Mumbaikars have an unusually easy-going attitude to alcohol; popping into a bar for a beer is very much accepted (for men at least), even at lunchtime. Colaba Causeway is the focus of the travellers’ and local students’ social scene but to sample the cutting edge of the city’s nightlife, you’ll have to venture to the suburbs, where the trendiest places have turned the city’s Draconian licensing laws to their advantage by serving gourmet food to complement the range of imported beers, wines and cocktails.
Despite a 1.30am curfew (only clubs within hotels are allowed to carry on later), Mumbai’s clubbing scene remains the most full-on in India. Tiny, skin-tight outfits that show off razor-sharp abs and pumped-up pecs are very much the order of the day for boys, and spray-on mini-dresses and kitten heels are de rigueur for the girls. Dancefloors get as rammed as a suburban commuter train and the cover charges can be astronomical on weekends. Door policies and dress codes tend to be strict (“no ballcaps, no shorts, no sandals”), and, in theory, most clubs have a “couples-only” policy. In practice, if you’re in a mixed group and don’t appear sleazy you shouldn’t have any problems.