Bali nightlife is famous throughout Indonesia. Most of the happening nightclubs and bars in Bali are located in the South of the Island, within a triangle formed by the cities of Kuta, Seminyak and Denpasar. Kuta is popular with a young international crowd, dominated by Australian teenagers and European backpackers. It is cheaper than elsewhere, but also trashier. Seminyak is more classy and attracts expats, couples and rich Indonesians from Jakarta. Its nightlife ranges from pricey beach clubs to affordable hipster bars. Denpasar has an underground scene with a local and masculine crowd. It is not really interesting for most travelers.
All the nightlife areas in Bali mentioned above are relatively close from each other. Seminyak is only 5 kilometers away from Kuta, and both are less than 6 kilometers away from the heart of Denpasar. In spite of this proximity, it can be challenging to get around from one place to another.
If you are planning to join the Bali nightlife and drink, I strongly recommend you avoid driving a motorbike. Accidents are unfortunately too common and you are also at risk of getting your bag snatched.
Riding a taxi is a better option, but you may struggle to find one who is willing to put the meter on. You will also be surprised to see that there are traffic jams even after midnight on Jalan Legian in Kuta and Jalan Oberoi in Seminyak. Mobile phone apps like Uber/Gojek/Grab are becoming increasingly popular and they are generally cheap. However, they face strong opposition from regular taxis and they are not permitted to operate in some areas.
Personally, I prefer to go by foot, even if this means I must restrict myself to party in one area only on any given night. You can read “Bali Hotels Near the Nightlife” for suggestions on where to stay in the island.
Bali Nightlife: Top 9 Bars and Nightclubs
Even though there are new bars and nightclubs opening every month in Bali, the current hotspots have been popular for several years already. These are my favorites:
This bar/restaurant is already iconic. It is designed and operated by the expat team behind La Plancha and the now-closed La Barca. Every night, starting 11pm, they will play upbeat tunes from old school rap to 80s hits. The dancefloor can get packed rather quickly, especially on weekends, with a mix crowd of expats and tourists. The entrance is free and the drinks start at Rp35,000++ for a Bintang.
Located in-between Seminyak and Kuta, near the Double 6 Beach, Jenja is an urban nightclub on two floors. The basement is the best venue in Bali for listening to techno DJs while the upper-floor is more laid-back with Rn’B and old school music. Most customers are male expats in their 30s/40s.
The direct competitor of Potato Head, the upmarket Woo Bar is not as crowded but they do have great events as well, among the best in Bali (for instance Silent Disco and the Sunday Sessions). It is located in the luxurious W Hotel, so expect high prices and a chic crowd.
Ku De Ta
Most evenings, Ku De Ta is only a stylish lounge/restaurant that attracts the hip and trendy. Several times a year though, they organize lavish parties that are famous all over Asia. One of the best is the “White Party” every August.
Mirror Bar and Lounge
If you want to experience a different side of Bali nightlife head to Mirror Lounge. This is a unique nightclub resembling a church, it is popular with young Indonesians from Jakarta. They have EDM and Rn’B music depending on the night. The setting is impressive and the you’ll need to dress smart to enter this club. It is rather pricey.
Skygarden (and the surroundings)
For the past 10 years, Skygarden has been the most crowded nightclubs in Bali. Opened every night, it is built on several floors, each with a different theme (hip-hop, EDM, etc). The main room, the Skydome, welcomes famous DJs weekly. If you are on a budget, you can visit it before midnight to get special discounts.
Around Skygarden are several other nightclubs and bars such as Eikon, Paddy’s Pub, Bounty or Vi Ai Pi. None is remarkable but if you are looking for a fun night out with backpackers and travelers, they’ll do the trick.
On Double 6 beach, there is a dozen of small beach cafés offering a nice atmosphere for hanging out at night with friends. La Plancha is considered the best among them. You can sit on beach bags directly on the beach, order affordable food and drinks, and listen to an eclectic playlist of famous songs. Their special parties are recommended as well (a few times per year).
Located inside the mall BeachWalk, Velvet/Hypnotized (VH) is the favorite nightclub for younger Indonesians. More upmarket compared to the surrounding venues in Kuta, Velvet-Hypnotized is a great part of Bali nightlife. They have a great ladies night every Wednesday and a Hip-Hop night on Thursday.
Potato Head Beach Club
This huge beach club is open from morning to late at night. A perfect place for chilling, it is best to visit it before sunset to enjoy a few cocktails and a light meal. They normally have a DJ playing lounge tunes, with a few special events as well every month.
About the Author
Thibaud runs the website Jakarta 100 bars and writes about nightlife around Indonesia. If you need an advice on where to go out, which hotel to choose or what to do in Jakarta, he’s always available through his site. You can connect with him by email at [email protected]