Whilst not exactly home to the same party scene as Seminyak and Canggu — we’ll take that as a good thing — the rise of Ubud’s food and beverage offerings has welcomed not only superb restaurants, but also bars to match. But sifting through the long list of bars in Ubud can be confusing…

Nightlife in Ubud has stockpiles of fun bars with music and drinks, but for the more discerning drinker there are spots who take pride, and take time, in crafting the perfect cocktail. So, if you’re looking for the best cocktail bars in Ubud – more intimate, cosy and with a barman who knows his stuff – these Ubud venues should whet the palate nicely. Cheers to that.


Aperitif Bar

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For those who have been to Apéritif Restaurant and Bar have experienced the decadence of this Bali fine dining venue. Housed in an impressive, all-white colonial building, both its façade and interiors channel a bygone era, the polished stylings of the 1920s and 30s. In one of the building’s wings, Aperitif Bar is its own little world: a sophisticated venue of dark woods and plush leather sofas, with a grand piano and snooker table adding to the already handsome ambience. Outside, an open deck looks out to an Ubud river valley — the Bali touch.

Head Mixologist Panji Wisrawan is a master behind the bar and lucky for him Aperitif is a venue where patrons are truly mindful of what’s in their glass, appreciating the thought and expertise that goes into each drink. The cocktail menu features all the classics, and twists of classics, like the Hotsy Totsy served with ‘popping’ bubble.

The real signatures here are found in Panji’s own ‘Cocktail Anthology’, inspired by Bali in the 1930’s: a renaissance period where a handful of visiting foreigners in that time became the chroniclers, the translators and the broadcasters of Bali to the world. Cocktails include ‘The Anthropologist’, named after Margaret Mead; ‘The Primitivist’, after Walter Spies; and a NOW! Bali favourite, ‘The Composer’, named after Colin McPhee, made with caramelised pandan whiskey, recycled coffee incense, mezcal joven and fernet branca. On certain nights, Aperitif Bar is also a great place to enjoy live music in Ubud.

4pm – late, Open Daily
+62 361 908 2777 | aperitif.com 


BOLICHE

Taking over the location of the legendary Beggar’s Bush – a bar and resto in the 70’s frequented by travellers, bohemian artists and even celebrities like Mick Jagger and David Bowie – BOLICHE continues the legacy as one of the favourite bars in Ubud for both residents and visitors. Connected to Cantina Rooftop, an all-day rooftop eatery that looks out over Ubud’s iconic temple, Pura Gunung Lebah, BOLICHE is its nocturnal cousin: a late-night bar that has become a collective space celebrating music, art and creativity. It has secured a position as local-favourite when it comes to nightlife in Ubud.

Earlier in the evenings, the plush sofas and lounges make for a snug spot to drink and talk with friends, in the surrounds of eclectic accoutrements that give this spot its distinct character. BOLICHE’s bar highlights local ingredients in their artisanal cocktails, like ‘Toya Lalah’, made with green chilli infused Arak, lemon, basil, tonic, salt; or ‘Kampung Mule’, made with vodka, red ginger, lemongrass, kemangi (lemon basil), lime and soda.

Favourites are given a twist too, like the ‘Bandido Old Fashioned’ made with El Jimador Tequila Reposado, agave, bitters, flamed orange twist; and a refreshingly tangy daiquiri, made with starfruit. Later in the evening, the stylish, soundproof venue fills up for underground music playing into the wee hours! If you’re looking for more than just a drink and fancy a party in Ubud, Boliche is a great bet.

8pm to Late, Thursday – Saturday (Walk-ins only)
IG: @boliche.bali


Ambar

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Perched at the very tip-top of the Ayung River valley, Ambar at Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, boasts one of the most majestic locations to enjoy a tipple.

Meaning sky in Sanskrit, Ambar certainly lives up to its name, with a bird’s eye view of the Mandapa village below, that cascades down towards the and the surrounding forests. Recently revamped, Ambar welcomes guests into its casual dining space open to all with a beautiful outdoor deck — a picture perfect spot to watch the sunset in Ubud.

