This Little Gin Joint In Goa Pays Homage To Street Bars Of The 60s - Homegrown

This Little Gin Joint In Goa Pays Homage To Street Bars Of The 60s

Before Goa was run over by its many clubs and mongo-tourist shacks the neighbourhood street bar was the place to be. Holes in the wall where patrons sprawled out into the street, a scene far more reminiscent of Cuba than what us younger people associate with Goa’s bygone booze scene. Local watering holes are still smattered across Goa, however, the majority of them are far past their prime, harbouring only a few rum-breathed regulars slumped over a small table.

Photographed by Julian Manning
Photographed by Julian Manning

Nevertheless, a classic Portuguese-style, local bar has been restored in Old Goa, the new owner, Atish, returning the once popping Joseph’s Bar to its original grandeur. As one walks down Gomes Pereira Road, a small lane located in Old Goa (Fontainhas), past six in the evening, an array of colourful bulbs beckon the thirsty. Small stools rest under the pastiche canopy of colourful lights, and the entrance opens up to a tiny interior. The small space is packed with a complete bar, on-tap craft beer made in Goa, and two waiters so popular that one, Gundu, even has a facebook fan page. Beware, Gundu may look old, but that bright soul is a descendent of Mr. Casanova himself.

Photographed by Julian Manning
Photographed by Julian Manning

The bar counter is crowded with an assortment of quintessential Goan Bar food items, like, prawn rissois, which is pretty much a prawn empanada. This authentic feel is not just an empty facade, the clientele are for the most part Goan, and from the patrons I’ve spoken too, Joseph’s is considered a home away from home. There really isn’t anything not to love. Upon entering I grabbed myself a local, Goan IPA for INR 150, a great price for good craft beer. And once I got a firm grip on a stiff drink I ambled outside, enjoying the company of the bar’s surprisingly large Tuesday evening crowd.

The bar is only open until midnight, but this makes the joint a perfect pre-game spot. Have a couple great drinks for a good price before you go out and forget what you did Friday night.

P.S.-The owner Atish just opened a little taqueria next door. Hats off to the man behind the scene! To give the little Gomes Pereira Road both a badass bar and a great taco joint in the same year is seriously impressive.

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