The Castle Hotel

Masjidul Jamiah Road, Colombo 2

  • This place has closed down

The Castle Hotel is the finest of dodgy bars.

The Castle Hotel is the finest of dodgy bars. It is housed in a beautifully ageing on Castle Street, near the Slave Island railway station. The windows have colored glass tiles and everything is a beautiful Matrix green or fading orange. Drinks, also, are cheap and the bites are usually excellent.

The Space

The Castle Hotel is an actual hotel as well as a bar. There are rooms upstairs for upwards of Rs. 1,500 a night. We don't quite recommend. Downstairs there are two wings if you will. On the right there's the more post room with table cloths and on the left is the more rough and tumble regular bar.'

Lately they've set up a craps table for in the lobby, but we're not sure how permanent this is. There's usually a guy selling fried bites outside.

The Castle Hotel is a beautiful crumbly sorta space and the staff, especially the young and smily Solomon are quite nice. The patrons are almost all working-class men. They may sing a bit loud but are generally nice enough. It's not necessarily a comfortable place for women to go because you will stick out, but no one is hostile or rude. It is, however, better to go with men.

The Drinks

We must confess that we've been a bit lax and forgotten to get the prices of beer, etc. This is a working-class bar so the prices are low. Our bill for a big bottle of Lion beer and a lot of french fries was Rs. 520. We're guessing about Rs. 300-325 for the beer, which is not cheap but still affordable. Check out our Lion Index for the price of beer at various places around town.

Besides that the recommended drinks are of course arrack. I prefer Old Reserve.

The Food

The food here is usually quite good. The french fries are dusted with chili and are quite addictively good. Besides that they have beef bites, cuttlefish, etc. The prices run from Rs. 200 up and they give you decent sized portions.

The Conclusion

This is our favorite dodgy bar. It has low prices, nice people and the building itself is remarkable. There's a great history to the space. It's been around for ages and numerous films have been shot here, local and foreign. The architecture is classic and airy, from the ascending staircase to the arches above the windows. This plus a stop at the nearby Dreamland Bar and then Burgers King for a bite makes for quite a nice night out in Slave Island.


Ask for Solomon. The french fries with chili are good.


Masjidul Jamiah Road, Colombo 2


From Galle Face Roundabout, go up Macan Markar Mw, over the canal and turn left immediately after the rail tracks. From Colombo 7, head down Union Place, go straight at the junction and turn right before the trail tracks.

This place has closed down

Price Range

Between Rs. 500 - Rs. 1000

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