Updated June 2017
Anytime someone visits Sri Lanka I get asked for a list of bars to visit in Colombo. Here’s my current list. If you’ve visited someplace else that’s fabulous do let me know. Enjoy Colombo!
It can thunderstorm at this time of the year, but the rooftop bar at the Kingsbury Hotel is a perennial favourite. You must also have a drink at the Galle Face Hotel – a lovely colonial era sea-facing hotel with oodles of history. Park Street Mews is an area where all my friends in Colombo hang out these days – it’s a collection of bars and restaurants with a cool vibe. For a meal, stop by the Gallery Cafe – housed in the former office of the late Geoffrey Bawa, a notable local architect, they do great modern interpretations of Sri Lankan food in very cool surroundings. Try their Tamarind Martini. Kaema Sutra (Kaema means food in Sinhala, so don’t expect Karmic goings on) makes authentic Sri Lankan food, right down to grinding the spices on a Miris Gala (literally chilli stone) in front of you. The banana leaf wrapped Lamprais is a meal in one that locals queue for. The Asylum next door serves a decent selection cocktails including a surprisingly good chocolate margarita; I thought it was bonkers until I tried it.
A word to the wise – most bars have ambitious cocktail lists that end up disappointing. In places like the Galle Face Hotel stick to a Gin and Tonic. The local gins are good. Rocklands is the local standard. Colombo Gin (Covered in one of the links below) is worth looking for. If you’ve never tasted Arrack (not the Anise based Turkish stuff, but a coconut based whisky) try some over ice with a splash of soda. The flavour is somewhere between that of whiskey and rum.
I’ve attached a few musings on Colombo which you may find of interest. I am told that people find them occasionally humorous 🙂
Enjoy – and give me a shout when you get back. Do subscribe to the Martini Mandate newsletter and follow the blog.