Many Western visitors to Kochi enjoy capping off a day on the beach with a night on the town. This port city on India's Malabar coast isn't known for its club scene, but as one of the country's hottest tourist destinations, it still keeps its foreign guests entertained after sundown. Most of Kochi's nightclubs and lounges are in big hotels and charge prices out of range for most locals, but a few attract a mixed crowd.
Kochi and Names
Kochi, on the Arabian Sea about 665 miles south of Mumbai, is in the state of Kerala. In colonial times, the city was called Cochin, and often still is. Even in Kochi/Cochin, you'll see it referred to both ways, but for all practical purposes, the two names are interchangeable. However, nomenclature gets a lot more confusing than that. The original city of Cochin is relatively small and one of many districts, towns and villages within the Greater Cochin metropolitan region. Original Cochin now part of the district of Ernakulam, where you'll find many of the hotels, shops and restaurants -- think of it as "downtown" Cochin. So when people refer to Ernakulam, they're usually using the name as a synonym for the original part of Kochi/Cochin, not the whole region.
Ava Lounge in Kochi's Commercial Hub
By day, the Ava Lounge, named in honor of the late movie star Ava Gardner, is an upscale restaurant in Ernakulum, Kochi's commercial district. After dark, though, it morphs into a lively disco and dance venue. You'll find the Ava Lounge in the Dream Hotel on Sahodaran Ayyappan, or S.A., Road.
Loungevity: Boogie to Bollywood Hits
Loungevity on Mahatma Gandhi, or M.G., Road is where visitors can meet and mingle with young locals out for a night on the town. Frommer's calls the club “a cool white minimalist lounge bar" in an "untouristy part of the city.” Located in the Avenue Regent Hotel, Loungevity's DJs spin Bollywood as well as international pop hits.
Getting Your Glow On
Glow offers clubbers a 1,500-square-foot dance floor and an ambiance hearkening back to the 1970s heyday of disco, complete with psychedelic lighting effects. It's in the Hotel Harbour View on M.G. Road near the Cochin shipyard.
A Club for Sports Fans
Champs Sports Lounge sometimes hosts DJ-and-dance nights, but people mainly come to this informal tavern in Kaloor district to watch live telecasts of India's two favorite sports -- cricket and "football," meaning soccer. Decor consists of posters of great moments in sports, and prices are lower than many of Kochi's more glamorous venues.
For a Quieter Experience ...
Divine is an intimate wine lounge in the Malabar House, a boutique hotel in the historic Fort Cochin area. There, you can spend the evening sampling fine Indian vintages paired with recommended dishes food from an international menu.
One of Kochi's Best Views
On Marine Drive, the Harbour View lounge in the landmark Taj Residency Hotel, also known as the Taj Gateway, commands a striking view of Kochi Harbour.