It must be noted that Colombo society is still very conservative in general, so nightlife is limited. That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun though. T&T has listed their favourite bars here. Please note though that the bars here are maybe at the higher end of the price range.
© Mary Ansvananda Prothero (Instagram @mary_a_prothero)
32B Sir Mohammed Macan Markar Mawatha, Colombo 03 | Opening Hours-6pm-3am (Open till 4am on weekend nights and closed on Mondays)
| 077 805 0330
This is a restaurant and bar, but the emphasis is more on the bar. Again, another speakeasy style bar, where you must walk through a little flower shop and go up some darkly lit stairs. The restaurant is minimal (some could say soulless) in style but it does good and interesting Asian fusion food; we love the wings and Bulgogi beef sliders with coconut rotis. The bar, with its amazing decanter light arrangement, is very alluring, and it flows from inside to outside smoothly and has great views. The loos are amazing too. The drinks menu is very locally inspired with a great use of all the spices.
The Shangri La Hotel, 1 Galle Face, Colombo 02 | Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm | 011 788 8288
No surprise to read that we love this bar. As you walk in via the amazing collection of vintage glasses, you are enveloped with the sophisticated but welcoming atmosphere of the bar. Sit around the bar sipping on an incredible smoky whisky sour and talk to the very charismatic barmen and you will feel the chaos of your day slip away. They also have an awesome live band that plays regularly . You can also order food at the bar: American tapas style bites; we utterly recommend the sliders, truffle fries, mac n’ cheese and the mushroom croquettes- they’re scrumptious, and will soak up the extra cocktail you are bound to have. Internationally priced but worth it.
7 Hospital St, Colombo 01 | Opening Hours: 5.30pm-12.00am(Tuesday-Sunday)(Bar Last Order Till 1.30 am on Fridays/Saturdays),12.00pm-3.00pm(Wednesday-Friday) | 076 644 5888
We just love the location of this place, found within the Fort of Colombo, it effortlessly oozes atmosphere. Our favourite roof top bar, it has a tropical eclectic style and is great for pre-dinner drinks overlooking the city. You can get bar snacks; we love the chicken liver pate and sliders. Try their Tamarind cocktail for something different, or their equally great G&T.
The Kingsbury Hotel, 48 Janadhipathi Mawatha, Colombo 01 | Opening Hours: 11am-2am | 077 108 7720 | 0112 421 221
This long-awaited bar, in arguably one of the best spots overlooking the Indian Ocean, and increasingly, the Port City, guarantees a great view. Ce La Vi attracts a certain crowd who are up for being seen and having a party while listening to live music and guest DJ’s. It has a very slick ambience, with cosy seating outside and inside (with ac). We have to say the staff is extremely attentive and go out of their way to give you a super night. It is not to everyone’s taste, but if you like a party vibe and want to try new cocktails, go here.
2 Parsons Road, Colombo 02 |Opening Hours 7pm-4am (closed on a Sunday) | 0112 492 492
Located next to Il Ponte within the Hilton complex, you will struggle to not find yourself here at some point during your stay in Colombo. It is everything a Karaoke bar should be: dark, smoky and full of characters singing the night away. The bar itself is standard but you go to let off steam and fulfil that secret passion of being a singer.
Galle Face Hotel, Galle Main Rd, Colombo 03 | Opening Hours: 5pm-1am (Till 2am onFridays and Saturdays) | 077 222 7389
With its party vibe and vibrant Latin flavoured atmosphere you will definitely get into the spirit of a night out here, sipping your cocktail of choice. Set right on the Indian Ocean, which is a rarity for Colombo, Mambo is a great bar, and serves a good range of Mediterranean and Latino food. They often have live music. Ladies night is on Tuesdays, and it really is free drinks for the chicas.
48 Park St, Colombo 07 | Opening Hours: 10am-12am (Closed on Mondays) | 0114 502 602
This bar set the benchmark for sophisticated, party atmosphere in Colombo and we love it for that. Great drinks, you will often see the fireworks of magnums of vodka and champagne being passed through the place. The French owner is full of enthusiasm and knows how to throw a successful party. They are renowned for their French Kiss parties on a Friday night. The bar is inside and out, giving it a free flow. In our opinion, it has a brilliant vibe for an awesome night out with friends, where you can drink and dance.