Vespa Sports Club (Indi)
The Vespa is a fantastic dodgy bar a stones throw from the beach in Kollupitiya. Down Sea View Lane, it's an absurdly large property for what is essentially just a crumbling verandah and an expansive, ill-tended lawn/parking lot.
Here you can get a bottle of Rockland Arrack for Rs. 1240 and quite tasty deviled pork for Rs. 380. Two portions of the latter and one bottle is quite enough for four or five people to have a quite pleasant night out. Note that is more of a pre-drinks place as it officially closes at 10 PM, but they do tend to serve a bit longer.
While dodgy bars are great in terms of price and general bites, the ambiance and clientele can be a bit, well, dodgy, especially if you are or are with girls. While the Vespa has the usual clientele, they're quite nice and it's not a cramped inside space, so people seem more chill.
Overall, this is our favorite new dodgy bar. It doesn't have the eccentric Thai menu of the Randoli Sports Club
, but the location makes the Vespa Sports Club hard to beat. Incidentally, neither location features much sports.
Vespa Sports Club (second look Savan)
Another of those fantasies that sometime materialize out of sticky Colombo nights.
The Vespa Sports Club, hidden down one of Colpetty's sultry seaside lanes, is an extraordinary place.
A crumbling old bungalow, with thick cream columns and old wooden fretwork hanging over its stone verandah it look likes it belongs in the Galle Fort but unlike buildings in the Fort's intimate lanes its surrounded by a substantial open space-perhaps a quarter of an acre in sea-side Colpetty...
A lovely old building, a ton of open space, feet from the sea yet basically in the heart of modern Colombo this could easily be the city's social centre
eclipsing the Dutch Hospital's super trendy O bar(link). Instead its an unheard of little tavern, frequented by a handful of ordinary working men.
The value of the real estate, the desirability of the location there is no logical reason why this building hasn't been demolished to make way for an apartment complex or some sort of hotel but somehow its remained an old world, old school island bar- like something you might have found on the Negombo Road in the 80s....
That the odds are stacked so utterly against its existence is a key part of its appeal.
Pure serendipity, it shouldn't exist but it does and 2 rocklands hundreds with a coke came to Rs 490.
You can sit under the stars, listen to the ocean and alternate between drags of gold leaf and short sips of rum and coke. This is what a tropical bar should be and while
YAMU has been using the term dodgy bar as a catch-all for Colombo's working-class drinking establishments if you sit at Vespa on a weekday evening you'll realize that Colombo's truly dodgy bars are kama, white horse and their aspiring ilk,
The crowd at Vespa, though its hardly a crowd, consists entirely of relaxed, respectable and respectful working men - there are no body guards, no brawls, no attitude and agro and the presence of women is greeted with relaxed ambivalence and perhaps slightly better service.
This is a safer and more salubrious place to spend an evening than most of Colombo's non dodgy bars.....You also don't run the risk of ending the evening out of pocket.
For those who have never ventured beyond the cloistered confines of air-conditioned Colombo the 5 star hotels and the handful of trendy bars that honestly wouldn't cut it in the first-world they desperately strive to imitate Vespa is the best possible introduction to the best of the city's drinking which of course is found in its dodgy, but actually not very dodgy, working man's bars.
Tip; This is on Sea Avenue not Sea View avenue- about the second turning to the left (seaside) after the prominent Colpetty Mc Donalds. Of course 'dodgy bars' often lack late night licenses so the serving stops at about 11, early evenings are good as is from 10-11 on a weekday when its super chilled.
The devilled pork is good. The cashew nuts come in a packet, but they're also pretty good. Ample parking.