This Ubud bar offers a curated menu of Japanese-Indonesian cuisine. Creations are inspired by indigenous ingredients from the surrounding forest and Japanese fine drinking that creates a modern and creative take on traditional herbs, fruits, and spices. The Fruits of the Forest menu features a selection of classic cocktails with unique twists and eclectic spirits that allows guests to sample variants of Gin & Tonic, Aged Coconut Cocktails, and Mini Snacquiri flights.

The Canopy Collection menu consists of a list of unique spirits that are the specialty of Ambar and are constantly evolving to keep guests impressed. A diverse offering of international wines and curated local-market-influenced beers also adorn the selection of drinks to be enjoyed.

A favourite here is ‘Wantilan’, featuring Seagram’s vodka, lemongrass, kemangi, and passion fruit. Cocktails can also be made according to your tastes, where vodka can be substituted for gin, rum, or other alcoholic drinks according to taste. 

2pm to 10pm, Open Daily
+6281339101992 | bit.ly/AmbaratMandapa | IG: @ambaratmandapa 


KAWI

KAWI is one of the newest cocktail bars in Ubud with a real focus on ingredients and flavour. This cosy 15-seater is a place for those looking to savour well-balanced cocktails in peace or have a private little tete-a-tete in an intimate space. The venue is moody and minimalist, like a clean, stripped-back cave, with spot lighting bringing focus to the most important thing in the room: your drink. 

KAWI, meaning poet in Sanskrit, highlights fresh produce and special ingredients from different parts of Bali in their cocktails. You’ll find ‘Pisang’, with arak from Tejakula infused with dried banana, fernet branca and Balinese vanilla; and ‘Jeruk’, with gin infused with Kintamani tangerine, jasmine tea infused Campari. ‘Rice’ is more on the experimental side, featuring a house-made spiced rice milk, tapé (a fermented rice or cassava), sake and cincau grass jelly.

You’ll see jars of spirits being infused with local produce and ingredients behind the bar, a slow lab of sorts, where flavours are made at nature’s pace. Some natural wines by the bottle and locally-inspired snacks are also made available. These unique and somewhat experimental cocktails are enjoyed in the snug-yet-sophisticated space of KAWI, around the centre-piece bar or individual tables looking out to a warmly-lit, tropical back garden.

6pm to 12am, Wednesday to Sunday
+62 361 9086528 | IG: @kawiubud


The Lair

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As its name suggests, The Lair is a hidden bar tucked away out of sight. Located underneath the famous Campuhan Bridge, this cosy drinking den hangs on the edge of the ravine above the flowing waters of the Wos River. With its ‘primitive’ theme — think Jumanji (the original one) — the interiors are exotic and funky, with dim colours lighting the indoor plants, complimenting the thick jungle scenes visible directly from the deck.

The menus are just as eclectic: themed playing cards showing each dish or drink available. The cocktails, many of which are simply card numbers, cater to a wide range of tastes and flavours, with classics and signatures thrown into the mix. Concoctions include ‘No.3’, with dark rum, Campari and fresh lime juice; ‘No.10’ features Pepe Lopez tequila, fresh mango, lime juice, agave and mint leaves; and the heavier hitters are found on the face cards, the King Card featuring ‘Old Bastard’, with blended scotch, white rum infused with spices, orange and agustura bitters.

You’ll find both large and small bites at The Lair, one of the newest bars in Ubud, whether it’s a nibble alongside your drink like Patatas Bravas, Trio Cheese Arancini, Foie Gras Sliders; to rich bites like the 12-Day Dry-Aged Duck and Rock Grilled Beef Rib Eye.

6pm to 12am, Wednesday to Sunday
IG: @thelair.ubud

NOW Bali Editorial Team

NOW Bali Editorial Team

This article has been written or uploaded by NOW! Bali's in-house editorial team.