or wearing flip flops.
If you’re the kind of person who prefers a quiet night, I’m not going to lie – you might want to steer clear of Woodside Inn on weekend evenings. The days, however, are another story. There’s still rock music playing, but it’s softer. Daylight fills the room through the large windows as you settle in to your booth, iced americano (or chilled beer) in one hand, book or laptop in the other. If time flies when you’re here with your friends in the evenings it slows down when you’re here during the day. As far as I’m concerned, the youths can keep their “it” places. I’d rather take an old favourite any day.
Photographs courtesy Woodside Inn.