Ah beer, nectar of the marginally less classy Gods, and champion of the summer-weary beach bum. This year is probably one of the hottest in Lankan history, and an icy cold lager is the refuge of many. With lots more options on the market than before (just check out our comprehensive local beer taste-off), from the jungle fever of Lion (now back in stores, yay!), Tiger, and Singha to the aristocracy of Baron's, being a beer guzzler has never been better.
We've put together our top 10 spots for beer in the city, based either on virtue of their price, happy hour deals, or sheer variety. Yes, most beer-swilling spots are expensive, but so is the torture of sobriety. Cheers!
Mintage has been around for little over two years now, and has since become a popular watering hole among Colombo's working crowd. We like Mintage — they serve up some pretty good Sri Lankan Chinese along with cheap booze. That's a classic combo. Sure, their variety of beers leaves quite a lot to be desired, but their prices are great, and their post-work ambience is a huge draw.
The Bavarian has stuck with what they do best, which is giving us hardy, no-compromise, carnivorous meals. They've established themselves as a Lankan staple, and the cosy München vibe adds to their appeal. Better still, they have a great selection of beers and ciders imported from Germany (and elsewhere). They're not exactly cheap, but the good things in life rarely are.
The ginormous lion head that you walk through to enter may put you off, but the Lion Pub is one of Mount Lavinia's oldest food establishments, and has since become somewhat of a landmark. It may not be as popular as it was back in the day, but the food is surprisingly good, the portions are generous and the atmosphere is perfect for a cool (and cheap) Lion lager.
We've heard a fair amount of grumbling about Cheers' service recently. They've become notoriously slow and forgetful, especially with food. But if you're there to watch the match and have a pint, you'll generally be in good hands. Apart from the usual locals on tap, they've got a selection of about 20 imported beers and ciders too. They're all around Rs. 700 per bottle, so be careful about racking up that bill.
The Loft Lounge and Cloud Cafe are Colombo Courtyard's two-in-one bar combo. The former is indoors and the latter on the rooftop. Food is expensive, as are cocktails, but if you're crafty and arrive between 5 PM and 7 PM, you'll be able to cash in on their superb happy hour deal. All beer bottles are 50% off. Add that to the lovely ambience and you've got yourself an optimal post work drink spot.
Fort Cafe definitely wouldn't ordinarily strike anyone as a beer spot, but you'd be surprised. Their selection isn't spectacular, but their chilled al fresco courtyard ambience and happy hour deals are. If you head there between 5:30 and 7 you can get a pitcher of Lion or Carlsberg along with a plate of tapas for a reasonable Rs. 1000 or so. Totes worth it.
Okay, so the CC doesn't have a massive variety of beer. However, they do have the regulars (Lion, Tiger, a couple of imported classics), and a lovely little open courtyard perfect for brew-sipping.
Ok, the food here is abysmal, but the local beer is cheap! Around Rs. 800 for a litre of Lion. Rs. 250 for a draft, and between Rs. 600-1000 for fancypants imported beer and cider.
The posh new 24th floor Vistas has got one of Colombo's best selections of imported beers, featuring everything from our homegrown Lion to firangi-grown San Miguel, Erdinger, Savannah, Peroni, Somersby, and more. A small bottle of Lion goes for a steep Rs. 490, and the imported beers are all around the Rs. 1000 mark.
Chillax is an easy option if you want cheap beers and quick snacks. It's the ultimate post-work drinks spot if you don't have a club membership at CH&FC, CR&FC, SSC, or any other acronym. They serve all day, and you honestly can't go wrong with a draught of Lion Lager, Carlsberg or Special Brew. A small 275 ML glass is Rs. 200, and 500 ML is Rs. 400. A pitcher is about Rs. 800+.
The Kingsbury Hotel has reinvented their old pool area into a chic, sprawling pool bar and lounge. With a lovely al fresco setting, dancey vibes and a big new menu, it's a pretty good call for a weekend tipple. The best part is that they've got a whole bunch of discounts on different weeks, so for the first week of every month they do a bunch of beer discounts on draughts, bottles, towers etc. For example, a Lion pitcher is Rs.1090 net. Not bad!
If you're looking for a comprehensive list of spots that sell and serve beer, go to our label here. Do let us know what we've missed, and happy tippling!
Don't forget to drink responsibly, and grab a PickMe, Uber, or old fashioned tuk tuk to make it home.
Here's a short list of bokken Sri Lankan words and phrases you need to know if you're Sri Lankan or if you're in Sri Lanka. Also, 'bokken' isn't included…
We tasted every locally brewed and available beer. In the name of science!
Where, how, and why to find love in the paradise island.
Countries that let you in without a fuss with your Lankan passport
The Hottest Crab Curries In The City!