If there is one location that started the beach club trend in South East Asia, it would be Bali, or more specifically Rock Bar at the Ayana Hotel in the Bukit Peninsula, within the general Uluwatu area.
While there was a time when the trendy nightlife started to drift northwards along the west coast of Bali, stretching along the Seminyak stretch, there have been a few openings down in Uluwatu which would undoubtedly return the centre of destination bars away from ‘sunset views’ of Seminyak to ‘cliff-top settings’ of Uluwatu.
OMNIA Day Club, Uluwatu
I get mixed comments on OMNIA. Some people love it, some people not so much. Regardless of their feelings on the bar, they do agree that the architectural setting is something else.
Perched on the cliff edge, with stunning vistas left and right (with the exception of a hotel currently under construction to the left of the property), there is something about OMNIA that makes you want to go all ‘insta-famous.’
The area is divided between the two day-bed areas, where you get access to the swimming pool, day beds and resort amenities, and the ala carte areas, mostly concentrated in the ‘Cube,’ the iconic structure that abuts the cliff edge and seemingly floats above the sea. The ‘Cube’ is the main draw for this place, which gives it a distinct character from the other day clubs in Bali, and the corner glass balcony being one of the ‘must take a photo’ spots.
Drinks-wise, there is a wide selection of crafted signature cocktails to choose from, all having a local flavour within. Unlike other day clubs, most of the cocktails here are served in wooden cups, that are quite effective in maintaining a cool cocktail on a hot tropical day. There is a basic menu, and if you are peckish, the bar snacks are, interestingly enough, very filling.
Overall, OMNIA exudes the jet-set crowd feel, and this can be quite apparent with the clientele it attracts. There will be a lot of photo taking, selfie shots and the likes, and the atmosphere feels more clubby than chilled. If you want your day clubs as a see-and-be-seen destination, then OMNIA might be just the right fit.
P.s. Come early, preferably around 1pm, otherwise it will get full. If you do plan on coming on a weekend, or after 4pm, I suggest making reservations, and be aware there is a minimum spend and cover charge.
Atmosphere: Open, wide terrace, with two pools. The main building has a trendy Japanese restaurant upstairs, and the Cube houses the main cocktail bar. Avant garde architecture on display.
Drinks: signature cocktails a-plenty
Price Point: Average for destination beach bars. Expect to pay USD 8 for a cocktail.
Feel: Packed, bustling, trendy, see-and-be-seen. There is a reason why this spot is Insta-famous.
Address: Jalan Belimbing Sari, Pecatu, Kuta Selatan, Bali 80364 Indonesia
Imagine someone has a beach house with a few outhouses. Connect these outhouses through corridors and have a pool in the courtyard at the back. Add in a terrace that hugs the cliffs, with well-manicured lawns. This is the Ulu Cliffhouse.
Like someone’s private beach house who he lets out once in a while if he isn’t in town, the Ulu Cliffhouse has an intimate feel despite it catering to a very hip crowd. Not as big as OMNIA, with an equally stunning setting with views of the sunset on the left and the western Bali coast on the right, Ulu Cliffhouse has a charm that will remind you of Mykonos.
The space is divided to three distinct areas: a restaurant area on the right, a day-bed area by the pool, in the centre of the courtyard, and a cocktail bar on the left, where the DJ booth and cliff terrace are. While there is free seating in the restaurant and cocktail bar area, there is a minimum spend for the day beds, approximately IDR 1,000,000 or USD 70.
Drinks are pretty good, with a great selection of signature cocktails at reasonable prices, with a good food menu that would satiate your hunger as you laze away under the tropical sun. The atmosphere is very chill, keeping in line with the beach lounge feel, and while some of the crowd are in to their selfies and group photos thanks to the beautiful setting, you do get a very relaxed vibe when said photo groups leave.
The beauty of Ulu Cliffhouse’s setting is well placed, and the limitation on deck chairs, seating areas and the preference for bookings, ensures that this lounge does not feel too crowded. Perfect for a lazy afternoon while sipping cocktails and waiting for time before heading to Uluwatu Temple for the sunset kecak.
Atmosphere: Private beach house party venue, complete with jet-set and glamorous patrons
Drinks: Great cocktail selection, with a lot of tropical-inspired signature cocktails
Price Point: Average day club prices, USD 7/+.
