Colombo: air thick with vehicle exhaust, sirens, human chatter; streets packed with office-goers, school children, vendors with their little roadside shops, traffic police signaling, ushering, making way. People trying to get through their morning chores. All beautiful chaos. Time passes: seconds become minutes, minutes become hours. Night has arrived. The bright day has transformed into a luminous, incandescent night.
Immediately South of Fort is Galle Face Green, a long stretch of lawn facing the sea, originally cleared by the Dutch to give their artillery a clear line of fire.
What to expect at Galle Face Green
Now there are several places one can visit in and around Galle Face if one is looking for a fun night. If you decide to have a stroll in the Galle face Green be warned, on weekends it gets quite crowded. If you are willing to overlook an infestation of picnickers, revelers, and a saturated parking lot, you are in for quite a few delectable treats. Apart from the few ice cream vendors and the odd cotton candy man, you may want to try the isso wade, a popular local snack (guaranteed to eat your way through 10 of those before you realize you can have no more). When you are full bellied and amply watered (try some king coconut water) you are expected to board the jetty-like extension running from the land and about 200 m into the sea, to enjoy the sea breeze. It may even aid the digestion.
Date night: where to go?
If one is not an out-door fan or if one thinks of evading the weekend bustle of Galle Face Green, don’t be discouraged. There are plenty of more places to visit. Do you want to dine? If you are not looking for the much sought after/familiar comfort of a luxury hotel (handful of those mind you), you might want to check out a restaurant/pub called Light House Galley. It’s just opposite Galle Face Light House. Menu will contain both local and foreign dishes and you can eat your fill for an affordable price. Inn….on the Green at Galle Face Hotel offers a good dining experience too, spiced with hearty music. As does Cheers pub at Cinnamon Grand Hotel. Sample one of their cocktails and have a bite of the calamari salad. You’ll fall in love with the place instantly. If that doesn’t satiate your fine dining appetite, make a short trip to Dutch Hospital and through the entrance to the courtyard. To your left you’ll see the Ministry of Crab. Best crab in town! Sea food lovers might also want to visit the Sea Spray Restaurant at Galle Face Hotel. It boasts one of the most extensive sea food menus Colombo has to offer.
Bit of junk food is what I need
Not into restaurant-fine dining experience? Want to have a taste of roadside dining experience? I’ve got just the right burger joint for you: Burger’s king (not to be confused with Burger King Franchise); No.1, Vellons Passage, Colombo. You may want to check out their website. They offer more than 20 types of burgers only!
Drink your fill
If a quiet drink with your buddies is what you are looking for, Light House Galley pub comes recommended. Apart from that there are several pubs at the recently remodeled Dutch Hospital (Among them Tap House is most frequented). If you are not into the pastiche of TGI Friday’s (right next to the Dutch Hospital) or Margarita Blue (at Galadari Hotel), then try the rooftop restaurant/pub at Colombo City Hotel (next to TGI) which is much sought after by both foreigners and locals alike. A good view of the electricity-lit psychedelic city below comes without charge.
Let’s go clubbing
The nightclub experience is also part of the package. Most of the sea side hotels accommodate nightclubs (like Amuseum in Taj Samudra). You might want to take a walk down the Sir Mohomad Macan Makar road, adjoining Taj Samudra. The straight road is a dead-end which will bring you to Studio 4: cacophony of sound and color…..the alcohol is sizzling down nozzles, down beakers, down glasses, down throats. The music is loud and encouraging. The one thing that perhaps may put one off would be the considerably priced entrance ticket. Hilton Colombo’s The Blue Elephant is also a club worth checking out. It often features foreign DJs. Ladies walk-in free policy and not too expensive entrance fee are attractions. This may explain the substantial crowd during weekends. One can party late into the morning.
Looking for more?
What else is there to do? Well, people too can be a roadside attraction. Multi ethnic, multi cultural. Who knows?…. if you stop and talk to them, they might do more than exchange a friendly smile with you. Keep driving towards Kollupitiya junction, take a left and one should come across Liberty Cinema. Go in if you are in the mood for it. A night time movie with your loved ones and a several bags of popcorn may well be a pleasant way to spend your evening.
All in all Colombo City has a lot to offer as night is nigh. One can but barely scratch the surfaces in one go. It may not offer contentment spiritually. It may not ensure mental peace, not to everybody at least. Nevertheless, gastronomically and entertainment-wise it is bound to provide utmost satisfaction.