Kopi Desa, Agonda
In the quiet beach village of Agonda in the deep south stretch of Canacona, you might not expect to find a world-class F&B experience. After spending all day on the beach, travellers stop by here for a sourdough pizza and an inventive cocktail, with a dash of funky live music on top. The name means Coffee Country in Indonesian, so you can expect good brews during the day as well.
Pro tip: stay at their luxury huts, Indah Desa, nearby, and meander back and forth to Kopi Desa for a perfectly lazy holiday plan.
Toro Toro, Baga River Road
The newest party spot on this upscale stretch of Baga is a ‘tropical caravan bar’ overlooking the cool waters of the creek that runs down to Baga Beach. Tapas flow fluidly here, as does the foottapping live music and karaoke by local bands like Music Fever. And it’s not just an evening hangout – you can start at brunch on Saturdays or all through the weekend to get into the ‘island vibe’.
The Project Café, Assagao
A multi-dimensional, art-oriented lifestyle space, The Project Café curates electronic and live music gatherings that attract a mix of new and old residents of Goa to this chic villa in Assagao. Recent parties have included poolside sundowners with electro-disco sounds of DJ act Glittermama (inspired by Asha Puthli), DJ Mista Selecta of Baba au Rhum fame and a sufi gypsy band, Sahaj.
In a move that has gentrified a crumbling section of Panjim’s Latin Quarter, Soho sits atop a beautifully restored building on two levels. The interiors, which are a tasteful blend of classic Portuguese and contemporary industrial, are immensely popular with Panjim’s party population. The best commercial and Bollywood DJs being flown in from around the country doesn’t hurt its cause either.
For a banging beach party, keep your eyes peeled for their ‘Boombox’ nights, where European and Indian underground DJs have a clear mission… to make you dance. Some of the DJs that play here frequently are Alexander Smith, Nelio One Eyed, Breger and Jewlung. If you get in before 10, entry is free, and you can catch up with some of Goa’s most ardent party people, for tips on other fun happenings that are going down.
The legendary open-air venue of raves now remains one of the last bastions for those who need a good dose of psy-trance. There are often festivals featuring the best DJs in the genre, like XP Voodoo, Bobblehead and Boombaba, besides top dance music artists from around the globe you wouldn’t usually get to see in India. Even if you’re not a fan, the colourful décor and people are reason enough to check out a party, and it is probably the most genuine Goa party experience that you can have.
‘A village pub’ that brings together locals and expats alike, Soro (meaning alcohol in Konkani) is as cheeky as its name. Step inside to the bar area if you can talk over the loud music, or step out to the wraparound balcony spaces to chat with friends or play a game of pool. Soro caters to almost all tastes, with techno, rock and salsa nights every week. You can also hop over to the newly-opened Escobar, just across the road.
House No 248, Sangolda
Warning – book your table in advance when you go here to listen to the best travelling bands from all over India on Tuesday nights. Whether it’s Janis Joplin-inspired My Kind of Blue or the gypsy jazz sounds of the Banjara Quartet, this airy restobar gets packed. You can always stand by the bar and chat with the entertaining partners here, should you just roll up. Tierra Y Mar, the restaurant in the same space, is also a great choice for a burger before the show.
Sol de Goa, Nerul
Thursday nights at this classy boutique hotel have been reinstated with a twist. Instead of jazz and retro bands, they now feature house and techno DJs like Sashanti, with live percussionists and fire dancers. The new menu cooked up by young chef Maia is a must-try, along with a whisky cocktail of your choice. The backdrop of a pool by endless fields also contributes to a fun night out.
Showbar Exchange, Candolim
If you want to groove to the top 40s, it’s a safe bet to hit up this theatre-styled bar that boasts of a bar stock exchange as well. Event organisers Major Milkshake also host fun competitions like ‘The Royal Rumble’, where you can win merchandise and permanent invites to their hall of fame, based on your bar tab. The best local DJs – including MacAttack, Ryan Nogar, Shania, Navin, Rinton and others – spin RnB, hip hop and all the popular genres here.