India’s best bar: Sidecar in Delhi Clinches Best Bar in India for Another Year  

Feb 8, 2024

It is midnight in Goa and the graveyard shift is on at Elephant & Co. Seven popular bars from across India are doing takeovers in turn, making cocktails for a heaving crowd, with the menu changing every 45 minutes.  

The influential 30 Best Bars Award have just been announced in an action-packed ceremony at the Taj Cidade De Goa, with Sidecar from Delhi, winning the coveted title of the country’s best bar. The well-loved, multiple-award winning space, styled as a neighbourhood bar, is known for its trendsetting cocktail programme, which includes drinks dedicated to the capital city.  

30 Best Bars

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The high energy team from Cobbler &Crew in Pune, a crowd favourite, comes in second, and Lair in Delhi, known for its experimental cocktails, is third. They are followed by Copitas at the Four Seasons in Bengaluru, Hideaway in Goa and ZLB23, a luxurious speakeasy at the Leela Palace in Bengaluru.

The awards also introduced a new category this year for the best non-alcoholic cocktail menu, recognising a surge in demand for thoughtfully crafted drinks that move away from the syrupy mocktails of the past. It was won by Chennai’s Pandan Club, a Peranakan restaurant. Vikram Achanta, who co-founded 30BestBars with Radhakrishna Nair, says they created the award when they noticed a growing trend of bars catering to people cutting back on, or cutting out, alcohol. “We realised the drinks were becoming more sophisticated, with the same techniques applied to alcoholic cocktails,” he says, adding “I think this is part of the evolution of the Indian bar landscape… It gives people more opportunities to have a good night out.” 

Manoj Padmanabhan, one of the partners at Pandan Club receiving best non-alcoholic cocktail menu

Manoj Padmanabhan, one of the partners at Pandan Club receiving best non-alcoholic cocktail menu
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Recognising changes in the country’s bar and restaurant scene, 30BestBars also launched an award for the best work in sustainability last year. This year it went to two bars, both from Pune: Soy Como Soy, along with Cobbler & Crew. (Cobbler & Crew had a good night out, winning the Best Bar Team, with its star bartender Aashi Bhatnagar also winning an award for best bartender.) 

Explaining the process of putting the awards together, Vikram says about 275 people connected to the industry voted to determine which bars make the short list. “We have about 350 bars on the long list, and about 60 self nominations. In addition to the cocktail programme, we look at the quality of bar talent and management, the design and aesthetics. We look at how much they are investing in ice, and glassware,” he says. 

Stating that many of the rankings this year were closely fought affairs, especially among the country’s top bars, which were separated by just a few votes, Radhakrishna adds, “Every year, we re-evaluate our award categories to stay relevant with what’s taking place in the bar landscape, both nationally and internationally.” 

In its fourth year, 30BestBarsIndia shifted the ceremony to Goa from Delhi this year to recognise the State’s vibrant restaurant and bar scene, with inventive new spaces opening through the year. As a result, Goa was festive with activity, particularly over the weekend of the awards, with about 35 to 40 bar takeovers, all culminating with the joyful after-party at Elephant & Co.  

Team Cobbler & Crew

Team Cobbler & Crew
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Special Arrangement

The Awards

1) Sidecar – New Delhi

2) Cobbler & Crew – Pune 

3) Lair – New Delhi 

4) Copitas – Four Seasons Hotel, Bangalore 

5) Hideaway – Goa 

6) ZLB 23 – The Leela Palace, Bangalore

7) The Bombay Canteen – Mumbai 

8) HOME – New Delhi 

9) Masque – Mumbai 

10) Slink & Bardot – Mumbai 

11) Comorin – Gurgaon 

12) PCO – New Delhi 

13) Hoots’ – New Delhi 

14) Americano – Mumbai 

15) Cocktails & Dreams, Speakeasy – Gurgaon 

16) PCO – Mumbai 

17) Slow Tide – Goa 

18) The Bar – The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata 

19) Whisky Samba – Gurgaon 

20) Bob’s Bar – Indiranagar, Bangalore 

21) Native Cocktail Room – Jaipur 

22) O Pedro – Mumbai 

23) Olterra – Kolkata 

24) Windmills – Bangalore 

25) Pablo’s – Goa 

26) Joseph Bar – Goa 

27) Ekaa – Mumbai 

28) The Library Bar – The Leela Palace, New Delhi 

29) TOIT – Bangalore 

30) For The Record: Vinyl Bar – Goa 

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