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Leopold Cafe

Coordinates: 18°55′22″N 72°49′54″E / 18.9227°N 72.8316°E / 18.9227; 72.8316
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Leopold Cafe
Leopold Cafe pictured in 2007
Restaurant information
Established1871; 153 years ago (1871)
Owner(s)Farzad Jehani, Deenyar Jehani
Food typemulti-cuisine
Coordinates18°55′22″N 72°49′54″E / 18.9227°N 72.8316°E / 18.9227; 72.8316
Other informationOpen Daily 7:30am-12am[1]
Interior, September 2007

The Leopold Cafe and Bar is a restaurant and bar[2] on Colaba Causeway, in Colaba area of Mumbai, India, located across from the Colaba Police station.[3][4] It was one of the first sites attacked in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.[5]



The Leopold Cafe was founded in 1871 by Iranis (a term used for Zoroastrians in Mumbai who arrived in India in the 19th century, as opposed to "Parsis") and named after King Leopold of the Belgians. These Zoroastrian Iranians came to India in the late 19th and early 20th century, and many of them opened restaurants now often termed Irani cafés.[6] It first started out as a wholesale cooking oil store and over the years has variously been a restaurant, store and pharmacy (hence the name "Leopold Cafe & Stores"[7]).[8]

Prior to the terrorist attack, the cafe was particularly known as a popular hangout for foreign tourists. After the attack, it is now also popular with many Indians to commemorate the spirit of defiance. The Leopold Cafe has preserved some of the signs of the attack as a memorial, whereas at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and the Trident Hotel, the damage from the attacks has been repaired.[9]

The cafe uses an Achaemenid Persian Lion Rhyton as a part of its logo to indicate its Zoroastrian affiliation.

The cafe is one of a couple of Irani cafes that are still doing good business, while many others are fading away.[10]

2008 Mumbai attacks


The cafe was an early site of gunfire and grenade explosions during the 2008 Mumbai attacks by terrorists on 26 November, at about 9:30 PM. The terrorists, approximately an hour after landing, fired shots into the restaurant from outside, killing 10 people and injuring many others. The restaurant was extensively damaged during the attacks.[11] Sourav Mishra, a Reuters reporter and one of the first media witnesses of the attack, suffered severe bullet injuries.[12][13] After spending one and a half minutes at the Leopold Cafe, the terrorists walked over to the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, the main target.

The cafe defiantly reopened four days after the attack,[14][15] but was reclosed on the recommendation of the police as a safety measure after two hours, due to the unexpectedly large size of crowds gathering there.[16]


The cafe was also mentioned extensively in the novel Shantaram and its sequel The Mountain Shadow.[17] Shantaram is about an Australian bank robber and heroin addict who escapes from jail and flees to Bombay, as Mumbai was formerly called. Of all the very typical "Bombay" things and places mentioned in the book is the Leopold Café. The novel was the reason many patrons returned after the attack.[18]

See also



  1. ^ About Us Archived 29 September 2018 at the Wayback Machine, Leopold Cafe. Retrieved on 2018-12-21.
  2. ^ Boozy and Raucous, a Cafe Defies Terror, THOMAS FULLER, New York Times, DEC. 14, 2008
  3. ^ Mehta, Shrilanka (24 December 2004). "Mumbai's Culture Square – For the Foodie". Business Line. Archived from the original on 2 December 2008. Retrieved 7 December 2008.
  4. ^ "Map of Colaba Causeway, Apollo Bandar with Leopold Cafe".
  5. ^ "A look at the main places targeted in Mumbai".[dead link]
  6. ^ India's Iranian cafes fading out, Jayshree Bajoria, BBC News, 27 April, 2005
  7. ^ Yash Raj Films' asks hotels like Four Seasons, JW Marriott to pay for its music By Maulik Vyas, The Economic Times, Sep 18, 2014
  8. ^ "Cafe confidential". The Australian. 5 July 2008. Archived from the original on 12 September 2012.
  9. ^ Leopold remembers scars of 26/11 attack, Anahita Mukherji, TNN, Nov 25, 2010
  10. ^ Mumbai's Parsi cafe culture, Rosie Birkett, The Guardian, Friday 10 May 2013
  11. ^ Ramesh, Randeep (27 November 2008). "Terrorists run amok in Mumbai". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 28 November 2008.
  12. ^ "Multiple attacks in Mumbai leave at least 78 dead". PBS. 27 November 2008. Archived from the original on 26 March 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2008.
  13. ^ Kasab's attack on Cafe Leopold, "Attack of 26/11", Eros Now, Apr 7, 2013
  14. ^ Mumbai Terror Attack Leopold's Cafe reopens after four days - Skynews Report, Dec 1, 2008
  15. ^ Blakely, Rhys and Jeremy Pag (1 December 2008). "Defiant Leopold café shows that Mumbai is not afraid". The Times. London. Retrieved 30 November 2008.
  16. ^ Siddharth Philip (1 December 2008). "Cafe in India reopens; Taj hotel vows to 'rebuild every inch'". USA Today. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  17. ^ "A week later, Patrons back to Mumbai's Leopold Cafe". Archived from the original on 21 February 2012.
  18. ^ Tourists back at Leopold with Shantaram, Azera Rahman, IANS, Mumbai, Dec 11, 2008