Chai Stalls or Tea Rooms are one of the best places to discover the culture, lifestyle and the heart-beat of the common man and the city. With a regular set of patrons of all ages who frequent these chai shops at-least once a day, they turn out to be an amazing platform to strike a conversation (from tales of good old days of our garden city or pensioner’s paradise to the latest Steve Aoki ‘s Bangalore concert ) all with a healthy dose of chai.
The below list of places have been rated based on the overall experience and not just the taste of chai (although “taste” is the prime factor).
1) Charminar Tea Stall, MM Road, Frazer Town
An accidental discovery during a rainy day in the month of Ramzan , Charminar tea stall is the chai-wing of the Charminar Kabab Paradise on MM road, Frazer town. According to the chaiwalla – the chai section used be inside the restaurant but was shifted out (adjacent to the restaurant) to accommodate the ever-increasing patrons.
One has to stand and savor the tea (regular or sulaimani) – no place to sit and they open from 7am to 11pm.
- Regular Chai – I love this one (it’s the ideal mix of tea leaves + milk + sugar)- 7INR/chai
- Sulaimani Chai – works wonders on a cold day – 7INR/chai
Google Maps Link to Charminar Tea Stall, MM Road, Bangalore.
2) Disney Bakery, BTM Layout 2nd Stage (best tea in South Bangalore)
Honestly I never expected a regular bakery/condiment shop to churn out such fantastic tea – the sheer number of people who throng this place every evening made me to stop by and try their chai.
Although it started out as a condiment shop, this place has more or less turned into a chai/coffee shop offering about 6 to 7 varieties of tea such as Masala, Elachi, Ginger, Lemon etc and at least 4 varieties of coffee.
I highly recommend:
- Masala Chai & Ginger Chai – 14INR/glass of chai
- Lemon tea – 14INR/glass of chai
Although this post is about tea stalls – the Ginger Coffee they serve is an interesting beverage (A hard-core filter coffee fan should stay away from this).
One major deterrent is the insane amount of cigarette smoke that clouds this chai place
Google Maps Link to Disney Bakery, BTM Layout, Bangalore.
3) Savera Tea Centre – Shivajinagar (near Russell Market)
One of the oldest and most popular tea stalls of Bangalore, Savera Tea Centre has been serving chai, samosa and other condiments for over 30 years. Finding a place to sit inside between 3pm to 8pm is out of question – the best way is to be served outside.
They are open till 11:30pm on regular days and mostly till 1am during the Ramzan season. Their most popular offerings are:
- Bombay Special – chai with milk flavored with a hint of ginger – 7 INR/chai
- Sulaimani Chai – non-milk chai with lemon and pudina – 7INR/chai
- Onion Samosa – an ideal companion with chai – 8INR/samosa
Although the chai isn’t as great as it used to be – this is one brilliant place to get insights into how Shivajinagar thrives; Be prepared to listen on an array of topics – from prices of auto-rickshaw spares to the best kabab-joints in Bangalore to the best place to buy vegetables in Russell Market and yes, the latest in the city – Steve Aoki’s visit to Kadlekaye Parshe (the traditional Annual Peanut Festival/Fair held in Basavangudi , South Bangalore)
Google Maps Link to Savera Tea Center, Shivajinagar, Bangalore.
4) MNC (Mid Night Chaiwallas )
These guys deserve a spot for serving tea along with bun & omelet during the graveyard time (10pm to 5am) with a smile and somehow the tea tastes phenomenally well during the night.
2 thumbs up for these MNCs for braving the police harassment and the bitter cold.
The above places don’t accept cards, it’s unlikely to get a place to sit, you may be hounded by beggars’ atleast once during your tea – but nonetheless, you will walk out with the satisfaction of relishing some awesome chai along with the new skill of starting a good conversation with a random person.