Clancy's Bar and Shooter's Pool Hall
It seems Irish bars get everywhere these days. Even a relative international backwater like Colombo has two pubs claiming to be genuinely Irish. Of course all that's really Irish about them is the name, the shamrock above the door, and a general attitude of lots of drink, lots of music and lots of fun. Nothing wrong with that!
Clancy's is a few years old now although it had a refit and new design last year. It serves good food (international stuff and a few surprisingly decent attempts at proper Irish grub) at reasonable prices - and dishes are named after various Irish celebrities with vastly differing inputs to world culture (Oscar Wilde chips with Ronan Keating prawns anyone?)
Drinks-wise there's a wide range of local and imported stuff, including a not-too-bad attempt at a local dark bitter and a good cocktail menu. Irish stuff like Guinness and Caffreys comes in expensive cans. Upstairs is Shooters pool hall.
There's a half-price happy hour in the early evening and then later on it sometimes gets very busy - the main attraction is the live music. International bands you've never heard of play regularly but popular local bands such as Wildfire draw the biggest crowds and play here regularly during the week.
- Family Travel
- Beer Tasting
Molly's- another Irish bar!
Named after the song "Sweet Molly Malone" this is the other Irish pub in Colombo. And this one even has a genuine Irish landlady - the very friendly Annette, who runs it with her equally friendly Sri Lankan husband.
In terms of food and drink it's pretty similar to Clancy's and there's the standard live music, pub quiz and early evening happy hours during the week. It gets very busy at weekend nights and like most bars in Colombo is popular with both locals and expats.
- Beer Tasting
Cascades @ Colombo Plaza
Cascades is probably the Colombo nightclub most similar to Western clubs. Dance music, hip hop and R&B is turned up extra loud till about 5am. You can dance if you can find the space - this place is fairly small and as one of the most popular venues in the city it gets extremely crowded. Too crowded in fact and you'll lose count of the number of times people step on your toes.
Like most Colombo nightclubs the clientele is rich young powerful Sri Lankans, some not too friendly. Spill someone's drink and you might be best off getting out quick - many of these rich young powerful Sri Lankans like to drink with their very large, heavily armed bodyguards. Conspicuous consumption is what it's about - buying bottles of the most expensive champagne and cuban cigars and hardly touching them. If you like your nights out to be unflashy this isn't really the place!
Still, trouble is very rare and it's a good night when you want a bit of clubbing like back home - as long as you can get in that is. Technically it's couples and members only, along with a strict dresscode, but that's not always enforced.
Dress Code: No shorts, no sandals. Trainers and jeans are ok but dress to impress. The quieter the night the more flexible the dress code, and as always it helps if you know the doormen.
- Business Travel
Live music at Rhythm & Blues
Rhythm and Blues (commonly known as the R&B) is the best late night bar in Colombo, consistently hosting very good covers bands almost every night and staying open till about 5am or whenever everyone leaves.
There are two pool tables as well, a small dancefloor, and space to sit outside. It attracts the young and fashionable of Colombo but also older drinkers, expats and pretty much everyone else. It has a bit more of a seedy down-to-earth, spit-n-sawdust vibe than the nightclubs (I mean that in a good way!) and it's the kind of place where you hustle on the pool table, down half a bottle of tequila and sing along drunkenly to the old classics. No wonder it's my favourite place!
Dress Code: If anyone has ever been refused entry on the basis of their clothes I would love to hear about it! This isn't the kind of place to have a dress code.
Double or quits!
Even determined non-gamblers tend to find themselves in a casino at some point while in Colombo as they form an integral part of the city's nightlife. Many of the signs say 'Foreigners Only'. In reality of course this means 'only people with money' but Sri Lankan casinos can still be a cheap night out, even if you lose a bit (as I tend to do!)
Free food (if you get there early enough it's surprisingly good) and more importantly unlimited free alcohol (and cigarettes) is reason enough to come itself! But there's also the gambling, with the usual roulette, blackjack, poker and so on. For degenerate gamblers such as myself, several are open 24 hours.
The minimum bet varies from 20 rupees to 50 rupees. Bellagio's, MGM and Bally's are among the classier places; the Ritz is cheap, sleazy and fun; Stardust can be downright unfriendly. My favourite haunt was definitely the Ritz where friendly dealers laugh and joke with an interesting mix of drunken expats, Chinese hookers, unsmiling Asian businessmen and the occasional contract killer!
It's very unusual to see Sri Lankan women in casinos (other than as staff) but non-Sri Lankan women don't have any problems.
