A casual lounge bar perfectly situated on the OMR near to all the IT parks.
This trendy bar is in the heart of Chennai in one of the oldest hotels in the city. Add a touch of class with your gin and tonic while enjoying the ambient lounge music.
This famous bar in the heart of the city has a full size bike hanging over barrels converted into tables, hence the name. A lively atmosphere at the weekends, this can also be a great place to enjoy a drink with friends during the week.
Tryst Cafe, situated in Neelankari on the ECR near to the Nelankari police station, is Chennai’s most popular haunts for expats. Good food, simple settings and warm staff are some of the reasons it has become so popular. The fact that you can buy hard to find foods like various cheeses, meats and bakery items is another reason why it’s a firm favourite amongst expats and locals.
15, Burkit Road, T. Nagar, Chennai - 600017
This serviced apartments is situated in a quiet residential area in T-Nagar. It’s far enough away from the hustle and bustle that T-Nagar is known for but still close enough to all the shops. It is run by the GRT Hotels & Resorts group. Rates start from Rs 2,500 + tax per night.
This slightly smaller mall has easy access for people living in the Southern part of Chennai, however the range of shops is not as extensive as you might find in Velachery’s other mall, Phoenoix Market City. That said, a multiplex cinema, a bowling alley and a McDonald’s means that the mall can provide a good evening’s entertainment.
Once one of the largest shopping malls in South Asia, Spencer Plaza is a labrynth of narrow passages and atriums. Packed full with small shops selling cheap merchandise, the only reason to venture in to Spencer Plaza is to experience a Chennai of five years ago. All but a few of the major brands have left this shopping plaza.
Styled on a French mansion, when it opened, Citi Centre was the largest and most glamorous looking shopping mall in the city. Now it’s looking a bit dated and a few empty retail spaces are visible, but it is still a good place to buy clothes or visit the multiplex cinema.
This mall on the west side of the city contains all the large, mass market shops that lets you buy everything from clothing to home products to the latest tech and gadgets. It also has France’s largest supermarket chain, Auchan, in the basement.
This new mall in the south of the city has a more exclusive range of shops compared to other malls in the city and is a haven for the brand conscious. It also hosts a Hard Rock Cafe (although it can’t serve alcohol) and a multiplex cinema.
One of the largest malls in Chennai, Express Avenue (often just abbreviated to EA Mall) caters to the mass markets with affordable department stores selling everything from clothing to household goods. It also has a number of branded stores, including a Hamleys and Burberry along with a multiplex cinema, food court and kids fun zone.
Part bar, part restaurant and completed with a small dance floor to make it a nightclub. The food is remarkably good and reasonably priced too. It’s become a popular haunt for the locals who want a night out with breaking the bank.
Nested on top of the Hilton hotel, Q Bar is well known for attracting Chennai’s famous and wealthy. One look at the drinks menu is all you need to see why. This open air bar is great on the cooler nights and offers some spectacular views of the city, but an absolute washout if it rains. Many of Chennai’s bigger parties are held at Q Bar.
So called because the Hotel is located at number 365, Anna Salai, this bar is located in the Hyatt Regency near the city centre. 365 AS is a modern city bar – no wood panelling and dark corners here. It’s a great place to grab a quick drink, eat a few bar snacks and catch some sport on one of the large screen TVs.
No, the world hasn’t gone mad with the clothes brand opening up bars in India. Zara is a lively tapas restaurant in the centre of the city that makes the perfect hangout for catching up with friends or celebrating a birthday. Rocking music that borders on the cheesy, DJs and live bands create the right ambiance to have a great evening. Prices are a little on the high side for alcohol, but that hasn’t stopped Zara becoming a favourite for the young and previously young.
For something a bit more trendy than Vintage Bank or Moon & Sixpence, Leather Bar provides the perfect setting. Located in The Park hotel in the centre of Chennai, the dark, stylish ambiance with pumping house music makes Leather Bar the place to be seen for celebrities and socialites. There’s no food available other than a few bar snacks because the purpose of being at Leather Bar is to be seen looking good, not seen stuffing food in to your mouth.
