Basic mixed drinks and loud karaoke at this casual HKV bar ♦

Nox, a long, sitting-room style bar thrust up the backside of Hauz Khas Village, is a likeable enough place, even if it does fall victim to the all-encompassing tendencies of most of the city’s drinking holes. This one literally aspires to a drinking hole aesthetic, with its wooden tribesmen and animal statues, bamboo fronds in pots and rustic wickerwork furniture. It also aspires to pure pop (solid-colour walls, retro movie posters), rock (the predictable, circa 2002, playlist) and a trip ’round the world (the itinerant menu covers everything from lobster thermidor to tandoori chicken momos).

All of this is par for the nightlife course. Unfortunately, the Saturday we visited happened to be karaoke night – always avoidable unless you’re the one singing. A couple of scraggly bearded dudes sucking on a couple of mikes were putting the Nox in obnoxious – belting Jay Sean and Linkin Park while their female friends tried valiantly to match volume. We had to write our order on a napkin in order to communicate with the rather embarrassed waiter.

The drinks menu is a basic list for now, with no cocktails. We were denied a request to spike mocktails (like “classic mojito”) – or perhaps our query was misunderstood. We wisely retired to the one outdoor table with our whiskey sodas (Teacher’s, R330; prices include taxes) and rum cokes (Bacardi, R200). We’d have liked a G & T to ward off the Hauz’s squadron of mosquitoes, but there was no tonic to be had, only soda.

Late happy hours for karaoke night are a plus, and the evening picked up significantly with a pizza Nox veg (R320). The thin crust pie was covered with caramelised onions and olives, spinach, corn and zucchini. The menu may be ambitious and speckled with oddities (“soothed mushroom” and “spared mushroom moo in wine”), but you might not go too wrong with dinner, drinks and hookah here. Just nix the drunken accompaniment.

Originally published in Time Out Delhi, June 2012.