To most people from outside the country, India seems to be a place where homosexual relationships are frowned upon and the LGBTQIA+ community is not as visible and vocal as it could be. However, things have changed drastically in the past few years. We have seen campaigns like #StrongestTogether, groups like the Gaysi Family, Delhi Queer Pride and homegrown networking initiatives like The Nazariya Foundation survive and thrive amongst the hate. Inclusive places have popped up all across the capital, giving us enough reason and hope to celebrate with gusto this pride month.
The following places wear their rainbows with pride and welcome all with nothing but love. Head on over for an amazing time!
Although PDA stands for PCO-Diva Agenzia, the name is an apt indication of inclusivity or dare I say- ‘Public Display of Acceptance’. Everything from the rainbow flag at the entrance to the famous artwork on the wall celebrating androgyny makes you feel welcome. The staff is one of the most courteous and efficient service staff in all of Delhi and the food is just as good.
PDA is an Italian cocktail bar, naturally, the mixologists know how to serve up a storm and my personal favorite is the Negroni. Chef Ritu Dalmia is famed for cooking with her heart and it shows in her plates, I never go back without having my share of the crispy calamari. On many an occasion, if a rendezvous at PDA is pre-planned, I skip lunch so I can eat the Funghi Pizza to my heart’s content.
The classy decor and the impeccable service make it the perfect place for a casual dinner date with your beau.
We Spent: INR 3000 for two
The beer starts at INR 200
2. Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters
If you and your partner bond over Coffee, you need to be on your way to the nearest Blue Tokai Cafe in Delhi. Whats more is that the Coffee Roasters have recently signed an Equality Pledge with Delta app. The Delta App is India’s first Homegrown networking app for the LGBTQIA+ community, signing an equality pledge with them is announcing yourself as an inclusive all welcoming space.
As if that wasn’t good enough, Blue Tokai offers the most amazing coffee experience from all over the country. They host brewing classes, bakery pop-ups and serve amazing offerings like the nitro coffee which is a personal favorite.
To summarise, it is the perfect place to make your daily haunt and meet the gang over a tall glass of cold brew.
We spent: INR 800 for two
3. The Piano Man Jazz Club
The moment you step into the gates of The Piano Man Jazz Club, a certain abandon takes over you. The music, the old-timey decor, the authentic black napkins and the iconic trumpet chandelier, it is a world of beauty stirred with a pinch of chaos. They too have recently signed the equality pledge with Delta App. But long before that, TPM has hosted couples from the LGBTQIA+ community. I remember how a LesBian couple that got engaged there received champagne, pizzas and a huge discount like any other couple celebrating their relationship would’ve gotten. In short, you can expect to be treated equally, treated well and to leave with a smile.
My favorite drinks here are the Old Fashioned and the Whiskey Sour. The pizzas are crisp and delightful and please don’t miss the chicken wings. They keep their website updated with upcoming artists and events. Be sure to make a reservation because the place is booked throughout the week and for good reason.
The cozy place is best suited for those who love really good music. The artists and performances here will surely blow your mind. One of my favorite features is the ‘silent song’ where the patrons are asked to put their phones on silence and cease conversation for one song so you really experience the music in its entirety.
We Spent: INR 2,200 for two
4. Anti Social
One of Delhi’s most disruptive venues in Delhi, Anti Social is a sister of ‘Social Offline’. While the later is a co-working space cum cafe by day and a lounge and party hub by night, the former is a venue for music, poetry readings, LGBTQIA+ meets, comedy events and queer parties. Recently, they hosted a talk with Gagan Goyal on androgyny and exploring your gender.
The food and drinks are outstanding, the Long Island Iced Tea is a must try. Each outlet makes its own statement with the decor and gives you a peep into old Indian schools, Dhabas, libraries etc. Anti Social is a great place to discover upcoming artists and meet like-minded people.
We Spent: INR 1800 for two
5. The Lalit
The Lalit is one of India’s most affluent hospitality brands and has its branches all over the world. It is also a hub for inclusive events and is one of the most LGBTQIA+ friendly organizations in the country. Their nightclub, Kitty Su hosts a throng of events centered around the community and has hosted visitors like Violet Chachki of the RuPaul’s drag race fame. A brainchild of LGBTQIA+ activist Keshav Suri (Executive Director, The Lalit Group) himself, the club also has regular performances by Indian Drag Artists like Betta Naan Stop and Tropical Marca. Although, since it is a five-star affair, you might want to pre-game a little before heading there.
It is hands down, Delhi’s most popular and happening club and is perfect for mad parties with the group.
We Spent: INR 6000 for two people
The beer starts at INR 600
Well, this is my top four favorite places to hang out at and meet my friends, places where I don’t see any bias, only love, art and amazing food. I’ve tried to include at least one place for every kind of plan you might need to make. This list covers everything from party places to date night options to lounges, workspaces and your daily coffee fixes. Do let me know what are your favorite places in Delhi. And if you’re new here, do give these a try.
May your stay be merry and filled with great adventures.