Chennai’s first and only Irish bar located in the Hablis hotel in Guindy. The owners were so keen to get the ambiance right that they brought over a company from Ireland to build the bar for them. The result is a genuine Irish bar feel with true English style pub grub. The place can get lively on the weekends with live bands playing but during the week it’s a great place to pot a few balls on the pool table.
If you’re looking for a bit of class, Vintage Bank is the place. Located in the Hilton Chennai, Vintage bank offers a range of good food, imported beer, a large selection of wines and a sophisticated ambiance. The place is a little pricey, even by western standards, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a better bar to unwind in.
A vegetarian restaurant that offers dishes inspired by global cuisines with an Indian twist. Everything from pasta to nachos, veggie burgers to Indian. I have a soft spot for Cream Centre after I once went to collect an order and while waiting Chennai had one of its famous thunderstorms. The staff were so concerned that the food would get cold, one of them drove me back home in their car!
For fantastic vegetarian and non-veg Indian food, you should head to one of the Copper Chimney restaurants. The restaurant is a firm favorite with the locals which is a good yardstick for measuring how good the Indian food is. It’s not that costly either, which is another reason it’s so popular. Try the hariyali chicken kebabs.
This vegetarian restaurant is easy on the wallet but has some highly unique dishes. As well as the great tasting Indian cuisine it serves up, it also has a locally influenced continental menu where you can try the Indian take on pasta bakes, macaroni & cheese, lasagna and veg pies. One must try dish is the stuffed pitas which have paneer and gravy inside.
If you have deep pockets then the best place for sushi and Japanese food (with an Indian flavour, of course) is Teppan on TTK Road. The live teppanyakki grill is fascinating to watch as the chef dishes up your food live for you to see. The restaurant serves most types of sushi, even veg sushi.
This small and intimate restaurant is often packed in the evening thanks to its eclectic menu of Indian inspire western dishes. I’m yet to see anywhere outside of India that serves sizzlers, but at Tangerine it’s labelled as western food. Both veg and non-veg dishes are well done and it’s easy to see why people go back to Tangerine again and again.
This vegetarian Italian restaurant will put many off due to the lack of meat options but the chefs have remained remarkably faithful to the Italian cuisine. The stone oven baked pizzas are amongst the best in the city and the restaurant itself has a great ambiance.
If you are looking for authentic stone oven pizzas then Tuscana is your best bet. While the restaurant is limited by the meat and alcohol regulations, it remains a popular restaurant for many people and the Italian cuisine with an Indian twist has been done very well.
Chennai can be said to be lots of things but peaceful and tranquil probably aren’t two of the words you’d use to describe the city. And yet the owners of Amethyst have managed to create an oasis of tranquility in the heart of Chennai. At its heart, Amethyst could be said to be a tea garden with a colonial theme. With refreshing drinks and light snacks, this place is definitely on the pricier side but you are paying for the ambiance.
Khader Nawaz Khan Road, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600006, India
A new restaurant that has a fusion of Indian and western flavours. It doesn’t try to be authentic to one cuisine and that’s its strength.
For a unique experience, head to the Flying Elephant at the Hyatt Grand. Part restaurant, part night club, the Flying Elephant spans seven floors and offers cuisines from around the world.
The Verandah at the Taj Connemara offers the perfect old Colonial India setting with big arches set in a now enclosed veranda. Serving both western and Indian food along with an all you can eat buffet option in the evening, The Verandah is a great place to take visiting friends.
Another roof top restaurant located on top of the Residency Towers in T-Nagar. The Crown has both an indoor and outdoor seating area and is the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion as it offers a great view of the city below. Primarily serving Indian cuisine there are also a few Indianised western dishes available as well.
Located on the top floor of the Raintree Hotel in Alwarpet, Above Sea Level serves western and Indian cuisine. The restaurant is the perfect place for date night or for entertaining out of town guests. Chennai might not have the skyline of many cities, but you get a great view of the city nevertheless.