High On Rhythm: Crowd-Favourite Music Cafés In Northeast India
- Reema Gowalla
Updated : March 29, 2022 11:03 IST
Five music cafés that have earned a reputation for their music, ambience and yummy eats
If you too are among those who haven’t seen the northeastern part of the country beyond the ‘blue hills and green valleys’, we suggest you plan a trip to the region this summer. Dotted with countless unique cultures, dialects and culinary gems, the eight states of Northeast India - Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura - have something distinctive to offer at every turn. What stands out even more though is the region’s love for music. From church choirs, indie bands to aspiring singer-songwriters, beats and rhythms are inseparable from the people here. As much as they take pride in local artists, indigenous instruments and notes, youngsters and old-timers love to celebrate global legends like Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix.
Nurturing this fondness for chords and food are a bunch of music cafés that are more than a place to hang out with friends and family. Abuzz with gigs, discussions and a delectable assortment of food and beverages, these little hubs are providing a platform for local artists to pursue their goal and dream on! Let’s take a tour…
Café Hendrix, Guwahati
If you live in Guwahati and are a music aficionado, it’s unlikely that you are not a frequent visitor at Café Hendrix, located in the city’s Six Mile area. A favourite among people from all age groups and walks of life, it is touted as the first-of-its-kind ‘Lives Blues’ café in Guwahati. This laid-back place is named after legendary musician Jimi Hendrix, and is known for good food and music. It was started by Syed Arzoo Ahmed in 2007. Live performances featuring local, independent musicians and bands are a regular feature at the venue, while you’ll also love the ambience and décor. The café offers a delicious platter of food, with Chicken Fingers, Smoked Pork, Dragon/Garlic Mushroom and an assortment of alcoholic beverages being its top picks.
Google rating: 4.2 stars
Dylan’s Café, Shillong
Nestled at Police Bazar, one of Shillong’s most popular spots, you’ll feel the vibe of music at Café Dylan right from the stairway to the walls and the ceilings. Dotted with posters of the legendary Bob Dylan and vinyl records, the venue - set up in 2016 - hosts live music performances as well as poetry readings. They offer a delectable array of special omelettes for breakfast that includes farm egg, bacon and cheese, mushroom and cheese, masala, cheese and skinny. Their Peri Peri Chicken Steak is also quite popular, so is the Chocolate Molten Cake. Other favourites at the café include Veg Quirky Quesadilla, Herbed Potato Wedges and Veg Momo Graphy.
Google rating: 4 stars
Facebook/WoknRoll Music Café
WoknRoll Music Cafe, Dimapur
Founded by Amos Kithan to help promote struggling musicians and other artists in Nagaland, Woknroll Music Café has earned a reputation amid independent performers in the region. Located at the DC Court Junction in Dimapur, specials on their menu include Red star Burst, American Chopsuey, Chicken Liver Fry, Chicken/Macaroni/Waldorf Salad.
Rating: 4 stars
Swish Café, Shillong
Established way back in 2003 by Mary Tariang at Laitumkhrah in Shillong, Swish Café is regarded as the first café Meghalaya. Seasoned and aspiring musicians often perform at this place, while there are also theatre and other art events regularly featuring on their calendar. Did you know, this place is also credited to introduce coffee culture to the ‘Rock Capital of India’? Popular items on the menu are Pork Fried Rice, Roast Pork Ribs, Fish Fillet, Chicken Wings, Mac ‘N Cheese and coffee, of course.
Google rating: 3.8 stars
Greens The Coffee Shop, Imphal
From gigs to poetry evenings and more, Greens The Coffee Shop located at Langthabal Kunja Bazar in Imphal is ‘a fun, little coffee shop with a local touch’ that offers coffee, music and environment to its guests. The café’s bakery items are to die for, especially puffs, doughnuts and pastries, while the coffee at this place has a huge fan following. Locals and those visiting town are often spotted hanging out at the venue enjoying the mini musical shows.
Google rating: 4.1 stars