Nothing complements a hard day of working, surfing, yoga, eating, networking and scooter riding like a few (too many) hard earned and reasonably priced drinks. And maybe a boogie. In addition to Canggu’s daylight charms, there’s a nightlife here that will satiate you for as long as you stay.
Partying in Bali is just like partying everywhere else in the world, and if you’re respectful, mindful and exercise just the right amount of caution, you’ll have a grand old time. At the risk of reinforcing gender stereotypes, gals be careful when you’re cruising around alone late at night, and guys please don’t get in any fights. In this part of the world things can get very serious very quickly, and nobody wants any of that. A bit of prudence and a cool head goes a long way.
The Canggu nightlife scene is fragmented into “nights”, like, “Everrrrybody goes to Old Man’s on a Wednesday!”, so while you can go anywhere whenever you like, the following is a guide to the peak times for the main establishments, so you can be there, or be square and do something intimate away from the sweaty, gyrating crowds.
Jalan Pantai Batu Bolong, Batu Bolong
Truly the grand old man of Canggu nightlife, this beachfront(ish) haunt for the criminally beautiful offers up plenty of seating, even more dance floor, two-for-one happy hour from 4 ’til 6 on weekdays, wall aplomb with mosaics and murals providing plenty of Instagram opportunities (important), pretty good pub grub, and is conveniently located in front of the beginners break at Batu Bolong, so you may soothe your aching joints after a session of surf-bound shenanigans.
Good on: Wednesdays! (beer pong and tequila) and Fridays (band night)
Deus Ex Machina
Jalan Batu Mejan No. 8, Batu Bolong
So hip it hurts, but not in a bitter, hipster hating way. The crowd at Deus is cool, but friendly, creative and fun! Deus is the brainchild of an uber-creative collective who are living their passions for motorbikes, fashion, good food and wild nights. It’s a real scene, part soul surfer, part tropical Mad Max, an integral part of Canggu, and well worthy of a several visit. There’s also a barber on the premises, so if you feel like your lid needs a sharpen you can get it done without even leaving the party.
Good on: Sundays! (band and dancing nights) and Tuesdays (free tattoos and tacos)
Jalan Subak Canggu (Rice Paddy shortcut)
Pretty Poison emulates the skate-scum awesomeness of the backyard house parties of our youth (or the ones we heard about, but weren’t invited to). The dancefloor is hot and grimy and soaked in the sweat of wobbly booty drops, the drinks are cheap (but the drinks list limited), and the bar staff and clientele tatted, pierced and punk. But the piece de resistance of Pretty Poison is a replica of the Lords of Dogtown “Dogbowl” in the middle of the party, a full-size skate bowl that is frequented by a regular crew of local and international rippers. At Pretty Poison, the skating takes centre stage, with hoots, hollers and cheers going up when the crew nail a trick, and winces uttered when they don’t. If you’re a (really good) skater, come for a roll, otherwise just cruise on down and enjoy the show.
Good on: Thursdays and Saturdays
Jalan Pura Dalem, Batu Bolong
This chic and breezy establishment, located right on the beach smack bang between Batu Bolong and Echo, attracts the gu’s ridiculously good looking crowd from 11am onwards. By day, punters work on their tan and digital nomad; come sunset, the dining is casual but fine; if you stay late, the cocktails are mouth-watering and the music sleek. Keep an eye on the beach club’s events too – they’ve been known to host big names like Miami Horror, complete with explosive glitter showers.
Good on: Fridays (half price cocktails, beer and pizzas ‘til 11)
Jalan Munduk Catu, Echo Beach
Little know, well hidden and mostly unimpressive, Grass Terrace is the perfect place for small groups or large, for pre-party drinks. Why? Because of their full-time happy hour of two-for-one cocktails and wines, the cheapest beers in Canggu, decent food, cosy décor and also because of the cheap cocktails, wines and beer. Did we mention the cheap cocktails?
Literally a sandy bar, Sandbar, mostly located on the shores of Echo Beach but occasionally shifting as bar as Batu Bolong, is where the diehards and desperados descend after everything else has shut up shop and returned to its canine nocturnal owners. Sandbar is a concrete slab for dancing, a bar for purchasing the drinks you probably don’t need anymore, a few chairs and tables for passing out on, a roaring and volatile bonfire and an entire beach for getting lost on. You probably won’t remember being in Sandbar, but the black sand all through your bed the next morning will certainly suggest that you had.
Jalan Pantai Batu Mejan, Gang La Brisa, Echo Beach
La Brisa, which aptly translates to “Sea Breeze”, is the latest shabby chic wonderland in the La family, joining La Favela, La Plancha, La Sicilia and La Laguna. If a Jack Johnson song could be a venue, this would be it. Sip on a coconut and munch on sustainably sourced calamari in the beachfront infinity pool, soaking in the gorgeous Bohemian décor and dizzying views. After sunset, a mix of locals and foreigners come to sip on cleverly crafted cocktails and get down to techno, disco and deep house beats.
After everything (bar Sandbar) has shut, the next major beach town down, Seminyak, is the place to head. La Favela is the main spot, a club that stays open and charging exorbitant prices for its drinks until the sun comes up. It’s packed, it’s loud, it’s sweaty and it’ll leave you broke, but you’ll also have a whale of time, maybe meet the love of your life/stay/night/minute, and that is why we keep on coming back. Other notable mentions in Seminyak include Jenja, which boasts an excellent techno scene; Potatohead Beach Club, Ku De Ta and La Plancha for a beach-top sunset experience; 40 Thieves for yummy cocktails; Motel Mexicola for a free-for-all tequila-fuelled dance off; Jungle for a wild party you probably won’t remember; Da Maria for its Aperol Spritz and funky beats; and Hacienda for some live music.
Photo credits: Jetsetchristina.com; adamdewar.ca; 40 Thieves