All the Raj
The creative consultant and cofounder of Design Miami offers her guide for visiting aesthetes.
Since the debut last year of Mumbai’s Bandra–Worli Sea Link, the previously hard-to-reach neighborhood of Worli (pronounced VER-lee) has been reborn. The $400 million, two-mile-long bridge cut the one-hour commute between north and south to barely five minutes, fueling a burgeoning bar and restaurant scene. Here, our picks for the best places to eat, shop, and make merry in Maximum City’s newest hot hood.
A former textile mill, this space has been repurposed into a futuristic bar–cum–concert venue, washed in blue lights and dotted with podlike booths. With a lineup that includes both respectable foreign bands and top-tier local talent, it even boasts its own indie record label (91.22.6158.6158, bluefrog.co.in).
Socialite Anita Lal’s 20,000-square-foot complex is piled high with her signature bright tableware—from handblown glasses and jugs to earthenware dishes—as well as Day-Glo cushions that look like giant sequined M&M’s and trippy silk-screened canvases that resemble Hindified Warhols. Upstairs is the Tasting Room, a casual café that morphs into a formal restaurant after dark (91.22.2495.1954, goodearthindia.com).
This rooftop bar—atop the 34-story Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai—has staggering views of Worli’s winding streets. With a mirrored staircase, mod white furniture, and lots of leggy models, the vibe is Miami meets Mumbai. There’s a bar menu of Middle Eastern– inflected snacks and a lengthy cocktail list; try the Horizon, with vodka, coconut water, and curry leaves. Spot Bollywood stars at sunset, when famous faces slink in before the mobs descend (91.22.2481.8444, fourseasons.com).
Inside the food court on the fourth floor of a mall is an odd spot to find the city’s hottest nightclub. But despite its off-putting location, the year-old Hype throbs with boom-era bling, sleek chesterfield sofas, and a Euro-trashy crowd that isn’t afraid to dance. Co-owner and Bollywood fave DJ Aqeel keeps the place stocked with paparazzi-friendly stars like Hrithik Roshan (Bombay’s Brad Pitt). The best time to visit is when Aqeel himself is spinning; check his enthusiastic tweets (twitter.com/djaqeelforever) for updates (91.22.2481.3799, hypetheclub.com).
HIGH STREET PHOENIX
This onetime textile mill has been reinvented as a luxury shopping hub. Look for Hollywould-like shoe store Trèsmode (tresmode.com); Hidesign, where customers can choose from more than 100 styles of handmade handbags (hidesign.com); and Shantanu & Nikhil, named for brothers whose floaty, flattering dresses bring to mind Stella McCartney (shantanunikhil.com). A 410-room Shangri-La hotel will open next year (shangri-la.com).
TOTE ON THE TURF
Huddled at the edge of the Mahalaxmi Racecourse, this former betting room, or “totalizer,” has shed its Raj-era roots thanks to a radical makeover by Rahul Akerkar, Mumbai’s answer to Keith McNally. Nab a table on the veranda (the buffet brunch is chic and social), or head upstairs to the bar, where refugees from nearby offices are three-deep most evenings (91.22.6157.7777, thetote.in).
212 BAR AND GRILL
The name of this new restaurant references not the Big Apple area code but the temperature at which water boils. Gordon Ramsay–trained Alex Bignotti draws on his childhood in Milan to create a Mediterranean fusion menu that includes foie gras with asparagus and truffles, and chili prawn spaghetti. The crowd is a mash-up of flush expats and thirtysomething locals, and the space is stylish if generic, with cream accents, dark wood floors, and granite tables (91.22.2490.1994, no website).