Feel: I want to say trust-fund babies and jet-setters who have a certain nonchalant-ness
Address: Jalan Labuan Sait No 315, Padang-Padang, Pecatu, Bali 80361, Indonesia
It is quite hard to really describe Single Fin. Unlike the other entries, this destination is less a day club and more bar. Entry is quite interesting, where you have to pass the iconic Single Fin Surf Shop and a few other bars before finding the terrace that leads to Single Fin, next door to the Surf Shop. The split levels and areas of the bar does get a haphazard, and it would be hard pressed to get reservations here. It feels part beach-shack, part terrace restaurant, part pop-up club.
However, if you are wondering why the bar is packed in the middle of the afternoon, and you are roaming around trying to find a spot to sit down, just sit on the balcony and you will get a rough idea. To your left, the cliffs of Uluwatu. Right in front of you, the stunning waves of Uluwatu that is the spiritual home of surfing on this island. To your right, well, we don’t really talk about the private pool on the right, we just focus on the surf right in front of us.
Undoubtedly, this is a major drinking hole for the surf crowd, or the corporate-career-turned-surfer crowd. The setting is pretty rustic: no clean lines like the other destination bars here, oh no. While the drinks selection are decent, with the constant crowds and the hectic feeling, I would highly suggest getting a beer.
As the late afternoon progresses, balcony seats do become a premium, as crowds descend on the terrace to get that perfect sunset view. While the ‘premium sunset seats’ on the left of the mid-terrace have the best views, you also get the full force of the afternoon sun. Bring a hat, or angle yourself just nicely under the umbrella.
Atmosphere: Imagine beach shack-turned-fancy, but still wants to keep the ‘rawness’ to keep it ‘real.’
Drinks: Decent cocktail selection, but go for the beer to reduce waiting time.
Price Point: Lower than similar bars, but still higher than average Bali bars. Expect USD 6 for cocktails.
Feel: Surfer-vibe, traveller-heavy, flash-packer.
Address: Pantai Suluban, Jalan Labuan Sait, Uluwatu, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Oneeighty, The Edge
Part of me feels selfish and does not want to talk too much about this spot, but the other part of me knows such a destination could not possibly stay as private as possible. Of all the bars on this list, oneeighty at The Edge is undoubtedly my personal favourite for a host of reasons.
This is a day club that has a very private, very intimate feel to it, perched on the edge of the Uluwatu cliffs. There is a good degree of space between deck chairs. There is a good layer of sand instead of tiles where the deck chairs are. There is a very nice pool which abuts the cliff, and has a glass bottom, giving further credence to the name ‘The Edge.’
While service overall in the other 3 day clubs above are good, here they do go the extra mile. They will ask you nicely if you need anything without being pushy, they are super helpful when you are peckish but don’t want a full meal, and best of all, they know the best spots for the perfect shot of you, either in the pool or on the terrace. Perfect for the narcissistic Instagram shot.
The drinks are very well made, and their cold brew martini is one of my personal favourites, and high on my list of ‘great cocktails in Southeast Asia.’ Unlike other bars on this list, they use well-made plastic martini glasses instead of proper glasses, and it became apparent why when I was allowed to take a dip in the pool with my martini.
To maintain the private setting, the bar has a policy of prioritizing advanced reservations and not packing in the crowd. It also helps that while The Edge Hotel is somewhat sprawling, the bar is not, and the small, intimate setting gives the perfect environment for a lazy, private space on a relaxing afternoon.
There is a minimum spend here, approximately IDR 400,000 (USD 30), where IDR 50,000 is your entrance fee and the remaining IDR 350,000 is your resort credit. Not too bad considering the privacy on offer, the untouched cliff-side setting and limited, mostly jet-setter crowd present. You may just choose to spend your entire afternoon here and not move from your deck chair.
Atmosphere: Super private beach club, very jet-setter approved, especially if you like to indulge with smaller crowds and increased exclusivity
Drinks: Good cocktail selection. I am in love with their cold brew martini.
Price Point: Average by Bali beach club prices, USD 7
Feel: Your fancy friend’s rooftop terrace extension, with ample space to laze around. The chairs are that comfortable.
Address: Jalan Pura Goa Lempeh, Banjar Dinas Kangin, Pecatu, Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia
What is my criteria?
Jason is a world traveller and avid seeker of high perches, on a mission to capture the unique experiences that makes destinations iconic.