Pune’s First Tequila Bar Is Here To Ensure You Have A Good Time

A growing love for agave spirits, old school hospitality and stylised Mexican plates make Juju a must-visit.

Published On Dec 13, 2023 | Updated On Mar 05, 2024


It’s not everyday that you die and go to heaven, and then live to tell the tale. Reaching Juju Bar in Pune’s Kalyani Nagar was exactly that experience. The bar had immersed itself in Dia de Muertos (Day of The Dead) festivities and the Coco movie lover in me could not be more excited. 

While the décor was only meant to celebrate the popular Mexican tradition of honouring the dead, what I was truly interested in was the cocktail program and food menu that would indicate whether Juju has the right vibe to pull in the crowds.

Juju Bar is positioned as a cocktail-forward space with more than 25 labels of premium tequila and mezcal on offer apart from other spirits. It’s cocktails herald the significant change that has come about in the market where agave spirits are having a moment. 

Gone are the fruity, sugary Tequila Sunrises and Margaritas in favour of cocktails that now have ingredients such as pickled gherkins, ancho pepper liqueur, and spicy mole sauce among others. The trouble with using these though, is that they must not only balance the cocktails they’re used in but also find favour with the Indian palate—a tricky taste test that Juju passes with mostly positive results. 

However, some cocktails just don’t work. The Mole with spicy mole sauce is so fiery on the tongue that you would be hard-pressed to feel anything else on your palate. Dead Man’s Switch, with tequila, almond orgeat, Campari and lime felt unbalanced with different flavours pulling in different directions instead of coming together coherently.


When something works, you usually will call for seconds. The Paloma 4.0 with tequila, watermelon and grapefruit cordial is an easy, refreshing drink that can be had at any time of the day or night. The Old George Sour is an elevated sour cocktail with a dash of absinthe for good measure, while the Pickled Sour with gherkins took me a couple of sips before I could enjoy its delicious complexity. 

If you like theatre, Juju Bar serves Pina, a rum cocktail that changes colour with ancho pepper liqueur. The bar also has a Slush of the Day that comes with tequila and fresh fruit, lime and liqueur—an unexpected but charming twist to childhood memories of having slush. All in all, the cocktail program passes with vigour but falls just short of getting top grades. 

Juju Bar’s food menu is curated by chef Hanoze Shroff who earlier worked with Passcode Hospitality brands such as Ping’s and Jamun. Under his watchful eye, a simple dish such as Freshly Cut Watermelon had me reaching out for seconds thanks to the addition of tajin, lime and juju spice that made the fruit burst with flavours.


The Lemon Pepper Garlic Prawns was a hot favourite with its perfect lime to prawn ratio while the tacos hit the mark as well. My favourite was the Lamb Birria with melt-in-the-mouth lamb and Oaxaca cheese followed by the Chicken Al Pastor that came with Chipotle adobo cream, sour cream and pico de gallo. 


The Classic Guacamole and the Corn Ribs were great small plates too. The food at Juju Bar uses fresh ingredients and the flavours are proof. Indeed, there’s not much to fault when it comes to Juju Bar’s food menu. 

There was no need to worry about hospitality as the bar is run by the same group as Elephant & Co and Cobbler & Crew, both of which are institutions in their own right in Pune now. If the former showed Punekars what a casual bar with high energy could look like, the latter put Pune on the world map earlier this year when Cobbler & Crew’s Aashie Bhatnagar became the first Indian bartender to reach the Top 12 at Diageo World Class held in Sao Paulo, Brazil. 

All of this meant there were significant expectations from Juju already. The overall vibe of the place, attention to detail, colourful interiors complemented by ingenious cocktails and a smashing food menu makes Juju Bar a must-visit on your next Pune visit. 

Address: Kalyani Nagar, Pune

Meal for two: INR 2,500 (approximately)

Photo: Featured brand