Bali and the idea of a paradisal island holiday are inseparable. Its name alone summons images of flourishing greens, crystal seas and white beaches, forming the main reason why Bali draws flocks of tourists to its idyllic shores all year round. With such a diverse interflow of races and cultures constantly occupying the land, Bali, especially its popular districts like Seminyak, offer day and nighttime experiences unlike anywhere else.
Bars in Seminyak are fertile grounds for any visitor to enjoy Bali’s distinctive atmosphere once the sun sets. A visit to any of its household destinations, such as Potato Head, Ku De Ta and the like will reveal just that. Those are fine places to be if one is on their first pilgrimage to Bali, but seasoned callers to the island, or travellers who crave something unexpected ought to take a gamble with Seminyak’s burgeoning cocktail scene instead.
“Fine cocktails and Seminyak?” You might be scoffing right now. Well, don’t. Chuck aside the equation between the area and bawdy beach clubs, and scour through our guide for some of the best cocktail bars in Seminyak that stand as living proof. Across the past half a decade, Seminyak has become the hub for trendy concept bars and speakeasies that concoct world-class drinks, even prompting Dre Masso, multi-award-winning bartender and the Potato Head Group’s beverage director, to stamp his presence there with his own bar, Akademi.
To catch what we’re raving about, here are eight cocktail bars in Seminyak to patronise on your next visit.
Motel Mexicola is Seminyak’s next big thing, and a walk through its grounds is enough to explain why. The joint, dressed up like a colourful cantina, is ridiculously Instagrammable, which is a major plus for tourists. When coupled with the fantastic Mexican food, found in the sharing plates and street food on the menu, as well as the potent cocktails on offer, Motel Mexicola is a sure-win. Head there past 10pm, when the music starts to get louder — it’s a riot.
Motel Mexicola, Jalan Kayu Jati No. 9X, Kuta Utara, Bali 80361, +62 361 736688
The second floor of Ize Hotel is home to one of the widest commercial whisky collections in Bali. At Single Malt Bar, one gets to choose from 60 different rare whiskies available for order, or whisky-based cocktails, if you so prefer. Don’t let the gentlemen’s club interior intimidate you — Single Malt Bar isn’t one of those whisky institutions that takes itself too seriously. Every night, it has a host of performers, whether live DJs, jazz bands or pianists, to keep you entertained, and the vibes top notch.
Single Malt Bar, Ize Hotel, Jalan Kayu Aya 68, Seminyak, +62 0361 8466996
Akademi, located in Potato Head’s sibling hotel, Katamama, was established by Dre Masso two years ago. Its tastefully spartan interior features blockish, concrete furnishings, gold accents and hints of blue, kept minimal so as not to detract from the excellence of its cocktails. Masso dubs Akademi as a “centre of mixology”, made apparent with the innovative drinks on the menu, as well as its Case Study Cocktail programme, where one new drink, composed with localised ingredients, is offered for a period of a month.
Akademi Bar, Jl. Petitenget No.51B, Seminyak, Bali 80361, +62 361 3029940
With a Facebook profile photo that declares, “hello suckers” to potential consumers, you really don’t know what to anticipate when it comes to Bali’s first speakeasy, Baker Street Social. Well, unrivalled bespoke cocktails is one. With only 30 seats available, Baker Street Social is an intimate space designed for camaraderie (hence its moniker). Since there is no menu, punt your boldest cocktail requests to the bartenders, and see what they come up with. It can be a bit tricky to find, so just look for Shearlock Barbershop & Coffee along the street, and head up.
Baker Street Social Bali, Jl. Petitenget No.17, Seminyak, Bali 80361, +62 811 3973073
Established by the duo behind Bali’s La Plancha and La Laguna bars, La Favela follows in a similar, Latin-American vein, except on a larger scale. What looks like a verdant garden on the outside reveals a cool restaurant-bar within, festooned with tons of decorative detail. La Favela offers continental cuisine and decent tropical-style cocktails all week round, but when the weekend arrives, the destination transforms into an animated nightclub after-hours.
La Favela, Jalan Laksamana Oboroi No.177X, Seminyak, Bali 80561, +62 812 46120010
If you must have a day out at a beach bar, do it at W Bali’s Woo Bar. The familiar seafront spot is a maze of comfortable day-beds, palm trees and cabanas, with the opportunity for all-day revelry thanks to its long opening hours. Plus, it hosts international DJs regularly, so you might just be lucky enough to catch a favourite during your trip.
Woo Bar, Jl. Petitenget, Seminyak, Bali 80361, +62 361 4738106
Anantara Resort’s rooftop restaurant, Moonlite, is a romantic vision perfect for a cocktail date. Flanking the Balinese-style dining room is an alfresco deck that overlooks the beach, lined with structured couches on which guests can enjoy cocktails in time with the sunset.
Moonlite Kitchen & Bar, Jl. Abimanyu Dhyana Pura, Seminyak, Bali 80361, +62 361 737755
On the second floor of Asian-fusion restaurant, Mamasan, is an austere lounge with a voluminous cocktail menu starring drinks made with mostly regional ingredients. Think coconut mojitos, spicy limoncello, and espresso ginger martinis, to name a few. The ambience, while moody, is very comfortable, making Mamasan the perfect cocktail bar to while away a hot Balinese evening.
Mama San, Jl. Raya Kerobokan No.135, Bali 80361, +62 813 39423033.