As a city, Mumbai is famous for its myriad dining options – from a meal that may cost INR 5,000 to one that will suffice in under 20 bucks. But it’s also one of the few places where you can grab a heady dose of culture and art along with your snack.
We present five diverse venues that will make sure you’re fed as you get your fill of music, art, and stories over the weekend.
Tucked away in a Versova by-lane, Leaping Windows is easy to miss for its small, unassuming presence. But enter its realm, and you will be welcomed by the pop culture phenomena you didn’t know you needed – comics! Leaping Windows has a wonderful, decadent menu that can be enjoyed while smoking a cigarette outside, or inside with their music for company. The real fun begins when you take the spiral staircase to their basement. The restaurant has a well-stocked library featuring some classic comic literature, placed alongside credible works of fiction and non-fiction. With little tables, and cushions for seats, you’re bound to spend hours of your day dreamily lost in the world of pop art, manga and anime.
The Hive has a performance centre for stand-up comedy and open-mic poetry recitations, as well as a large foyer that facilitates community workshops and theatre. While its restaurant comes with humble offerings of pastries, coffee and maggi, you can tuck into these while enjoying a movie screening or play. That the venue is hosted by some fine, encouraging artists is reason enough to just thrive in their presence. Even if you’re headed there for just a coffee, the ambience will validate all your creative senses in one go.
The National Centre of Performing Arts is every bit as regal as the name suggests it is. Grandly facing the sea at the very end of Marine Drive, the NCPA is a huge space, wonderfully demarcated to be the city’s artistic backbone. There are several reasons NCPA is much more than a performance venue. Apart from the fact that you can catch the choicest plays in the centre’s theatre, NCPA also hosts one of the city’s most pertinent photo galleries. The NCPA theatre also provides the stage for classical music and dance – with world music and dance ensembles often making an appearance. And should you be curious or plain attracted to any form of art, the NCPA library, rich in titles will keep you engaged. In addition to all that is the wonderful restaurant in the theatre that’s as good for a quick snack as it is for a fine-dining meal. Don’t forget the Literature Festival it plays backdrop to, because at NCPA no art is amiss.
A cafe that has cute, cuddly cats and that hosts cultural events on the reg – Cat Cafe Studio is the place to be for any animal lover. If nothing else, one can go to this unique Versova venue and spend hours just playing with the cats while sipping their delicious cold coffee or indulging in their decadent chocolates and banana cakes. That would be a hangout session unlike you’ve ever had one. Or else, the venue hosts open mic poetry and music events on the regular, where apart from being covered in gorgeous yellow light, some lovely talent is in attendance. It doesn’t get better than this.
Social Offline has grown to become one of India’s favourite haunts for reasons that extend beyond the delectably urban food offered at its restaurants. Started by Riyaaz Amlani, Social is a shared workspace where people can interact, while deftly working on the job at hand. You can just land up with your friends, and kick off a conversation with a budding designer about her new project. With the skating ring planted outside, the well-stocked bar, and the brilliantly curated restaurant provided along with wifi, Khar Social is completely self-actualised. In addition to that, the hub regularly hosts gigs by some of the most exciting independent musicians in the country, movie screenings and open mic events.