Best wine bars and microbreweries in Bangalore, for a good glass of wine or a great pint of beer in India’s startup capital. A guide to what you can drink where in Bengaluru.

Wine in Progress at The Courtyard, Bangalore.

Wine in Progress at The Courtyard, Bangalore.

Any article that claims to be an authoritative guide should be viewed with a jaundiced eye, preferably after a couple of beers. So too with this one, which began with me looking for “beer jokes”.  The only halfway decent one was this: Why did the beer go to therapy? Because it had problems with its head.

Depending on who you ask, beer was brewed 12,000 years ago in various regions of the world, just about when humans were domesticating chickens and figuring out agriculture. They had grains, and naturally, leftover grain attracted yeast from the air and fermented. From there, it was just a short hop to the addition of hops. Both China and Sumeria can lay claim to crafting beer, but it was the Bavarians (Northern Germans) and Bohemians (Czech folks) who perfected the modern version.

India has no specific beer tradition—any ancient references begin and end with Soma. Country liquor and spirits are a different matter and here we find them in the North-East, Goa, and many other parts of India. But rice beer isn’t exactly beer, at least not as we understand it in its modern avatar.

Geist brews; and Raging Elephant by Arbor, Bangalore.Geist brews; and Raging Elephant by Arbor, Bangalore. (Images via X)

Within India, Bangalore can lay claim to a beer connection primarily because Kingfisher—still beloved or berated depending on who you ask— was brewed here. Today, Bangalore has more breweries than any other city.  But thanks to its horrendous traffic, most people drink close to home, forcing breweries to open branches in different areas.

Regarding wine, lots of people ask about wine-bars in Bangalore.  The short answer is there aren’t many.  There are restaurants with wine lists but very few wine bars of note. This is a pity because just outside Bangalore are well known wineries such as Grover’s and Big Banyan.

To that end, I only have a couple of wine-bar recommendations, relative to the brewery ones. To create the brewery list, I went on pub-crawls, I consulted numerous winemakers and master-brewers for their opinions but in the end, I relied on a few friends who are ardent drinkers.  They have no commercial stake in the game and are therefore neutral drinkers. They include Vishal Joshi, who works at an e-commerce firm and says that he has drunk beer in every outlet in the city. He regularly goes on beer-crawls in different neighbourhoods. The second is Devesh Agarwal, who founded The Wine Connoisseurs, a wine-drinking club in the city, is now rediscovering beer. The third is V. Sanjay Kumar, an author and wine/beer drinker. Using their inputs along with those from brewery owners, here then is a list. I will start with the few wine-bar recommendations before moving to the beer.

1. Wine in Progress, a new wine bar at The Courtyard, which just opened has potential. It aims to be wine-forward even though its wine list is only two pages.  At least, it has a CWO—Chief Wine Officer.

At Wine in Progress

2. Trippy Goat: This central Bangalore restaurant has a well-chosen wine list and a cellar next door where you can buy bottles of wine.

3. Fox in the Field: One of the owners, Abhay Kewadkar, has been involved with wine for decades. If you catch him in-house, have a beer and talk to him about wine.

4. Toscano: This was one of the earliest wine-friendly restaurants.  It continues to have a good wine list and locations throughout the city.

5. Lyfe: Chef Abhijit Saha is respected amongst Bangalore food lovers. His new restaurant with its tight wine list makes the trek to Whitefield worthwhile.

6. Longboat Brewing Co: Consistent pilsners and IPAs. Brewmaster Karthik Singh tells us that the best time to drink a craft IPA is just a couple of days after it is brewed. Owner Girish Prahlada loves Karnataka snacks and ensures that Bangalore’s chaklis, peanuts, and churmuris are served as appetizers along with ghee-roast chicken and paneer.

7. Geist Brewing Co: Founded by Narayan Manepally, with three outlets within the city, Geist sells its craft beers in oxygen-free crowlers.  Enthusiasts brave traffic to enjoy its Kama Citra IPA, Weiss Guy and Uncle Dunkle. Brew master Vidya Kubher has mentored many. The brand brought together six women brewers in Geist’s wonderful “Ladies who Lager” initiative.

Geist Brewing Co in Bangalore (Photo via X / @rohitawasthi)

8. Biergarten in Koramangala and Whitefield: Brew master Lalit Vijay prefers ‘clean’ flavours in beer but is unafraid of trial and error. His experiments include a lovely Alt, Smoked Pineapple Sour, Ragi Ale, and a Super Dry which enthusiasts call LSD (Lalit’s Super Dry). I loved Vijay’s Pilsners with its “Burgundian” clarity of flavours.

9. The Bier Library: Brew master Amit Mishra and owner Prashant Kunal rue India’s love for Hefeweizens and Witbiers. Try the malty smoky German Rauchbocks, Belgian Dubbels, New England IPAs, and copper-coloured Altbiers. The inside-outside space is terrific for dinner, dancing, or checking emails like the techies do.

10. Toit: One of the earliest breweries in town, Toit took a beating in the middle because of its inconsistent brews. It remains popular for its buzz and red ale which is arguably the best in town.

Toit beer (Image via X/@AdvanceDexter)

11.  7Rivers Brewing Co: Master brewer Lynette Pires has worked in other Bangalore outlets and creates a superb American Pale Ale. Located inside Taj MG Road, this brewery’s central al fresco location makes it a favourite in the CBD – Central Business District.

12. Bira 91 Taproom: These guys are masters of innovation, launching new and seemingly crazy beers every week. People talk about their gin-infused beer with a tinge of ginger—sounds weird but tastes terrific. They launch a new beer a week, including Yuzu sours, pineapple sours, dragon fruit ales.  Based on feedback, they decide on whether to bottle.

Bira 91 Taproom in Koramangala (Image via X / @Bira91Taproom)

13. Arbor Brewing Co.: Brew master Arjun Tale brings his balanced sensibility towards signature brews such as the Beach Shack IPA, Raging Elephant— an ale that clocks in at 80 IBUs (International Bitterness Units), but which is actually very creamy and malty in the mouth. One of the earliest breweries, its central Bangalore location is a plus.

14. Windmills Craftworks: Relative to the others, this one is priced high.  You go for the ambience. While their Spectrum IPA is well-regarded, most go for the whole package: good music, food and decent craft beer.

15. Buying beer in cans, bottles or crowlers: Go to Tonique, Drops, Madhuloka or, if all else fails, Dewars—which can procure anything for you given time.

Final tip: Wines have sommeliers to recommend them. Talk to brew masters and owners when you go to craft breweries. You won’t be sorry


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