Charming and modern bars continue to dazzle Goa. But the hottest newcomer, The Barfly, is different. Partly because it’s housed inside a beautifully restored 160-year-old Goan Portuguese bungalow. A leaf-imprinted pathway lit with softly glowing candles leads to an alfresco dining area lined with community tables, loungers, and a thriving bar. Barfly is made up of several interconnected rooms with their own themes. So there’s a grazing room decked up with glistening chandeliers, a romantic candle lit room, a wine and cigar room, and a PDR draped with a glass roof. The showstopper however is the agave bar–the first of its kind in Goa.
Shweta Kaushik, founder and creative director of interior design firm SKID who gave the bungalow a makeover, has retained the old-world charm of the property while sprucing it up for a modern-day hangout. With its capacious courtyards, high ceiling, and vintage shell windows, The Barfly is breathtakingly vast, mystically intimate, and determinedly old fashioned.
What to expect
After the roaring success of Titlie, Barfly is Tarun Sibal’s latest venture with Karrtik Dhingra, Bipin Sibal, and Shyaam Khurana. This team knows the pulse of Goa and Barfly cements that. The house is bustling with music, laughs, and levity. “When we felt ready to have another outpost in Goa post Titlie, we were sure that we wanted something distinct. We wanted the two products to be different while coming from the same family. We wanted our guests to experience two different storyboards. It had to be more premium, content led, relaxed and timeless. The 160-year-old Portuguese house is how it started. We knew we can tell the Barfly story at this location as we needed that sheer size and the serenity to create what we wanted. Two bars, the indoors, the outdoors, the space needed for services—to pull off what we wanted to do cuisine wise, we needed space and character,” explains Sibal.
The menu put together by chefs Tarun Sibal and Viraf Patel is all about shareable, small plates that pack rigour, mischief, and joyfulness into every bite. The most memorable are the sourdoughs that come ignited with all kinds of deliciousness from green kimchi to mushrooms and guava compote. Then there are salads made more tantalising with basil sorbet, hummus with French onion glaze, and brilliantly blistered pizzas with fresh figs. That lack of rigorous authenticity has a thrill all of its own. Leave plenty of room for mains too as the open lasagne with cranberry chutney is deeply enjoyable. The most decadent way to finish a meal at Barfly is to simply surrender to the sculptural, immaculately built French Toast topped with grilled peaches, cream, and orange honey.
All about the drinks
The Barfly has two bars–one dedicated to cocktails crafted from agave-based spirits such as mezcal and tequila, and the other for classic cocktails with a modern spin. Interestingly, after experimenting with high-end gins, several single malt drinkers have now veered to ultra-premium tequila and mezcal. Globally the tequila market has increased by a whopping 22% and is poised to take over vodka as the bestselling liquor! And perhaps this is what makes the agave bar at The Barfly so enticing.
One of the most popular agave-based cocktail at The Barfly is the Arabica which marries tequila with Kahlua. Whisky worshipers will resonate with the El Gusano, a bourbon-based cocktail with mezcal and a hint of soy for a unique twist. My personal favourite is the Caprese which combines the spicy notes of tequila with the savoury intensity of basil and cherry tomatoes. It’s a light hearted construction ideal for the hot Goa weather. The other bar–Tales From the Villa—does classic cocktails with a modern twist (think mojito with coconut water, clarified pina colada with coconut milk, and a negroni with melon soaked Campari!). The newest addition to The Barfly is its Sunday Graze where the star is a community table heaving with dips, cheeses, salads, fruits, cold cuts, and seafood. Guests can start with the grazing table and move to the bottomless brunch with wines and live music for company. The Barfly is a sophisticated, scintillating shot in the arm for Goa’s vibrant F&B scene.
Address: Anjuna Mapusa road, Saunto Vaddo, Assagao, North Goa.
Time: 1pm until midnight, closed on Tuesdays
To book a table: Call 9209196700
Price for two: Approx Rs 3000 with alcohol. The Sunday Graze is priced at Rs 2000 plus taxes without wine; Rs 2500 plus taxes with bottomless wine.