Sip and sway your way through Goa with this list featuring some of the hottest bars and hangs. From iconic spots to the latest on the scene, save them all to check out on your next visit!
While Goa continues to top everyone’s list of a must-have vacation, most of the bar choices continue to remain tired and limited. When was the last time you looked beyond the usual (albeit iconic) spots like Infanteria, Curlies, Brittos, or Titos?
One of the most intoxicating qualities of the state continues to remain its affordable intoxication, coupled with great views and beaches of course. So what if we tell you there are more beautiful and lively watering holes that have completely missed your gaze? Whether you’re looking to explore beyond the usual touristy hangs and tap into the essence of Goa with taverns, or a premium and high-end experience, there’s plenty of off-beat places to explore!
Squirrel the Street Bar, Assagao
The team behind SinQ, Soro and Soho have launched a streetside bar that’s hard to miss! Squirrel is a new hip addition to the drinking scene at Assagao, with both indoor and outdoor seating.
The quaint blackboard menu (fast becoming popular amongst bars and eateries) announces daily specials. If you’re looking for something simple, there’s nothing like a cold glass of Feni and some fried seafood of your choice to go with it. If you like Pina Coladas, their Squirrel Special is reminiscent of the same with coconut, rum and a dash of spice served in an old school pickle jar.
The bar menu also features your usual shooters, rum, whisky, gin and a few cocktails. To go with the delicious array of crisp cocktails, there’s an all-encompassing menu comprising breakfast, kathi rolls, rice bowls, some pizzas and bar snacks. It doesn’t hurt that the bar doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket, making it one of Goa’s favourite bars!
Antonio’s@31 is the perfect complement to Fontainhas’ colourful vibe with its blue and yellow facade. The unmissable canopy of candy-coloured party streamers is just the beginning at this friendly neighbourhood tapas bar.
Chef Pablo Miranda’s menu presents feni and gin cocktails with a twist, and staples of Goan cuisine (such as the recheado) extended into experimental territory with mouth-watering results. The bar with its great ambience and friendly staff comes as a welcome and refreshing saviour at the end of a hot beach day. Situated in a colourful neighbourhood that offers a lot of chances to show-off on the gram, it’s a must-visit on any Goa trip!
Suggested read: One chef, one recipe: Goan fish curry by Chef Vidhya Gawas
Sylvia at the W Hotel, Vagator
For those who consider gin to be a staple in their cocktails, the newly-opened Sylvia, an eight-seater gin bar comes as a gift that keeps on giving. The place opens up new floodgates of artisanal cocktails to experiment with and how.
Mixologist Kshitij Goel, who is the beverage ambassador at the hotel, exhibits his flair on the menu with novelties like the Rock Melon gin smoothie and Soft Fruit Sour, which even superfood fanatics and whisky lovers will enjoy.
The menu takes diners through the intricacies of the tipple with 25 distinguished labels spanning across Japan, Britain and India. If you’re feeling a little creative, their Alchemist menu allows you to indulge your inner bartender, offering a DIY mix of flavoured gin (peppermint, roasted coffee, hibiscus are some of the offerings) with botanical tonic and refreshing garnishes to choose from. However it’s the Gibson Course that ultimately takes the cake. A five-course cocktail and food menu, it’s inspired by the legacy of graphic designer Charles Dana Gibson, whose penchant for flavouring his martini with pickled onion garnish over olive in the ’30s updated the famous cocktail that remains a world favourite today.
Kismoor Gin Garden, Sangolda
Set in a semi-open air area, Kismoor is the perfect place for date night and some conversations over seafood and of course, gin. An established restaurant in Taleigao, the latest location in Sangolda is all about a modern vibe and contemporary Goan cuisine.
Since the brand’s original launch in 2012, they’ve been the go-to place for anyone looking to explore authentic Goan Portuguese cuisine in a blissful tropical set up. The cocktail bar set-up with live music makes for the ultimate Goa experience!
Miguel’s Bar, Panjim
In the past couple of years (pandemic aside, of course), Fontainhas’ has worked hard towards regaining its place as a happening destination on Goa’s nightlife map. The shiny new Miguel’s is just one prime example of the same.
