Night on the town with Bikini’s Arey Barker: His favorite Bali bars & late-night eats

Photo: Arey Barker behind the bar at Bikini with some of his specialties. Photo: Bikini

After exploring some of the favorite bars and late night bites of Raka Ambarawan — head barkeep at Ubud’s coolest bar, Night Rooster — we’ve turned to another buzzed-about bartender in Bali for inspo on where to hit up for a night out on the town (or rather, the island).

We thought it fitting for our next night out to be with the chief mixologist at one of Ambarawan’s favorite island haunts: Bikini. The bar at Seminyak’s Bikini restaurant has built a pretty sizable fan base since its opening, earning itself a spot on Bali’s hot list with distinctive cocktails formulated by head mixologist Arey Barker.

Since the bar’s opening in early 2017, Barker’s creative concoctions have become some of the most sought-after on the island — the bar made our roundup of top cocktails in Bali, too.

The bar. Photo: Bikini
The bar. Photo: Bikini

The Bali native also dishes out drinks in style; before getting his current gig at Bikini, he scored himself several winning titles in local competitions for flair bartending and mixology while getting experience at the W Hotel.

With out-there mixes that Bikini’s menu breaks down into “fruity, floral and vibrant,” “bitter, sweet, and spiced, and “bold, big and packed with a punch,” Barker has shown that he’s not afraid of experimentation and putting a twist on an old favorite.

Arey Barker in action. Photo: Bikini
Arey Barker in action. Photo: Bikini

His go-to things to order at Bikini aren’t the traditional types. He likes one-of-a-kind things. 

“My favorite is the foie gras cigars. It’s served on a golden ashtray, including butter ash inside, so it’s unique,” Barker told Coconuts Bali.

“And for drinks, of course, I love the single-origin black coffee Negroni. Love this drink because it’s unique as well. Combination of gin that we drip on the coffee powder and mix with vegetables, charcoal, blending together with sweet vermouth and bitter Campari. Sooo tasty.”

Left: Single origin black negroni. Right: Foie gras cigars. Photos: Bikini
Left: Single origin black Negroni. Right: Foie gras cigars. Photos: Bikini

But while drinking Negronis and smoking cigars with foie gras certainly has him living his best life, Barker does like a good night out every now and then when he’s not punched in. Naturally, we had to know where these nights are spent.

— DRINK —

40 Thieves

Photo: 40 Thieves Bali
Photo: 40 Thieves Bali

“If I want to go out with my friends to have drinks, I go to cocktail bars in Bali like 40 Thieves or Frestro. Good ambiance and drinks there.”

Frestro

Photo: Frestro
Photo: Frestro

“But, sometimes I love a crowd and music. Then I go to La Favela or Jenja.”

La Favela

Photo: La Favela
Photo: La Favela

“And mostly in the clubs, I get gin and soda. Easy.”

Jenja

Photo: Jenja
Photo: Jenja

— EAT —

Lawar

“I definitely go for local food! So close from my house there is local food open only at night, starting from 11pm til 3am. They are selling Balinese food called nasi lawar.”

Lawar Bali. Photo: Flickr
Lawar Bali. Photo: Alpha/Flickr

Ramen

“But sometimes in the night time close to Seminyak, I love Mad Ronin Ramen.” (This one also happens to be one of our top picks for Japanese food in Bali.)

Photo: Mad Ronin
Photo: Mad Ronin

Editor’s Note: our editorial staff have edited Barker’s written responses for clarity.

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