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Capital Secrets: Colombo Watering Holes

September 9, 2016 by Khiri Travel | Filed Under: ,

The whole point of secrets is to not divulge them. However, lets make an exception for these no frills watering holes in Sri Lanka’s capital city.


To start with, your clients might be wondering what we mean by “watering holes.” They are drinking establishments such as a dimly lit British pub that serves the commendable social purpose of giving hard working people the solace of a drink when needed. Colombo has a collection of these dive bars that are not elegant or fancy. Visitors will not find any hipsters or even music playing. Therein lies their beauty – these unglamorous taprooms are raw and pure, and their customers just want a Good. Stiff. Drink.


As far as what to order in one of these no frills bars, the answer is simple:  a cheap bottle of arrack that burns the throat like liquid fire. Luckily, after a few drinks, it becomes a bit more agreeable going down the hatch. Do as the locals and chase the coarseness of the arrack alcohol with a few Lion beers. Of course, after a few drinks, bar patrons might get the munchies, so the bartender will serve some kadele or spiced chickpeas. Other establishments may serve an array of deviled dishes that can range from chicken to dubious mystery meats. Go for it! After a few shots of arrack, your body will need some pub grub to neutralize the effects of the hard liquor.

Where can one find these dodgy bars? There are actually plenty of them around Colombo. Some are well known and have been around for decades while others are known only to the local neighborhood. However, since this article is about sharing secrets, we can’t leave your clients empty handed. Let us introduce the New Colonial Hotel. Located right across from the Fort Train Station in Colombo, it is almost impossible to miss. Inside this hotel building, which has seen better days, is one of the classic dive bars of Colombo.

For your clients who enjoy some good fun bar hopping, are players on the “B side,” or those seeking an adventurous night out in Colombo, please contact us. We have some suggestions on how to take on a full fledged bar crawl. It will be an experience to remember once the hangover wears off! For more information, please contact at [email protected]

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