Dress Code: Most places insist on trousers rather than shorts (for men), but will lend you a sarong if necessary.
- Casino and Gambling
Brewery by the O.: My favorite bar in Sri Lanka.
Brwery by the O is a really nice watering hole in central Colombo inside the old dutch hospital, which is an old hospital turned in to a trendy place full of bars, cafes, restaurants and shops.
But despite being in a trendy place and being really nice looking this place is not expensive at all with only 170 rupees for a pint of Lion Beer.
That is probaply one of the reasons why the place is brimming with young sri lankans just about any day of the week and this is a place where you can turn up on a tuesday evening and still find a lively beer scene.
The place is clearly a hangout for well educated sri lankans with free spirits and this was one of the few places i saw in Sri Lanka with lot's of local females both drinking and smoking.
And this is NOT some pickup point for old foreign sex tourists just so you know it, but a real nice place if you want to speak to sri lankan youth where the majority has an academic background and an international outlook.
Non smokers should be ware that this is a really smoky bar and if you don't like that then you can sit on the outdoor wooden tables.
I personally liked the smoke and the vibrant scene you have there despite the place being a favorite hangout for the local bankers and that is even if i never smoked in my life myself.
- Beer Tasting
Bradman Bar: Night Time Jamming
You would meet a lot of westeners in this nice club. Barstaff are very friendly and it's a place you must visit in Colombo.
The city is famed for its nightlife and is referred to as the "Las Vegas of South Asia", having a lot of casinos, bars, night clubs and pubs. In Sri Lanka, unlike its neighbours, alcohol flows freely, except on full moon Poya Days when sales are forbidden. Recently, the city has emerged as a preferred night life and entertainment destination among close Asian markets.
All the information you could ever need.....: The truth about nightlife in Colombo!!
Colombo has a limited nightlife for the tourist. As far as decor/surroundings go think back to the late 80's and that also includes the music at times!
Sri Lankan's feel they are the party animals of the world and noone else can party like they do.
Men in Sri Lanka dance as much if not more than the woman in the UK. We are talking shaking your bootie and flinging your arms around dancing.
Be prepared for lots of hip hop/r 'n' b american music - the raunchier the better.
Another warning is 'mafia' type groups (not scary quite pathetic really!) in the clubs. These are wealthy locals often sons/nephews etc of important Sri Lankans. They reserve tables order vodka etc by the bottle but dont necessarily drink it. You, and I repeat, you are NOT allowed to sit at their tables or on their chairs .
Doesn't seem to get busy until 11pmish but now that licencing laws are restricting the sell of alcohol after 1am this may change.
Woman get in free and men have to pay - this applies to all places.
Places we have been to are as follows:
Clancy's ('irish' bar but not so irish) - small, pub/club with stage area for bands and very small dance floor. Overlooks a cricket pitch. Good atmosphere bands we saw were very good drink is not cheap by the glass. Maybe worth buying a bottle if there is a small group of you as mixers are then free.
Blue Elephant (Hilton Hotel) - The wealthy locals who come here think they are fantastic and there is a definate air of 'look it me aren't I great'. Worth going for a laugh but other than that don't expect a great night out!
Library (Trans Asia Hotel) - Not as busy as the other 2, mainly older people. More suitable for those aged 40+ who want a dance but don't like crowded sweaty clubs.
Definate hotel 'discotheque'!
The Hut (Mount Lavinia Hotel) - Ok preferred Clancy's but better than Library and Blue Elephant. Gets quite busy - be prepared for use of heavy strobe lighting.
Dress Code: At first as 2 young white femailes we felt conscious of wearing clothing which they may class as revealing. However, when you get in these places you will see that anything goes and local girls wear mini skirts - boob tubes - anything! Shorts and flip fops (as in beach wear) etc are a 'no, no'. Other than that wear what you want.
Women - especially white women be prepared to be hit on from every angle and if a man asks you to dance you are basically saying yes you will have sex with them. Please note this may be because they actually find you attractive but it is more likely because they think you are a prostitute or they want to come to England etc
- Women's Travel
- Study Abroad
ZAZA Bar: Cocktails at Casa Colombo's swanky bar!
ZAZA Bar is one of the three eating and drinking establishments located within the grounds of the Casa Colombo hotel; the others being HVN Restaurant and T-Republic outdoor cafe. All three of these establishments are open to non-guests.
