Yes, in Delhi we love our music and dance. I’ll even admit how much we love our Bollywood tunes; it takes less than one beat to turn a placid gathering into a mid-week Woodstock. While our pop music has already made waves across the continents, our indie music scene is vibrant and only getting better. It definitely has an underground quality: Many a doctor and engineer in this city moonlight as musicians, and you’ll also find full-time rockstars-in-the-making. Delhi’s bars embrace anyone with a little talent and ambition, giving them the mic, the stage and the spotlight. As a result, live bands now have more platforms than ever—from bars to restaurants—for wooing Delhi’s music lovers. So even if you’ve come to Delhi prepared for thumping club music, here are five places in the city where you can settle down with a drink to hear some fantastic live tunes.
This Delhi legend sees more than 50 first dates on any night of the week (as well as its fair share of heartbreaks, quick recoveries and loves at first sight). The city’s original temple to popular rock has shifted locations and is now in Saket, but you’ll still find the best guitar riffs (and more diverse genres) in town on its centre stage.
This Bombay transplant has leapt to the top spot—as far as serious music is concerned—with its own recording studios, production label and online player. They have a whole sound system that supports both local and big-league, international artists. This is a brilliant venue for electronic dance music, drum and bass, dubstep or whatever is the newest genre on the block.
If you're the kind who likes to think that the band is playing only for you, head over to Roost Bistro, where that might actually be the case. Well— you and four to five other tables, which will always be full. It’s small, and that what makes it perfect. You’ll feel like you're part of the set-up and sound check, and can then sink into delicious acoustic sets.
Speakeasy Cocktails & Dreams
This prohibition-themed speakeasy in Gurgaon feels cutting-edge contemporary while still being dedicated to jazz. You’ll experience a fantastic jazz-fusion sensibility here, with musicians showing both brilliant guitar work and a good dose of soul. And as the writing on the wall says, if you have to ask what good jazz is, you’ll never know.
Downstairs at Zo
Talk about going underground for your music. This spot in the basement of Mediterranean restaurant Zo is located in the historic-turned-hipster community of Hauz Khas Village, which is home to other café-style venues such as Out of The Box and Rumbar. Heading down the stairs to Zo’s basement means getting away from the crowds: You’ll walk past the heavy drapes to a little offbeat haven of good sounds and good vibes.