Rock Bar at the Ayana Resort and Spa in Bali(Photo: Ayana Resort and Spa)

Most Bali-bound travelers come for the beautiful beaches, spectacular sunsets, and fun-loving party scene; take in this Indonesian isle’s tantalizing trifecta in one fell swoop, frothy cocktail in hand, at one of Bali’s best beach bars. These five picks boast beachfront settings primed for sun-and-surf seekers, dramatic perches for ogling Bali’s daily sunset spectacle, and an après-beach scene worth sticking around for once the moon replaces the sun.
1. Rock Bar
Cradled by a cliffside above the crashing waves of the Indian Ocean, this swanky alfresco watering hole ranks supreme for sunset views, inspired cocktail creations, and sophisticated crowds. Part of the isle’s superlative Ayana Resort and Spa, Rock Bar’s minimalist design spreads out over multi-tiered timber platforms crowned by an illuminated glass bar, all resting atop a rocky outcrop along Jimbaran Bay. Pair tasty light bites with creative cocktails (try a signature martini—on the rocks, naturally) and rock out to daily-spun DJ tunes. www.ayanaresort.com/rockbarbali

Ku De Ta on Seminyak Beach, Bali (Photo: John Garay)

2. Ku De Ta
Bali’s most iconic venue and pilgrimage point for sunset-seekers the island over, Ku De Ta comprises the quintessential Bali beach bar. A manicured lawn pocked by plush cushions, giant daybeds, and red parasols; a hopping garden deck; and several bar and restaurant nooks unfold just steps from Seminyak Beach. Cocktails are pricey, but showcase master mixology at its best—try the lip-smacking Vanilla Passion Foam (vodka infused with fresh vanilla beans, homemade vanilla syrup, passion fruit, and a dash of citrus), and stick around for top-notch gourmet global cuisine highlighting locally sourced ingredients. www.kudeta.net

Potato Head Beach Club on Seminyak Beach, Bali (Photo: Potato Head Beach Club)


3. Potato Head Beach Club
This hip and happening, 2-year-old bar on Seminyak Beach combines a lawn-covered courtyard littered with daybeds, beachfront infinity pool, trio of restaurants, and funky main bar with vintage furnishings to create an amphitheater-inspired layout. The space lends itself well to musical entertainment, with regular DJ appearances and occasional big-name headliners (like M.I.A. and Empire of the Sun) scheduled, and keeps the crowds coming with heavenly handcrafted cocktails, like the Kookaburra (a concoction of lemongrass gin, mixed with mint and lime, topped by passion fruit and vanilla foam). Plans for Potato Head’s new boutique hotel outpost are currently in the works. ptthead.com

WooBar at the W Hotel, Bali (Photo: W Retreat and Spa)

4. WooBar
It’s little surprise that the island’s first W Hotel would come equipped with one of Bali’s most sophisticated beachside hot spots. The glossy, three-floor affair, dubbed WooBar, is anchored on its sundeck area, where signature cocktails (like the I-Candy, with white rum, lime, and palm sugar, topped off with a ball of cotton candy), tasty tapas, and international DJ sets come paired with prime ocean views. The mod, minimalist decor is peppered with a coral reef-inspired main bar and a Hindu temple in the backdrop—a cinematic setting that warrants a “woo-hoo!” for WooBar. www.starwoodhotels.com

La Plancha on Seminyak Beach, Bali (Photo: John Garay)

5. La Plancha
Funky Seminyak beach shack La Plancha delivers a departure from the more scene-y and sophisticated beach bars on this list, with a laid-back, budget-friendly vibe that skips out on the froufrou cocktails and fancy bites, without skimping on the hip “it” spot vibe. Oversized beachfront bean bags come capped by colorful umbrellas, a DJ spins nightly beats, Mediterranean-inspired fare pleases palates, and free-flowing sangria helps fuel the fun, minus the pretense. www.laplanchabali.com