ZAZA Bar is located in an ultra-modern glass cube, which sits in front of the historic mansion in which Casa Colombo is housed. It is accessed via a walkway that crosses an ornamental pool filled with koi carp. Water runs off the roof of the cube, giving the impression that it is raining outside. It actually did start to rain while we were drinking there, so I'm not sure how much of the running water was effect and how much was real!
By day, ZAZA Bar looks like a chic cafe, bathed in natural sunlight and offering an extensive menu of food and drink. After dark, it becomes a rather swanky neon-lit wine and cocktail bar.
We couldn't have timed our visit much better. Seeking a pre-dinner cocktail, we arrived at ZAZA Bar at around 7:20pm, only to find that "Happy Hour" was still in place for all orders placed before 7:30pm. That meant 50% off the price of all cocktails. Despite this offer, the bar was still very quiet. There were a few other guests drinking, but only a handful. We had no problem finding a vacant table and a couple of the bar's much heralded "ball chairs with plush cushions" to sink into.
Usually, there would be music playing. However, on this evening a large TV screen was quietly showing a live T20 World Cup cricket match between India and Pakistan.
The cocktail list was pretty extensive. We had intended to sample the Frozen Lychee Margarita, having read about it in a review before our visit, but unfortunately the bar had run out of the necessary lychee syrup. There were other Frozen Margaritas; Classic, Mango and Strawberry, as well as a range of flavoured Martini cocktails (coffee, apple, chilli, melon, chocolate).
There was a long list of internationally recognised cocktails (Mojito, Singapore Sling, Daquiri, Pina Colada, Black Russian, Mai Tai, Tequila Sunrise, Long Island Iced Tea...) and a section of house cocktails under the heading "Cocktails with a Twist of Casa". The latter included "Casa Kick", "Ceylon Spiced Arrack Attack", "Ginger Basiltini" and several others.
I opted for one of the house cocktails: The Cinna-Man (700 Rs / £3.50). There were no descriptions of any of the house cocktails, but this one clearly contained whisky and lots of cinnamon. There were flakes of cinnamon as well as little twigs of cinnamon in it. I enjoyed it.
Emma opted for a Frozen Mango Margarita (850 Rs / £4.25) which was very refreshing and came with a layer of salt around the rim of the glass.
Our drinks were accompanied by a complimentary bowl of Bombay Mix which we nibbled on while enjoying our cocktails (and ignoring the cricket!).
When we came to pay our bill, there was some confusion. The bill came to 1,940 Rs – that was the full price of the cocktails plus taxes and service charge. They hadn't included the 50% Happy Hour discount. It was soon resolved and the staff were very apologetic (our Casa Domo, Gayan, was still apologising to us for the mix up hours later as we enjoyed our meal in the hotel's HVN Restaurant) and we were presented with a correct bill of 970 Rs (£4.80).
A great choice of cocktail creations in Casa Colombo's swanky bar!
blue elephant: dance the night away
This is how people have said described this well-known nightclub: high-class and exclusive. Yes, so high class and so selective that there were fewer than 20 people (none of them dancing, just for the record)- So exclusive that they let us in with our best travel clothes (we were still very casual). So this is it, the trendiest and most popular club in town... i want to hopt that the "scene" has moved somewhere else... or else Colombo's nightlife is really a bore.
Dress Code: smart, officially.
echelon pub: a fun watering hole
How can I best describe this well-known Colombo venue? Let's try fishing opinions off the net.
Opinion 1: this can be a fun watering hole. Pool table and live music on weekends.
Opinion 2: this is a colonial-style ''English'' pub. It has that convincing atmosphere. This ornate bar is where Colombo's night-time action can be found.
What can I say, except: "oh, really?". Reality as I experienced it is quite different: a european couple in their 60ies, 6 British gals and guys busy getting drunk, 4 local lads of the upper class with a couple of body-guards and a score of whickey bottles, two western men in their late 70ies and two badly dressed over-50 prostitutes.
Just imagine how much fun we had...
Dress Code: casual - smart.
ColomboBar: Restaurant bars
I live in Sri lanka. Down below I will give you locations of all the local bars available in Colombo to sit and drink.
1. Fort area-
One bar In front of Fort railway station, Two just opposite same railway station, street name, Olcotte mawatha. One at Ricky cinema hall and, another two at slaves island in front of slaves island railway station and behind Nawaloka hospital, that's Union place.
2. Thotalaga -
Near Colombo harbor you find two adjoining harbor wall and one in the beach of mutwall fisheries harbor. Another one at the road junction edge of the harbor's mutwall end. Then again in Mattakkuliya near Viswike park you get two bars. Another one at the road junction in Thotalaga where you find a big bo tree at the round-about.
