Colombo, despite having a generosity of coastline, doesn’t actually have much of an oceanfront scene. There’s no real seaside strip here, until you get to Mount Lavinia. Still, there are a lot of gems. We’ll collect some here, starting with the very very north.
We’re limiting our selection here to 7 places with an ocean view. These are not beachside restaurants/bars. We’ll cover that in another post. These are places where you can see the ocean, but not really dip a toe in.
Starting from the very top of the island, there is a beautiful but usually neglected beach at Crow Island. There is no public place in particular to hang out there. There is a dog cemetery, and a walking park, and something that calls itself a swimming club.
1. Whist Bungalow
Next week (Feb 1st) you can, however, visit Whist Bungalow, which at one point was a nice colonial club. It’s not especially functional now, but it will be open on that day for a series of talks and events.
2. Flag & Whistle
As you enter the more commercial parts of the Colombo coast, you get Flag & Whistle, a expansive, high-ceilinged German restaurant with a good view of the Port. We don’t have a review or photo of the place because we were not allowed entry last time (because Shru was wearing rubber slippers). It’s that kind of place, though we will say it’s unusual for women to be denied entry because of footwear.
3. Harbour Room, Grand Oriental Hotel
The Grand Oriental Hotel’s Harbour Room has quite possibly the best view in the city. It looks directly out onto the working port and it’s especially stunning at night. The GOH is a neglected hotel, but the Harbour Room actually does a decent carbonara. It’s a nice date spot just for the view.
4. Lighthouse Galley
We haven’t reviewed the Navy run Lighthouse Galley yet, but it does have a prime location just across from the Buck Lighthouse, pictured above. You can read reviews of the spot on TripAdvisor. Note that they require shoes and collared shirts for certain parts of the restaurant.
5. Sky Lounge
Kingsbury’s Sky Lounge is a new rooftop bar with amazing views over the ocean. Though it’s most happening at night, it’s the best (view wise) at sunset. Sky Lounge is expensive and the service has been, in our experience, so-so.
Colpetty (Colombo 3) actually begins in and includes the Galle Face Green.
6. Galle Face Green
The Galle Face Green has a lot of different spots to hang out and eat, Rauf Nana’s is one that we’ve reviewed. It has great views at sunset and nice, affordable food (isso vade, fried octopus, french fries, etc).
Galle Face Verandah (currently closed)
This part of the Galle Face Hotel is currently closed for a year and a half (from now, we were told on the phone, so like 2016), but this was once an amazing view – across the chess-board onto the sea.
Marine Drive (Colpetty/Bamba/Wellawatte)
7. Beach Wadiya
Beach Wadiya is where this list stops and our next list (Best Beachside Places In Colombo) starts. We’re separating it because this is where you start sitting on the beach, not just looking at the ocean.
Beach Wadiya does really nice seafood in a simple but charming location. It’s also where the south begins and the sea begins to open up to lounging, swimming and actual beach.