While the idea of rounding up one’s favourite bars in the city might be based on local favourites, nostalgia or merely a matter of convenience, of late, for the people of Delhi, all these roads lead to Vasant Vihar. Perhaps we can attribute Vasant Vihar’s bar scene to Passcode Only, the renowned bar in the area that started it all (offering an old-world charm with its English pub vibe) and attracting a niche audience with its premium cocktail offerings. Now with many bars and speakeasies sprawling up in the area, it has become an obvious choice for those looking to spend a fun night out.
We picked the TLM team’s brains, and compiled a list that is curated to a T, and promises places with immaculate cocktails and the best of vibes.
The best of Vasant Vihar’s iconic bars
PCO: N.S.F.W. Cocktail
A crowd-favourite since its opening in 2012, Passcode Only is considered India’s first speakeasy-style cocktail bar and has since been featured on Asia’s 50 Best Bars. While they do have quite a few interesting cocktail offerings, our pick is their latest fun twist on the anagram ‘Not Safe For Work’ N.S.F.W. Featuring several techniques including fat-washing, it is a perfectly balanced cocktail and a delicious twist on the classic Manhattan. The hero of the drink though is the brown butter-washed bourbon, and saffron and raisin-infused Rosso, balanced with house-made banana liqueur and garnished with Peychaud’s bitters.
Lair: The Sumerian
Offering immersive mixology and pan-Asian dining, Lair, the modern speakeasy, is among the best bars in Delhi and has even featured on India’s 30 Best Bars in 2021 and 2022. Our favourite from their menu is their boozy, complex, sweet and umami offering—The Sumerian. An amalgamation of palatable flavours of chocolate bourbon, salted truffle maple, amaro, walnut bitter, orange bitter, parmesan cheese and honeycomb candle, the drink is a tasting journey in itself.
RED: That’s Nuts
Located in the heart of Vasant Vihar, Red, as the name suggests, is inspired by the many shades and moods of the colour red. The European-Asian restaurant has been making the rounds on the gram and rightfully so. Our pick is the That’s Nuts cocktail, a masterpiece that features peanut butter-washed tequila that harmonises effortlessly with their exclusive homemade spice syrup. Add to that the zesty citric acid component of the drink and you have a sure-shot winner, especially for those who enjoy a little savoury spiciness to their drinks.
Khi Khi: Clarified ‘Pun’ch
The newest kid on the block Khi Khi, a resto-bar, serves up a cocktail storm with their contemporary spins on the classics. Labelled by the founder and chef entrepreneur Tarun Sibal as ‘the bartender’s drink of choice around the world’, the Clarified ‘Pun’ch is the one to try. Featuring pineapple, peach, guava with three variants of Sibal’s favourite spirit — rum (unaged, 4 years, 8 years)—it gives the rum punch a layered texture and a robust mouthfeel.
Miss Pinto: Breakfast In America
The most exciting entrant to Vasant Vihar’s bar and speakeasy scene in 2021, Miss Pinto, located at Basant Lok Community Centre’s second floor has pretty much been a crowd puller since day one. Their bar menu especially has been the star, and is inspired by particular places from around the world. Our pick is the Breakfast In America cocktail—a gin-based drink with basil, orange, marmalade, rosemary and lime.
Perch- Wine and Coffee Bar: Coffee Sangria
Perch needs no introduction to those in Delhi, and has been a favourite for its coffee and cocktail offerings for a while now. Our recommendation is their Coffee Sangria. After all, what’s not to love when there’s equal parts coffee and sangria? A touch of fruity and bitter, it makes for a balanced concoction, with each sip sure to lift up your spirits.
Hoots’ the cocktail room in Vasant Vihar, is right up there on our list of recommendations and we have Asia’s 50 Best bars list to back us up where it features in the top 100. Our favourite from the menu is the No#7, with notes of citrus and sweet, the gin-based drink features Fernet-Branca and is clarified with milk and makes for a near perfect cocktail to get the evening started.