3. Colombo town hall area-
One at the start of Union place in Salaka building, one in-front of eye hospital, upstairs of Bake house.
Famous area for local bars, six big restaurant bars around the road junction for your choice.
One before Narahenpita road junction towards Borella town and at Borella town you find three restaurant bars, one towards Rajagiriya side and two towards Maradana side.
Two in Deans road and one near New Olympia theater.
Two near Kotahena round-about and two towards Colombo harbor. Two from Armour street junction towards Maradana. One at Kosgas-handiya junction and one beer restaurant in front of Jazeema theater.
One at Sea side near railway station and one in Galle road. One in Mt Lavinia.
Please note that all bars and restaurants serve liquor from 5 pm to 11 pm only. Thank you.
Dress Code: Casual, anything goes sometimes.
- Beer Tasting
- Food and Dining
- Budget Travel
Sad to say, the night life in Colombo is vintage tacky. Think of Austin Powers without the irony, and you pretty much have it. The night clubs are mostly a new rich male thing here, oozing with bad taste and the greasy Guido in the oversized SUV. The few nervous looking women you see, those that are not the cheap Russian and Chinese call girls, spend most of their time evading the groping hands of the jive turkeys. Ghastly experience. So where do the ‘hip’ dance and hang out? In their houses and some murky pool parlors in the commercial districts.
Dress Code: Polyester and nylon and any other flammable fabric.
- Luxury Travel
beware of R&B (rhythum & Blues): beware of R&B (rhythum & Blues)
We (A British & Polish Citizen) were in sri lanka for a holiday and we were told that R&B (Rhythum & Blues) club in duplication road, bambalapitiya , Colombo was a good place to visit.
me & my wife were playing pool in the club and minding our own business when some local guys attacked us claiming to be from the sri lankan air force. and some guys punched my wife on the face as well. and were acting like a bunch of animals. all this while the clubs management kept a blind eye as we were getting assaulted by these thugs.once these guys left and when we asked the management (this thin called powel)his response was the club owner russell does not want them to get involved. this is not the response we were looking for as we were foreigners in their country a little help or at least getting the thugs out of their club would have been sufficient.
this place is purely interested in money and they will let any tom dick and harry in to just to boost their entrance ticket sales.
so please be aware of the this so called R&B (Rhythum & Blues) club because i think we were lucky as these guys came back with guns and the management let them back in to the club and thanks to the police emergency patrol we were saved. so please think twice before going in to this club if you want to come out ALIVE!!!!!!
Nightlife in Colombo: Putting things in perspective
I read your review and i must say you either have been at the receiving end of some really bad days at these clubs or what we call on these forums WUM's. It does appear to me that you were quick to judge us, why we buy bottles, that we think we are cool. Let me lay it down for you sweetheart:
1.We buy bottles as we go in groups always. we also dont worry about who foots the bill. There is someone as you may have noticed fighting to pay the tab. This is the Sri Lankan culture and we live for the day ( a tad stupid i know) but this is how we do it. There is no obligation to finish it, we bank the bottles and finish it when we can. We dont binge drink like the UK so sorry to disappoint. This is how we roll.
2. Men dancing : Isn't this great news for all the ladies? having men who can actually shake their body? I would like to think this is the case but really most of us can't dance for *** without the help of let's say spirits.
3. Mafia types : Sure every country has it's load of VIP's. I am in Shanghai now and they have their own. they booked a table so i dont see how anyone else could crash but if by chance they were two ATTRACTIVE white females then there will be enough welcoming tables (maybe wasn't the case?) . My advise is if you feel threatened and uncomfortable leave immediately. People generally take NO for an answer.
4. Wealthy locals thinking they are fantastic : my my what a cheap shot. The wealthy locals in Sri Lanka are no different to the ones elsewear. you go to a top club in London you have all the tabloid shots of who hung out where and the likes of Jordan have made a career out of it. We dont have that culture, no one takes pics and posts in papers. You just sound envious. If people go to the Blue it's becuase they can and want to. It's closed now by the way.
5. Getting hit on all sides (white women) - Sweetheart it's a night club, men come to pick women up although my hit rates in Blackpool surely were much better. if you dont like it, go to a lounge place. If you dance we dont think it's ok to have sex - we know when it is ok. We are not stupid.
Most Sri lanka guys are shy and will wait forever before approaching. we dont like to lose face. you have a lot less chance of being hit on here than in Engerland.
Dress Code: Smart casual
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