Being a Britisher in Mumbai leads many of the locals to talk to us about football. Well, the talk to my husband – most people know better than to talk to me about football, even when they have just met me. The excitement builds when they find out we live near Manchester (about 1 hour drive away) – Manchester United.
What is it with the Mumbaikers obsession with Manchester United? I can safely say it is a bigger thing here in Mumbai than in Manchester itself. Well maybe not, the football team is probably bigger in Manchester but the brand is massive here. Just among my close friends they have Man Utd mugs, tshirts, bags, necklace, keychain, clock, shorts… I could go on. I was not surprised that, when wandering round our local mall, Infintiy, we saw the Manchester United Café bar. Yes we had come all the way to Mumbai to immerse ourselves in Indian culture but one meal at the ManU bar couldn’t hurt.
The bar is dark and large and the music is loud, so if those are the kind of things you like then this is the atmosphere for you. The bar is, unsurprisingly, decorated in black and red. The great and the good of Manchester United past and present are looking down on you from around the room, and the squad (from a few years ago) are looking up at you from the food matt. The place is covered with interesting Manchester United factoids and you even get a little ManU devil (their mascot for those not in the know) shaped mixer in your cocktail. Some of the seating is in booths, some normal tables and lost bar stools near the bar/DJ so there is the option to be tucked away quietly or mix with people.
They serve a variety of food and drinks, mostly western style. Parts of the menu are rather charmingly named in a football theme; sizzling penalty shooters, tandoori tackles – this bar knows its Manchester United loving audience. We had the burgers and they were really good – tasted just like you would get in the UK except for the very non-bacon looking bacon! They serve a nice range of food that you might not find in other bars and great selection of cocktails. The alcohol is a little on the expensive side but getting drinks buy one get one free during happy hour (4-8pm Mon – Friday) makes it affordable.
There are lots of TV screens playing sports, usually cricket when the football is not on. There is one huge projector screen that covers half of one wall. I can imagine this place would be amazing when a Man united game is on. The perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in all things Manchester United with your mates, I bet the atmosphere is great. And if you have had enough of watching the football you can create your own match playing table football.
Where will this Manchester United craze end? I noticed an elderly lady walking down the road with a Manchester United bag the other day. We’d probably assume right that it was a grandson/daughters but what if it was her own? I wonder if this attempt at global domination will ever stop. Will they soon branch out into ManU scooters, ManU themed flats? Probably not, and in the meanwhile we can enjoy ourselves in our very own local Manchester United Café Bar.
There are four Manchester United Café Bars in Mumbai:
Mulind: Level 2, Nirmal Lifestyle Mall, L. B. S. Marg, Opp. Nirmal Nagar , Mulund West, Mumbai. Call: 02265888077
Ghatkopar: Ground Floor, R City Mall, Ghatkopar West, Mumbai. Call: 02266429850