In the last two years or so, Brits have followed the Aussies by suit and made Bali their go to holiday destination. Famous for it’s abundance of smoothie bowls, brilliant nightlife and sprinkling of Indonesian culture, it is an island high on the holiday hot-lists of many.
However, being little less than an 18 hour plane ride away, visiting for a two week holiday is quite the commitment. If you’re going to take the plunge and book an Indonesian getaway, you’ll want to have a bit of a bit of a checklist before you go. You know, just to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Beach bars have overtaken dingy nightclubs and are now the place to party on the island, so you’ll want to visit a fair few. After all, what’s better than rolling off the beach to a cocktail and plate of nachos? Not much, we can assure you.
Here’s our low down of the best spots to enjoy a martini. (Instagram at the ready):
Potato Head Beach Club, Seminyak
This place is great. Seriously, great. There’s a million and one reasons why you’ve probably heard many a friend bang on about it before: the ocean views, in-pool bar, live DJs, fantastic food and the fact the staff make you feel like a celeb for the day. All of that is true. So true, in fact, that House of Coco would recommend anyone dedicate a whole day of their holiday to this place.
Start your day across the road at the Seminyak branch of Cafe Organic. With all those cocktails you’ll be drinking, a delicious brunch to line your stomach is totally recommended. They specialise in healthy, vegetarian breakfast and lunch dishes (plus juice options for every meal on everyday of the week). The House of Coco recommendation? Breakfast Criminal. It’s so delicious you’ll be toying with the idea of ordering a second.
Try and ring in advance to book yourself a day bed. They’re available on a first come, first served basis, and you don’t want to miss out. Upon arrival, the brilliant staff will escort you from the entrance in a golf buggy down a long, hedge lined driveaway. You’ll be greeted by even more brilliant staff (see the theme, here) who’ll show you to your camp for the day. You won’t have to lift a finger. Fluffy towels await you, and waiters will stop by at least every half an hour to take orders on food and drinks. When you fancy stretching your legs, step down into the pool and swim across to the in-pool bar. Our cocktail of choice? Bali Pimms. It’s divine.
La Plancha, Seminyak
The place with the parasoles. This bar is a feast for the eyes and a total kaleidoscope of colour, especially if you’re here at sunset. It opened its doors in 2010 and was the first Chiringuito restaurant and bar in Seminyak. It combines Spanish style brightly coloured beanbags and hand-painted, up-cycled coloured wood with traditional Balinese umbrellas to integrate two cultures and bring something a little different to the island. Many more establishments have followed the trend since, but in our opinion? This remains the original and the best.
Set up camp a couple of hours before the sun goes down to bag yourself a front row seat, then relish in happiness as the sun turns the sky every shade of pink. Feeling hungry? The prawns and marinated tuna steak are as fresh as fresh can be.
Single Fin, Uluwatu
A personal favourite: Single Fin is a three storey, picture-perfect party go-ers haven which cascades down the cliff edge and provides non stop viewing material of the surfers below. The views are seriously stunning and it makes for a fabulous vantage point for sunset inspection.
It is the only place to be on a Sunday night down on the Bukit Peninsula, as Bali’s most beautiful congregate for a night of live music and DJ sets. We’d recommend *pretty much* the whole cocktail menu, plus the fish sliders when you get a bit peckish. If you’re clever and wanting to beat the tourist crowd, you might choose a Wednesday to enjoy the views: same ice cold drinks, same music but way fewer expats. Perfection.
Jungle Fish, Ubud
This beach bar without a beach makes you wonder why you’d ever even need the sand and the sea in the first place. Not when the jungle is right on your doorstep.
Jungle Fish is heaven encapsulated. It is a must do if you’re staying in Ubud: the cultural heart of Bali, and unlike our other recommendations, is not just incredible at sunset. Located just 10 minutes drive from the centre of Ubud, JF will have you swimming amidst the rainforest and watching over the Osh River Valley. There’s an open-air split level restaurant serving breakfast and lunch, a pool bar perched on the Valley’s drop, and a spa to enjoy Balinese massages, facials and much, much more. Oh, and you can’t even stay the night at one of the club’ luxurious villas, since a sole day is unlikely to be enough.
Window Bar, Gili Trawangan
No trip to Bali would be complete without a few days across the ocean on Gili Trawangan. Most people manage to squeeze in a trip to the island when they’re in the region, and for good reason. The beaches are the sorts you’ve always dreamed of: adorned with white sand and crystal blue water, so not to have a beach bar (or 30) would almost be a crime.
The best are located on the West side of the island, away from the hussle and bustle of the main beach. Window Bar is our favourite purely because not many know about it. Most bars along this stretch have a swing just out to sea, and perhaps the most iconic is that erected by Pandawa Beach Resort, but Window Bar’s heart shaped swing makes for an *even* prettier snap.
The cocktails are great, the food is fairly decent, and the team of super friendly waiters lay La Plancha-esque beanbags out on the beach when it gets to about 5pm.
What is your favourite beach bar in Bali? Comment below!