Though Mumbai thrives during the daytime, evenings take a much more sedate turn and the most popular evening activity in Mumbai by far is strolling on the beachfront promenades and taking in the markets and outdoor activities there. Families enjoy an occasional night at a local restaurant or an evening cricket match.
Plenty of bars and nightclubs rock during weekend nights but anything more than beers at the pub during the week is pretty much unheard of in Mumbai. As a general rule, once the night markets and street stalls wind down and pack away, nearby bars wrap up soon after, and the streets empty out.
Visiting Mumbai without taking in at least one Hindi film at a local cinema is like visiting Sydney without looking at the harbour. Mumbai is movie-mad and some of the theaters here are beautifully decorated.
Easily one of Asia's great sights, the night-time promenade along Chowpatty Beach is an unforgettable Mumbai sight. The lights of Marine Drive backdrop a scene that is frenetic and peaceful all at once tens of thousands of locals and foreigners getting fresh air and a sea breeze while hawkers and vendors sell everything from kites to hamburgers.
The gorgeous Art Deco Regent theater is one of Mumbai's architectural highlights and it shows a range of local and foreign films. Located in the Colaba tourist hub, it draws a wide range of movie-goers and Titanic still holds the venue's box office record. Elsewhere, Bollywood epics replete with endless musical numbers play at thousands of cinemas just look for the football pitch sized billboards.
Café Mondegar is an exemplary Mumbai café/bar with murals on the walls, a jukebox and a mix of backpackers and local movers-and-shakers. The legendary Leopold's café spills onto the Colaba streets seven nights a week and on weekends Voodoo hosts Mumbai's and one of India's only gay nights.
The markets around the Fort area and Colaba thrive once the sun goes down and the heat subsides by a degree or two. The sheer amounts of shoppers can be daunting but once you get used to the crowds, the atmosphere as well as the bargains should draw you back for at least a second night.
Shun the heat and dust and spend a cooling night underneath the slowly-turning wicker ceiling fans of any of Mumbai's ritzy five-star hotel bars. The Taj Mahal hotel bar is particularly good, but any of the places on Marine Drive offer very beautiful and quite peaceful evening retreats.