A bar done up art deco-style, serving cocktails and fire petiscos, it is set up in a heritage building in the heart of Goa’s Latin Quarter. The menu showcases staples like the Old-Fashioned and the classic Bellini, perfect for a fine dining kind of night out. There’s a small list of signature cocktails that you can’t miss, however, such as the jalapeno-infused vodka-based Punho Luta Mexicano, and the Cha Gelado Lemongrass.
Jamming Goat, Benaulim
With their most recent Jamming Goat 3.0 opening in Calangute, the Benaulim joint continues to be a crowd favourite for both discerning locals and tourists. It’s a quintessential Goan beach bar in every sense, and features all-day drinking, quality music and dining deep into the night.
The staff are as knowledgeable as they are welcoming, both great highlights of the place. At night by the beach and under the stars, a sip of Brûlée Old Fashioned against the backdrop of jazz is incomparable. There’s a whole fabulous list of cocktails and food to devour, so you know where to go the next time you’re looking for a grand old night in Goa!
The Black Sheep Bistro, Panjim
Also known as BSB, the Black Sheep Bistro is becoming Goa’s favourite place to kick back in premium style. The ever-evolving beverage menu features cocktails with fresh, local flavours and spirits including feni, sommelier selected wines and premium beers.
The chalkboard showcases a new special every other day, and consists of elements that represent contemporary Goa like no other. If you’re looking to level it up in Panjim with some truly original cocktails like the Coffee Martini and small bites like the Prawn-Apple Chaat and Konkan Style Grilled Chicken Bites, this is the place for you!
The folks over at Petisco, an independent joint in the capital city are all about redefining cocktails and making them eclectic, to say the least! Highlights on the menu include the Penicillin (“smoked whisky with a gingery lime finish”), Fenihattan (Manhattan, but with local feni) and the Jungle Bird (a dark rum mix for grown-ups).
The food is in perfect harmony with the drinks, of course. While there, you definitely need to try the pan fried mackerel, oven-roasted chonak, and prawns la plancha, all beautifully served and delicious to boot.
Joseph Bar, Panjim
Looking for an offbeat bar that taps into the local spirit (pun intended!)? Then you can’t miss Joseph Bar, in the midst of Fountainhas, Panjim.
Joseph Bar has forever been Goa’s answer to the need for fresh draft beer and some friendly (and very popular!) servers. Seating only 10-15 people at a time, the bar is well-known for its snackible menu and range of drinks. The beef or chicken samosas, fish cutlet, or simple egg or chicken dishes perfectly complement the gin, Feni, and local beers on tap.
Mafia Cocktail, Pilerne
What draws you to Mafia Cocktail more than the affordability is the promise of good food and great alcohol. The epitome of local bars, this place has gone from being one of Goa’s well kept secrets to the most happening place to be at! Since the influx of workation migrants from metros during the pandemic, Mafia Cocktail has featured on several lists of bars to hit in the state!
Run by sibling duo Tony and Rosy, this dimly-lit, budget-friendly homespun taverna serves spectacular Goan food and a perfect place to party. As Goa’s seasonal spirit urrak (a distilled cashew fruit drink conventionally enjoyed with Limca, soda, chilli, lemon and salt) continues to dominate bars, it would be sacrilege to not get a taster. Here, it is served with chepnim tor (mango in brine). Need we say more?
Have you ever been to a garden that’s a restaurant, gin joint, bakery, and pizzeria all at once?
Tucked away in the hillside, this beautiful restaurant is what came of Meghana and Matt’s labour and passion for food. The joint comprises several levels, each one promising a new and memorable experience. The gin join at the upper level is their newest addition. A luxurious and warm speakeasy, they serve gin cocktails with a twist. Nithya, who manages the place, adds global eloquence to the drinks, the bitters and flavours and is constantly experimenting with ingredients. Add to that the warm and comfortable space combined with bold flavours, and you’ve got a hit!
While Thalassa isn’t exactly new, it’s definitely iconic and legendary enough to be on here! Since their move to Siolim in 2019, the place has remained Goa’s go-to spot for authentic Greek cuisine complemented with some great cocktails. Brainchild of Mariketty Grana and her son, the place doesn’t compromise on ingredients and provides the best hospitality. Replete with the truly beautiful Goan sunsets for a view, you can’t miss this!