A first of its kind urban space, Cha Bar is a haven for anyone looking for the perfect cuppa whilst poring over an endless number of books
I pull a door that says push, which was not easy for my bare, almost frozen hands. As I walk in, a Punjabi couple welcomes me warmly, quite in contrast to the harsh December night in Delhi. This immediately sets the tone for Cha Bar, well that and the juxtaposition of books and chai, of course.
Located inside the popular Oxford Book Store, Cha Bar is a contemporary space that seeks to redefine India’s favourite comfort beverage. Since opening its doors in Kolkata 21 years ago, the place now has branches spanning across Delhi, Noida, and Bhubaneswar. One quick look at the place is enough to showcase its appeal to both bookworms and chai lovers.
With the aesthetic on fleek, the place is divided into a sanctuary for the many books by Oxford and a black and white themed cafe on the other end. While most people were initially skeptical of the modernization of this classic drink, Cha Bar has managed to perfectly straddle the line between traditional and innovative. Brainchild of Priti Paul and backed by the experienced Apeejay Surrendra’s group, the place has only grown leaps and bounds over the years.
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In keeping with the immersive experience, bibliophiles will immediately be drawn to the seemingly endless variety of books on offer at Oxford. There’s also a dedicated space for uniquely crafted, one-of-a-kind stationery, designed to drive any stationery fanatic like me insane. There’s also adorably small, fur coated reading stools especially in the children’s section for people to sit, sip, and swoon over the pages.
On the cafe end of things, there’s beautiful walls full of monochrome geometric patterns. Unsurprisingly, they pair very well with the similarly themed dining furniture and of course, the mesmerizing aroma of freshly brewed tea.
Be it light, strong, green, chamomile, lemon, or any other kind of tea, Cha Bar has it all and more. The place boasts an enviable range of over 150 varieties of tea, sourced from all across the country. From places within the country like Nilgiri, Sikkim, and of course Darjeeling, to those beyond borders including China, Japan, Sri Lankan, South African, and Thai, you’ll be spoilt for choice!
Cha Bar’s got you covered for anything in the realm of tea, from exotic to ayurvedic, or even the classic run-off-the-mill cutting chai and masala chai. Over the years, there’s been several new introductions to the menu, like the Bollywood Masala Mix Cha, Truck Drivers 100 Mile Ki Cha, Yellow Tea, among a few more in 2007.
The charm of this much loved beverage lies in its compatibility with certain food, making for classic duos. Cha Bar rises to the occasion on this front, with the menu featuring all kinds of food perfect for the cafe. Ranging from various styles of maggi to shakes, salads, pastries and desserts, sandwiches, rolls, platters, and burgers, the list is endless, something of a major theme at this place.
Cha Bar is the ideal place for people looking to unwind with a piping hot cup of tea and a good book. This place serves you a little bit of everything, and spoiler alert; disappointment is not on their menu.