Goa is undoubtedly among the top party destinations in the world. Neshwin Almeida takes you through five nightclubs that have the best music, crowd and atmosphere.
Cape Town Café, Baga
This place does give you the feeling of being in Cape Town. But it’s not a café, mind you – it’s a pub. Located at Baga, Cape Town Café is done up with plush red interiors with a square bar in the centre and lit up with soft LED lights.
An amazing feature of this pub is its exotic dishes. Known for its pizzas, it is also popular for its surprisingly quick delivery for a club with a busy kitchen that’s running all night till 6am. The upstairs sitting is perfect to enjoy some good food and drinks with an amazing glass wall that overlooks the entire Tito’s lane that has six nightclubs in a row. It also overlooks the pub’s outdoor area with a sit-out to catch up on some good games on TV.
Cape Town Cafe has international DJs performing every weekend with some good house and rock music all night long. You must remember two things while you’re here: Never forget to come in with a date, and get your priorities right – whether you want to eat, groove to the music or just watch sports on TV.
Another interesting part about Cape Town Cafe is that you can shop while dining at its exclusive merchandise store called Curves. The only negative at Cape town Cafe is that it’s small. So on a full-house night, you’ll have to be careful of drinks getting spilled on you and be patient with people bumping into you.
Cape Town Cafe is the best place to start (or end) your night because its location allows you to go pub-hopping. Whether its match nights, Saturday nights or ladies nights, this pub guarantees you loads of fun.
Club Fresh, Candolim
Located opposite Silver Sands Holiday Village in Candolim, this two-year old club has already been honoured with three ‘Nightlife Awards’ including ‘Best New Lounge Bar’, ‘Best Seafood’, and ‘Best Ambiance’.
This party place is also given out for private parties, weddings, product launches and other gigs. Known to host high profile Bollywood guests and corporate honchos, Club Fresh is an exotic lounge cum restaurant and sets new standards of elegance and exclusivity in Goa.
Owned by Sunil Chawla, Club Fresh is one of the best seasonal restaurants here that complements the elegant beach lounge just a few feet away from the water at Morjim Beach. Imagine eating delicious Oriental dishes while the sushi chefs serve up fresh sushi for lunch and dinners mean sitting and watching the sun set over the Arabian Sea and the white, pristine sand of Candolim beach.
The massage therapists at Club Fresh provide an entire range of spa services in tall white teepees or even right at your table.
The décor is simple in white. Elegant and contemporary, Club Fresh reflects class in every inch of the place, especially in its made-to-measure furniture inspired by the latest trends and well-known design signatures.
The Fresh Art Space is of particular interest to Elena Starkova, partner in Club Fresh and famous artist from Moscow. Starkova’s collection of abstracts and the artwork of Indian artist Ajay Gulati are exhibited in this space and provides splashes of colour in open-air exhibitions throughout the all-white lounge.
Known for electro and techno music through the night, Club Fresh has a DJ console that sits above the centre bar from where the DJs keep the lunch crowd relaxed and the evening crowd dancing.
Top barman from Russia and the Ukraine serve up Ibiza-style mojitos while juggling and balancing bottles, glasses, and knives. At Club Fresh, fire dancers perform on elevated stages and appear to float in the starry night-sky.
Pronounced as ‘as you are,’ AZ.U.R is an indoor lounge bar situated on the Marriott property at Miramar. This unique ‘transition’ lounge borrows itself from an international concept of lounge that has everything from breakfast café to a lunch room, a tea lounge and a bar with a sea view to die for.
It’s large windows open up to the sea showing off a grand view and is the perfect setting for intimate conversations and meals. Just as the sun sets, AZ.U.R turns into a high-octane bar that brings exotic beverages and a unique brand of nightlife to Panaji.
Quench your thirst for eclectic style, soak in the modern interiors that open out behind a virtual wine rack at the entrance. This spacious lounge has a live band strumming retro and rock classics till 1am before the resident DJ comes on to play some house and club music making it a great place to start with some good jive, waltz and romantic dances.
However, keep in mind that the place doesn’t serve food and the drinks are overpriced. But AZ.U.R, as the name suggests, is about coming as you are and having a good time with the music. Don’t forget to hit AZ.U.R early or you won’t find a place in its rather small sit-out. It’s the best place to mix business with fun. It has valet parking.
Lava Lounge, Vasco Da Gama
A bit away from the North Goa party scene, Lava is located next to a car showroom and a petrol station at Vasco Da Gama. But since it is just two kilometres from the airport, it means it is the best place to party if you have an early morning flight to catch.
The steaks, sizzlers and cocktails served at its open-air terrace restaurant are a must-try here. The bar overlooks the highway and its chicanes, while the main dancing area has the best of hip-hop, house and retro music spinning through the night.
Run by Nisha Karla Vaz, this lounge has almost 100 pictures of celebrities from different walks of life framed on its walls. The medium lighting and great music add to the charm of Lava. The only flipside is that you are 60kms away from the North Goa party scene and that prevents you from club-hopping.
Even its slogan ‘Tito’s – Where Else’ suggests that this is Goa’s most happening nightclub since decades. Tito’s has actually got the lane named after them with four different kinds of night hangouts in the vicinity.
Right at the end of the road is a soundproof glass-covered shack called Café Mambo. Its main dancing area is a large blue-lit room with a console inside a glassed shack because of sound restrictions. Its In-house DJ’s Ajit, Troy and Yuri play a mix of retro, rock, house and hip-hop.
Mambo has a perfect sit-out made of wooden tables and bamboo chairs. Also, the white mattresses laid out with hookah add to its glamour quotient. Just in case the party gets too romantic for you, all you need to do is buy your wine bottle at the bar and walk to Baga beach to enjoy the moonlit sea.
Butter Fingers, Candolim: Another happy place for the night is Butters, located at Candolim. The entrance has a ten-foot saxophone with an open-air garden with a sound-proof disco.
DTR, Panaji: Remember also to check ‘Down the Road’, well-known as DTR in the heart Panaji where the old Portuguese house is the party zone while the outdoors is a sit-out besides Rua de Ourem which in Portuguese stands for ‘Road besides the calm and quaint Panjim creek’.
Disclaimer: Don’t go by this list, instead keep your eyes and ears open while in Goa because every day is a party here and there’s always amazing karaoke happening over some great seafood around you. Other party zones to watch out for are the seasonal campfire parties that happen outside beach shacks at various beaches.