Mumbai’s historic arts and culture district, “Kala Ghoda” literally means “Black Horse” while “Fort” refers to Fort George, a now-demolished British-era fort. This is where old world charm mingles with new world comforts. Nestled among the iconic Indo-Gothic architecture, you’ll find old-school Irani and Parsi cafes alongside more upscale coffee shops and bars, art galleries, museums, bookshops, and more.
You’ll encounter streets bursting with hawkers selling everything from clothes and handbags (especially on the aptly-named “Fashion Street”) to musical instruments to food and drink. By-lanes are bustling with artists selling their watercolor paintings and jewelry.
Traffic is always mad in this area, so you’re best off getting around on foot and using public transport in the form of Uber, Ola, black-and-yellow taxis, or the “Mumbai Local,” the city’s rail network. As a matter of fact, one of India’s busiest railway stations is the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) is here, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s houses a well-hidden rail museum within its walls.
Most prominently, the area is home to several heritage buildings converted into offices, and with courthouses in the vicinity, it is not uncommon to see black-robed lawyers parked in cafes enjoying bun-maska and chai—or beer, depending on the time of day.
Among the coworking spaces are Ministry of New, a bright high-ceilinged venue with quirky decor, Bootstart, WeWork. Despite the sparse selection of coworking spaces there are plenty of cafes to choose from including the forever befitting Kala Ghoda Cafe, which has an especially great akuri (a Parsi egg dish) and a stellar flourless chocolate cake. Other tried-and-true local favorites are Zen Cafe, Cafe Universal, and The Nutracker. Each has an extensive menu and are typically crowd-free mid-morning, so if you’re looking to park yourself somewhere for the day these are excellent options.
For post-work drinks, head to 145 Kala Ghoda, a club-and-bar with lively music, or if you’re looking for something more mellow, try Irish House, a local chain that indulges the stereotypical “Irish pub” vibe.
Akanksha Singh is a writer and journalist based between Mumbai and Lisbon.
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