Where to drink in Ubud, the locus of Bali’s thriving cocktail scene
Bali never falters as a favourite Southeast Asian holiday destination. The province is replete with options for every kind of traveller, from beach bum backpacker to an acolyte of the five-star-only path to good living. Untamable nature and charming towns exist toe-to-toe, drawing in hordes of foreigners who want to experience the best of island living in Indonesia to its shores.
In recent years, however, Bali has exploded as a hot destination for food tourism, after a significant number of its restaurants have come to global attention. Names like Locavore, Apéritif, Restaurant Nusantara and Room4Dessert have etched Bali, in particular, Ubud, as the place to be if you’re a foodie constantly hungry for new dining experiences.
Ubud’s thriving gastronomic landscape is matched by its cocktail scene, one equally worthy of attention given that the town’s bartenders are pioneering concoctions that are as creative as they are delicious.
The next time you’re in Ubud, pay these bars a visit if you’re hankering for a good cocktail. Don’t leave until you do.
Ubud’s Locavore is all about using Balinese ingredients on its menu, and its flagship cocktail bar has adopted the same approach. Night Rooster by Locavore flaunts ten drinks on its list, with each being a flavourful homage to native produce and flavours, as well as the bar’s creativity, given how many a drink comes served with house infusions and homemade liqueurs.
No Más is the type of bar that we’ll always say yes to. This laidback joint in the heart of Ubud is always busy and buzzy for good reason. The cocktails here aren’t served with overly fancy flourishes, but are made well and made stiff, the way we like it. Choose from classics like the martini or mojito, or order a cheekily-named house signature, like Tinder Wet Dreams, to get yourself in the mood, and let the playlist’s mix of rock and reggae take you higher.
Will Goldfarb’s Room4Dessert became a worldwide sensation after its standalone episode on Netflix’s culinary docu-series, Chef’s Table. This all-dessert restaurant is a necessary pilgrimage in Ubud not just for the sweet-toothed crowd, but for the thirsty one as well. Every season’s new degustation menu is accompanied by an inspired cocktail one, created for pairing with the nine-course dessert spread (yes, nine), but each is available ala carte from the long bar at the head of the restaurant.
Dumbo is known as a vegetarian-Italian restaurant with mean woodfired pizzas, but it is also home to a coffee lab that morphs into a cocktail bar with a firm focus on housemade infusions and fresh ingredients. Their kemangi gimlet is a popular one, featuring gin, egg white and Indonesia’s indigenous lemon basil leaves sourced from Dumbo’s garden.
The Lacalongtime Group’s Ubud outpost is all vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free when it comes to the Mexican food, but on the liquid end, it’s still sinful, and rightfully so. Lacasita serves the famous jalapeño margarita from its sister bars along with some other tropical quenchers to cut through the hot and humid weather. To give you more excuse to drink there, Lacasita also has a daily happy hour that touts two-for-one on their mojitos, classic margaritas, caipiroska and sangrias.
Lacasita Fonda Mexicana
Ubud’s idyllic rooftop dining hotspot practises a farm-to-table philosophy on both its food and its drinks. Most of the house cocktails are made with locally-grown and ethically-sourced ingredients, so you can feel like you’ve been a touch kinder to the earth while you be cruel to your liver — not that your liver minds. Copper Kitchen & Bar also has unorthodox tipples on the menu, including a selection of warm cocktails for a soothing, but punchy nightcap (you folks who order warm water with dinner can rejoice at this option). They also host DIY beverage classes weekly, giving visitors a chance to learn how to make cocktails, mocktails, and jamu, a traditional herbal drink.