Mintage came as a very, very pleasant surprise. From the name and general facebook vibe, we expected a slightly tackier version of Rize – an expensive sports bar with lurid design and dubious crowd. In reality, it fills a gaping void in Colombo’s watering hole options. It’s a nice, chill place for a nibble and drink after work with friends, and it doesn’t require you to dress up or shell out. It neatly fills the niche between the Machangs and the Sky Lounges of the city. And most importantly – it’s cheaper than both.
Food & Drinks
The menu was a tad shocking at first glance. Firstly, all liquor is served by the 50ml or 100ml – no 25ml nonsense here. Secondly, all arracks go for Rs. 150 for a 50ml shot. WHAT? Local gin at Rs. 200, and even foreign vodkas like Smirnoff Apple go at Rs. 250. I have no idea how they manage these prices, since they don’t appear to be owned by a brewery or anything. A mug of Lion is also Rs. 150, which is on par with the O!s, which are actually owned by a brewery. No complaints from their patrons I’m sure.
The food prices weren’t as amazing, but were quite decent nonetheless. This seems like a place that has a couple of staples like Chinese fried rice and hot butter cuttlefish that are probably ordered often and they’ve perfected by now. We decided to go a bit off the beaten path and ordered a 6 piece fried chicken wings at Rs. 400, and hot butter mushrooms at Rs. 300. The chicken wings were really not too great, consisting of about 50% of flavourless batter, and 50% flavourless chicken, but the vegetarian cousin of the renowned HBC was quite delightful. The mushrooms could have been a little spicier, but were great otherwise.
Service & Ambience
The service lacked for nothing, the waiters were polite, friendly and efficient. Everything was brought post-haste, with a smile. They knew their way around the menu, and managed pretty good English (although the vernacular is an easier bet here).
Ambience-wise, I was pleasantly surprised. The high wooden chairs and tables are spotlit by swaying circular lamps that fit the pub-vibe. There were also a couple of booth-esque areas created by large sofa groupings. The upholstery was a questionable red and brown pattern, but it kind of suited the general colour scheme. Overall, it’s a chill non-fancy place with plenty of seating and space.
The downstairs area is the restaurant, and the upstairs is the pub. They have TVs in every section showing the current match, which I’m sure is a hit. The pub is pretty popular especially with the post-work crowd, but it doesn’t get dodgy. Be warned, their wooden seats have very little surface area, which could get a bit uncomfy for the chunkier folk.
There’s nothing fancy or upscale here, but it’s great. They’ve hit the winning formula: a standard sports pub, with a decent ambience and very very cheap drinks. It’s perfectly nice for women too, there’s no dodgy vibe at all. A solid recommendation for a post-work drink.