Bangalore | India
So you've been sent to Bangalore on a work trip. The self-coined "Silicon Valley of India". Mercedes, IBM, United Technologies, Paypal, Capitol One, Centurylink. Loads of large corporations have outposts here. The air may suffocate you, the work may stress you, and the state of things may overwhelm you, but we've curated a guide based off of 14 corporate trips to the area to help you get acquainted with, and ready to enjoy, this crazy place.
Where to Eat & Drink
BEER ME | Bangalore's craft brewing scene continues to expand, gaining the city a reputation as a beer destination. Here are the ones we frequent:
Windmills Craftworks | definitely a businessman affair (emphasis on the "man" here - less than 10% of the people there were women). However, a modern, classy place with decent tandoori and the best beers of the group. Also a jazz bar weekend evenings. Check their website for schedule.
Toit | "toit" means roof in French and they've based their entire design off the concept. A multi-level space with slightly inappropriate beer posters in the bathrooms and good pizzas in the dining area.
Arbor Brewing Company | college feel, started in Michigan. Indian outpost opened by a U of M grad.
The Biere Club | the grungy one of the group, but in a nice neighborhood with a wide range of beers.
RESTAURANTS | For when you need a break from the brewpub scene.
Tandoor | a must go for dinner. The dal and meats are on point, although it's hard to go wrong here. Located on MG road, a popular tourist destination in its own right for its shops and "pubs".
Shiro | the place to see and be seen for brunch on Sundays. If you really want to fit in, bring a pair of shades (Ray-Bans are the preferred brand) - the bros that frequent Shiro wear their sunglasses at all times, including indoors. If you have a hot date, bring them up to Skyye Lounge after, which is couples only on Sundays.
Olive Beach | mediterranean style fare in a beautiful white washed patio setting.
Fatty Bao | modern rooftop bar with fresh cocktails. Sushi and other Asian fare.
The Open Box | hip new restaurant making a statement with their IV cocktails.
What to Do
National Gallery of Modern Art | hands down my favorite part about Bangalore. A unique and decidedly Indian collection housed in the gorgeous colonial style Manikyavelu Mansion. You will pay extra as a foreigner and it is still worth every rupee.
Cubbon Park | historically Bangalore has been known as the "Garden City". You'll still find numerous parks (but don't go at night).
Bangalore Palace | because your trip to India wouldn't be complete without visiting a palace. Pay the extra money to take your camera and listen to the audio guide.
Where to Shop
Good Earth | stylish, high quality Indian-made wares. Focused on building sustainable communities (both environmentally and economically) so you can feel good about what you purchase.
Ritu Kumar | pick up a few pieces from the Label Ritu Kumar line, the brands younger, modern line. It still has a distinct Indian style, but it's fresh enough that you'll wear when you get home too.
UB City | you'll mostly find the same luxury stores here that you will in other places of the world, however, this is a hub for concerts, art exhibits and restaurants, so it's not a bad place to add to your list.
Handicrafts | your driver will know someone or someplace to take you where you can pick up a variety of handmade Indian crafts to bring home with you (they get a kickback). Rugs, wooden chess boards, textiles, jewelry, sculptures, hand-carved stone. The variety and quality may vary slightly, but is generally the same store to store. Keep in mind a chessboard with a price tag of 15,000 rupees can be negotiated down to 4,500 rupees, so put your bargaining pants on. And, if you know you are returning for work, we recommend frequenting the same handicraft store to negotiate lower rates in return for being a loyal customer.
How to Get Around
We generally take the hotel hired cars even though they are the most expensive option because they speak English, and are safe and reliable. OLA and Uber are gaining popularity and cheaper than even a rickshaw sometimes. However, beware the cheaper routes for transportation usually mean your driver cannot speak English and therefore may have no idea where you need to go and you might end up on the side of the road, lost. It's the worst situation in the world because there's plenty of people to ask for directions, aka the "Google of India".
JUST SO YOU KNOW | Bangalore is known for it's horrible traffic and at the worst of times it can take 3 hours to travel 3km by car.
What to Read While You're There
by Katherine Boo | the true stories of the lives of the people in a Mumbai slum told like a fictional narrative; engaging and moving, the book forces you to empathize with the millions of poor in India.
by Aravind Adiga | a raw novel about an Indian hustler making his way from the lower ranks of society to a position of power, no matter the cost.