Machang (Bentota).

The Machang brand is touted to be Sri Lanka’s largest pub chain, which is not particularly commendable seeing as there are no other islandwide pub chains. However, their business model and their prices are superbly laudable. The Lion bars have been criticized for undercutting other bars, but I doubt their patrons are complaining.

We’ve already covered the famous Machang in Nawala last year, and found it pretty great. Looks like they’ve maintained this along the Southern coast.

Food & Drinks

The place is closed between 2 PM and 5 PM due to Government regulations, but we managed to slip in at 1:55 and they sweetly took us in. Unfortunately, they were out of the exalted hot butter cuttlefish. They apologetically suggested a rice fry-up, which we accepted. At Rs. 350, the seafood fried rice was very good and fed two people easily. The rice had obviously been cooked a few hours before, but they did a nice toss up on the open wok with chopped seafood so it was quite hot and fresh. Very cheap, very yum.

It was a nice hot afternoon so we ordered an icy mug of Lion, at a measly Rs. 100. The taste was super as usual, the price even better.

Ambience & Service

Machangs are not really the sort of establishment you go to for the interior decor. But you can expect simple, laid back and not ugly. The place was pretty deserted in the afternoon, but we can imagine it’s absolutely bustling in the evening.

The pub is right across the road from the beach, so the lazy afternoon coastal vibe was irresistible. The service added to the vibe, with a couple of sleepy looking barmen who grinned toothily at us and languidly took our order, but still served very quickly.

Conclusion

Uncomplicated, tasty food and fresh icy Lion beer in a sleepy coastal town.

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