You’ve probably heard of Café del Mar – it’s that popular bar in Ibiza, which also spawned a series of chill-out ambient music compilations of the same name. While many of us might have never been to the Spanish island, more have surely heard tracks from those popular CDs that have been around since the ‘90s.
And now, with Café del Mar having opened its Bali outpost on the Canggu beachfront, maybe we don’t even have to travel that far to experience a little bit of Ibiza.
While the Island of the Gods certainly don’t have a shortage of beach clubs, Coconuts Bali was still curious about the newcomer, which seems set to promise a different touch to the lifestyle scene here. We were excited to receive an invitation to check the place out last month, and from the initial looks of things – dare we say it could potentially be a new favorite in town?
Perhaps it’s just the newness of it all, but the first thing we noticed as soon as we walked into Café del Mar is how spacious it is. Visitors can choose from several seating options, by the way, beginning with their beach club dining area, for which there’s no minimum spending required, to several others closer to the pool (there’s only one) and the beach.
Their sun loungers are open for a minimum spending of IDR500k(US$35) for two guests, while their day beds, which can fit six guests, have a minimum spending requirement of IDR2million(US$142). Both of these are available on a first come, first serve basis.
There are also cabanas, pool booths and sunset booths (this one offers a somewhat uninterrupted view of the shore), with minimum spending ranging from IDR2million to IDR7million. Those with a bigger, more private party in mind, will also have the option of either the deluxe (15 guests) or master (30 guests) suites, which require minimum spend of IDR12 million and IDR 25 million, respectively.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s dive into more details. To the far left of the property is a hard-to-miss stage, with a ceiling that reminded us a little of a gastropod shell, looking ready to host DJs and other musical guests. We can’t be certain of what it might be like until the day comes, but we can certainly expect cool things from a venue like this. They are set to host several international artists next month, including British DJ and production duo Stanton Warriors.
All around, it’s evident that the space is heavily inspired by its Spanish origins. The large arches throughout the establishment and the predominantly white decor mixes in both comfort and sophistication, which in itself feels very different (in a good way) compared to other beach clubs in Bali.
As it has only been a soft opening for Café del Mar, the food options during our visit are still limited to their poolside menu. The portions are not too small, but do note how they’re not exactly full meals either. Though they do have a variety of sandwich and pizza options for you to choose from, which are of course filling, we do think their current menu is best for sharing. Don’t worry though, we hear their restaurant will open soon.
Served with tamarillo and sambal, their Oxtail Lumpia (IDR90k/US$6.37) was as fresh and tasty as a good spring roll ought to be. Meanwhile, the Crispy Rice Salmon Sushi offers a unique texture and fairly decent taste; a why-not-try-it option for those who are into Japanese fusion. However, we learned that their current menu offers the dish with tuna instead, for IDR100k (US$7.08), and while we have yet to try that one, the sensation off of the crispy rice itself should be worth a go.
Sandwich lovers might be pleased with Café del Mar’s Cuban Sandwich (IDR180k/US$12.74), made of thin-sliced pork ham, provolone cheese, mustard and pickle and served just right with a side of french fries. On our second visit, we asked for the sandwich to be sliced into four pieces, as we find that it makes for an easier bite to share.
On the drinks front, there are decidedly plenty of mixes to choose from. We’re told that Mellow Yellow (IDR135k/US$9.56), a mix of European vodka, apple and mango juices, blended with honey, lemongrass and citrus juice, is a favorite, and we get the appeal. It’s quite sweet to the taste with a decent kick, but possibly not strong enough for those looking for more liquor than garnishment.
Now, a jug of sangria at Café del Mar costs about IDR550k (US$38.93) (with the exception of their Sparkling Sangria, which cost an additional IDR50k/US$3.54, FYI), and we definitely recommend it especially if you’re in groups. Their Red Sangria, which is red wine, spiced rum, tangerine, pomegranate and citrus juice, mixed with licorice syrup and fresh fruit, is the type of refreshing beverage you can expect from these types of establishment, and their take is not at all disappointing.
It’s only been about a month since Café del Mar opened its doors to the public in Bali, and we could definitely see them gaining ground among competitors on the island. We visited the beach club twice – the second time on a personal excursion – and found that the service was a bit bumpy on both occasions.
Just a heads up, we were asked to leave our ID and credit card during our second visit, which were returned to us when we paid for the bill.
Overall, we think Café del Mar is worth checking out for your next beach club adventure on the island. For us the winning factors might be their super chill music and light cocktails accompanying a pretty dope sunset watch, which make the venue a great option for your next hang-out spot. There’s certainly more to come still from them, and we’re open to discover further in the coming months.
MORE FROM BALI FOOD & DRINK:
Subscribe to The Coconuts Podcast for top trending news and pop culture from Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.