Old Manali – Peace across the river!

Highlighting some of the best cafes in Old Manali that we explored during our stay.

Away from hustle-bustle of the city and tourists, Old Manali gives way to peace, good music, great food, comfort, and leisure. In short, zen mode – bliss!

​We stayed at Born Free Cafe, located at perfect location, 2 mins walk to riverside. Host, Chetan is cool and makes you feel at comfort. It felt like a home away from home with awesome pleasant live music in the evenings.  And nothing can beat the delicious food.

According to me, nothing can compare to the mountain food. I don’t know what makes the food so yum – freshness, ingredients, clean water, pollutants free air, chef, people, or simply the weather, ambience and beauty! But Old Manali is a foodie’s heaven. Capturing some of my experiences for good food.


Born Free Cafe | Co-working | Hostel    [MUST VISIT IF OPEN]

Good Stay, Great Food, and Awesome Host!

IMG_20170812_165840-COLLAGE.jpg​One of the best cafes in Old Manali for good food, soothing live music, and chilling. We used to enjoy the good food and beer during the day, laze around in the cafe reading our books. Come evening, and this place turns lively with such quality live music, and hipster crowd.

Food: Loved their recommended pasta, special coffee, and all super yum desserts
Ambience: Great wall art with cool board games

​​Host: Chetan Insta @bornfreecafes

Drifters’ Inn & Cafe    [MUST VISIT]

Best Food and Relaxed Floor Seating!940E2CB7-B58C-4F7B-BF0D-78DB1906D953-COLLAGE

Cafe for best food at the hill top. You would have to walk a bit and explore to find this cafe but it’s totally worth the wait and walk!

Comfortable seating – just relax and lie down on floor with cosy cushions.

​Food: Burger, Pasta, Pahadi Rajma Chawal, Brownie with ice cream – all irresistible.

Host – Afrah Insta @driftersinncafe @afrahfutun

​Cafe 1947    [MUST VISIT]​

Fine Dinning!

This is a bit high-class and classy cafe. Perfect for fine dinning or a date night. They are a bit restrictive with what you can or cannot do there (if you understand what I mean). They have a beautiful outdoor seating overlooking the river. It can get chilly in the night though.

Soft live music with good food.
Food: Loved nachos, pizza, and tiramisu
Tip: Not perfect for zen mode. Prior reservation highly recommended.

Chef/ Owner: Ankit Rune Sharma
Insta @cafe1947 @chef_sharma

YoloBackpackers Hostel

Reggae music and good open seating!IMG_20170814_162832.jpg

There is a band of reggae players, who keep moving around most of the cafes in Old Manali. Their performance at Yolo was the best of the lot. Hippie crowd live their day to the fullest here. Not ideal for families. Good outdoor seating for fine weather.

Perfect for Zen Mode and also a low-budget hostel for backpackers.

Insta @yolobackpackers

Cafe Evergreen

Budget friendly river view!06544E55-EBAC-446B-974D-1124837D1DE7-COLLAGE

Slightly cheaper and not so famous cafe but with river view.

We found this cafe as an escape to sudden rain and enjoyed the rainy weather sitting next to river view with drizzling sound.

Didn’t try a lot of food but they have good hookah.


Great live reggae music, awesome crowd, and full with lively people in the evening. You can go there for dinner or post dinner.


One of the few places, which are open late night. Good rescue for late night munching – like french fries and pakoda!

Apart from exploring all the good cafes and food, we also went hiking and found really innovative ways to reduce littering! Also, saw some interesting local folk dance!

Nearby places to go from Old Manali: Rohtang Pass, Gulaba, Jogini Waterfall hike near Vashist.


This is my first attempt at a blog. Please like, comment, and share. Open to feedback. Disclaimer: cafes keep opening and shutting down around here.

​Happy munching! 🙂

Zomato recently launched in Manali, adding spoonbacks. Might take some time for the ratings to get reflected.

Cafe 1947 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato    Drifters' Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato    Cafe Drifters Inn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cafe Evergreen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato    Cafe Moon Dance Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato     Yolo Backpackers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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