Circo Loco at DC10, Cocoon and La Troya at Amnesia, Ants at Ushuaïa, even F*** Me I’m Famous at Pacha—one by one, I’ve worked my way through many of the biggest club events in Ibiza (ahem, strictly in the spirit of investigative journalism). My nocturnal experiences this summer ranged from great to terrible to just plain weird. And while I had fun, there are a few gripes that I’ve accumulated over the course of all this debauchery.
First, the price of clubbing in Ibiza verges on obscene. Cover charges range from €20 for advance tickets to as much as €80 at the door. Once inside, drinks prices hover around €25 for a cocktail and €12 for water (forget about the tap water in the bathrooms; it’s salted). Plus, the sweaty, predominantly twentysomething male crowds can be claustrophobia-inducing.
While I’d still recommend the occasional night on the town, many of the best parties I attended were at beach bars. With slightly more affordable (and better quality) libations, excellent food, big-name DJs and views of the sea, they offer a lot of what the mega-clubs lack. I wrote about a couple of my favorites in this article, but somehow 2,700 words wasn’t enough to include all of them. Here, in no particular order, are my picks.
More of a low-key bar and chiringuito than some of the others on this list, Jockey Club is just right for people-watching on posh Las Salinas. Spy on passing yachts while noshing on seafood—the mussels are particularly good—and sipping a crisp rosé. This is one of the older local icons, but it’s maintained its style over the years.
The beach at this relative newcomer to the extended Las Salinas neighborhood may not be the best, but the craft tipples are irreproachable. My Humaranja, made with mezcal, blood orange, lime, lemongrass syrup and mate, was the perfect antidote to the summer heat. And although we didn’t have the chance to eat, a salt-crusted sea bass for two at a neighboring table made us wish we did. The quality-control isn’t surprising, given that this breezy space come from the team behind London’s Experimental Cocktail Club. Unpretentious and on-trend, it’s one of the best spots for a boozy afternoon right now.
The original beach club and still the place to see and be seen, Blue Marlin Ibiza’s Cala Jondal location (not to be confused with the bar in Talamanca) represents the best and the worst. Yes, there are billionaires with their entourages hoisting sparkler-topped bottles of Grey Goose in the air. There’s also a bone-in rib-eye with charred pimientos de padrón that could break your heart, a legitimately beautiful beach, a consistently solid musical line-up, and the buzziest atmosphere on the island. On one visit, Barbara Tucker was belting out house like it was 1989 and an overly attractive crowd was tearing up the dance floor. For the ladies, the club also offers glam makeovers courtesy of the very talented team at Blowout Ibiza.
After visiting the new Nikki Beach Bali for Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia for this article, I had to swing by its Balearic sister. In keeping with the brand, the location comes with extravagant decorations and dancing girls. Bottle service is the name of the game here—don’t bother asking for budget bubbles; they only serve Champagne—and it’s hard not to cringe at the presence of a €1,000 cocktail (with four ingredients, one of which is ice). Still, the vista in the backdrop and design are suitably stunning.
Drawn by the laid-back vibe and friendly staff, I kept coming back to Beachouse. Despite its location on Playa d'en Bossa, the place is worlds away from the madness up the sand. During the daytime, it’s an ideal place to sunbathe and chill. At night, the volume cranks up and the lanterns come on for parties such as People Like Us and Guy Gerber’s Rumors. The latter is a terrific addition and certainly one of the best dance parties in this area.
Next door to Beachouse, Nassau Beach Club and the newly added Nassau Tanit are popular with daytime drinkers looking for an upscale alternative to the mayhem down by Bora-Bora. Occasional dancers shimmying on pedestals, impromptu fashion shows, and roving masseuses—pay whatever you feel appropriate—keep the energy up, while a solid, seafood-centric menu with octopus causas, unagi maki rolls, and dry-ice garnished tuna tartare helps mitigate the potent drinks.
A seriously impressive steak. Photo courtesy of SmartCharter Ibiza.
I’m told celebrities regularly frequent this barefoot hotspot on Formentera, but that’s not why you should check it out. Go because you can eat enormous pans of paella with your toes curled up in the sand, because the pitchers of mojitos are bit enough for an army, and because the crowd is more mellow than any you’ll find in Sant Antoni.
This alabaster-hued, clifftop restaurant may well be the most Instagram-friendly place in all of Ibiza. FAY on the top floor serves an assortment of traditional and less conventional sushi, while the Grand Terrace sports more international offerings. Of all the things I ate, nothing could top a plate of San Daniele with scarmorza and sunshiny olive oil. The restaurant has its own wine label, which is well worth ordering.
Seriously, why would you ever leave this place?