BALI AFTER DARK
Night life in Bali starts late, which means around midnight. Many visitors wonder where crowds of expats suddenly come from around 1:00 in the morning – even when all of Kuta has been very quiet during the whole evening, the IN-places often become crowded after midnight.
There's a simple explanation: during the early evenings many of Bali's night owls either still work, visit friends at home, or simply sleep. Most of them visit pubs, bars, or discos only in the early morning hours. Therefore, if you plan a night out don't start your dinner too early. Between 9:00 p.m. and midnight there are not many places we can recommend.
Visitors looking for company don't need to worry. Wherever you go in Sanur and the Kuta area, there are many other single travellers with the same problem around – day and night. In Bali's discos you'll meet also many "kupu kupu malams" ("night butterflies" or working girls) and young boys who compete with the females and service all sexes. All taxi drivers know the more popular karaoke bars and massage parlours in Kuta and Denpasar, and the various "Houses of ill Repute" in Sanur's narrow back lanes.
As reported in the BALI travel FORUM: "Prostitution is illegal in Bali. However, like in many countries, everyone turns a blind eye. Many girls can be found in nightclubs and bars in most areas. They look usually just like the girl next door, albeit with a bit more make up on, and they usually dress to please the eye. For the most part, they are gentle, easy to be with, and a lot of fun if you want to dance, drink and have a little fun with.
SANUR & NUSA DUA
Some quite popular places in Sanur are the BORNEO PUB on Jalan Danau Tamblingan and the TROPHY PUB in front of the Sanur Beach Hotel. Both, however, close around 1:00 a.m.
The discos and pubs in Nusa Dua's 5-star hotels are often rather empty. They are mostly frequented by those visitors who stay in-house and are too tired to make the 30 minutes drive to Kuta.
THE "KUTA" AREA
Everybody looking for some action and fun in the evening goes to "Kuta" which nowadays means the area extending about 4 miles or 7 kilometers North from the original village of Kuta and includes now Legian, Seminyak and even Basangkasa. Here are most of the better entertainment places offering EVERYTHING single male or female visitors as well as couples might be looking for.
There are several places such as CASABLANCA etc. – down-market open-air pubs and very noisy discos full of stoned Aussies courting Javanese "Kupu Kupu Malams". PEANUTS Discotheque on Jalan Raya Legian at the Jalan Melasti corner (about the border between Kuta and Legian) has been re-opened very soon after it was gutted by a fire. The huge (air-conditioned) dance floor is often crowded, guests are a mix of locals and younger foreign visitors.
Closer to the center of Kuta you find the BOUNTY SHIP with a noisy, over-air-conditioned disco in the basement and the re-built PADDY'S not far from the original PADDY'S. Much more "IN" nowadays is the newer M-BAR-GO which features really good music and a better crowd than most other places. SKY GARDEN is also on the main road and an interesting place to go. The bar is on the top floor, the three storeys below feature all different lounge areas. The menu is huge but the food is often disappointing. When most places close around 2.00 or 3.00 in the morning, night owls of all kinds continue drinking at nearby MAMA'S until sunrise.
For a somewhat more civilized evening out, you can have dinner and a couple of drinks at the bar at either TJ's or KORI in Kuta, at the open street side bar at NERO Bali right opposite AROMAS Restaurant in Kuta, at the re-built MACCARONI CLUB in Kuta, at MADE'S WARUNG in Basangkasa (see BALI - Restaurants to Enjoy), or at the trendy HU'U Bar & Lounge near the Petitenget temple, LA LUCIOLA and THE LIVING ROOM.
One of the most "in" venues in Bali is KU DE TA right on the beach adjacent to the Oberoi hotel. This is the place to see and be seen, and from late afternoon there is a DJ providing rather noisy entertainment for Bali's beautiful people. This is a great place to watch Bali's famous sunsets, but expect to pay for a cocktail around US$10 and more.
You'll find a large and quite popular HARD ROCK CAFE right at the beginning of Kuta's beach road with live music from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. Expect to find many singles of all kinds here looking for company. If you think this is too noisy, too crowded, or the air-conditioning too cold for you, try the CENTER STAGE at the HARD ROCK RESORT located in the back of the CAFE. As the name implies, the band performs on a raised stage in the middle of the huge round lobby bar until 11:00 p.m. Both HARD ROCK outlets are expensive by Bali standards.
The JAYA PUB on the main road in Seminyak features also live music and attracts many Indonesian customers who don't mind the chilling air-conditioning and the sometimes horrible bands and singers. MANNEKEPIS, a pleasant Belgian pub/restaurant right opposite the QUEEN'S TANDOOR in Seminyak, features live Jazz on Thurdays, Fridays and Saturdays and serves good meals at reasonable prices.
Seminyak's best place to have a drink and some fun after 11 p.m. are nowadays probably OBSESSION World Music Bar and SANTA FEE Bar & Grill, Jalan Abimanyu (also known as Gado Gado Road or Jalan Dhyana Pura). Life music, reasonably priced cocktails and the friendly girls attract many visitors until the early hours. Other popular night spots nearby in the same street are SPY BAR, LIQUID, Q BAR and MIXWELL ("for the alternative lifestyle"), SPACE and THE GLOBE. New bars and "Chill-Out Lounges" are opening all the time, and most of them feature DJ's and/or live music on certain nights. Just walk down the road and check them out !
Later, from 2:00 a.m., it's party time at the SYNDICATE, BACIO and DOUBLE SIX, a large open-air disco with several bars, big dance floor, and many tables. All three are located next to each other on the beach in Seminyak and charge an entrance fee of 30,000 to 100,000 Rupiah (depending on the day) for which you get a voucher for a free drink. Here and in nearby DEJA VU and LA VITA LOCA you'll find most of Bali's night owls drinking and dancing the night away until 4:30 a.m. or so. (The legendary GADO GADO Disco has been re-converted into a restaurant.)
Also, watch out for notices and small posters in Kuta and Seminyak announcing special events such as Full Moon Parties, House Warming Parties, Body Painting Parties, etc, etc. If these "parties" are announced to the public (even if only by word-of-mouth), they are open for everybody. You'll have to pay for your drinks, therefore, don't be shy.