Canal Row, Colombo 1
Last updated by shru on 20 May 2013
The Brewery by O!, or O bar as it's more commonly referred to, is insanely popular. Go there any night of the week, even Sunday, and it's likely to be full to the brim with beer brandishing patrons.
Located in the back courtyard of the lovely Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct, the bar itself isn't huge - there are two sections where you can sit down and a big square shaped bar at the back with stools around it. This area's packed on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights, but if you're sitting outside the chances of getting a waiter (or waitress - O! seems to be the only bar in Colombo to employ female bar staff, and we're proud of them for it) over to your table are slim - you'll have to go up to the bar to order (be sure to look up at the ceiling when you do, there's a very interesting gold scuplture).
Service is definitely slow, and getting a drink can be difficult. We've had friends who've disappeared into the bar only to emerge about 20 minutes later having spilt a gin jostling their way back. But no one really seems to mind too much. On popular nights there's a separate stand outside selling beer and towers - so this can make procuring your beverage a little easier.
Prices seem to be pretty standard. A mug of Lion is Rs. 140, a pitcher Rs. 650 and a tower Rs. 1300. They've also got some interesting beer cocktails like the Gun Slinger (Carlsberg, ginger and lemon grass - Rs. 300) and the Boys Thing (Orange, Lion and cinnamon - Rs. 300).
Spirit cocktails are all around Rs 400 - the Sea Breeze is good (gin, tonic and lime) - and the bites are fine but a bit pricy - we usually go for the Superspuds (wedges, Rs. 300) and cheese toast (Rs. 350). The better option would be to turn up on a Wednesday wearing your hem above your knees. Er, yes, they've got a rather strange promotion where anyone (men included) showing a bit of knee gets free food between 6 and 10pm - I'm torn between indignation and delight, but I guess it's better than paying Rs. 350 for cheese toast.
Why is O bar so popular? Maybe cause of the lovely big courtyard that gives you such a large area to mingle - as well as more breathing space. You get the atmosphere of being at a bar without literally being in a bar, if you know what I mean. The place has a great vibe - and it's crowded without being claustrophobic. If you do sit outside however, note that all the chairs consist of cement blocks - quite heavy and difficult to move around if you're trying to add more people to a table.
The only criticism we really have is that they tend to play extremely loud music outside. This is unecessary and unpleasant - it makes talking difficult and the music is rarely good.
But basically, O bar is a great place, we love it. See you there.