Unlike other parts of Indonesia, Bali revels in both drinking and nightlife. From coffee and fresh juices to the iconic ice-cold Bintang beer and all manner of fruity tropical cocktails, there's something to quaff for every taste and mood. And where to drink is even more varied, from beachside cafes to high-concept nightspots, you're never far from a venue and some fun.
If there's a beach there's likely a beer vendor nearby to sell you a cold one while the sand tickles your toes. If you'd like something more posh, stylish and popular, beach venues can be found from Seminyak to Kerobokan and Canggu. No matter where you are, though, you're likely not too far from a typically mellow Bali cafe, where fresh juices, great coffee and various adult drinks will be on offer. Long after dark, luxe clubs and hip hang-outs can be found from Seminyak to Canggu. Go south to Kuta for legendary, raw-edged all-night partying.
Beer drinkers are well catered for in Bali thanks to Indonesia's ubiquitous crisp, clean national lager, Bintang. Bali Hai beer sounds promising, but isn't.
Wine connoisseurs had better have a fat wallet. The abundance of high-end eateries and hotels has made fine vino from the world's best regions widely available but it is whacked with hefty taxes. Medium-grade bottles from Australia go for US$50.
Of the local producers of wine, the least objectionable is Artisan Estate, which overcomes the import duties by bringing crushed grapes from Western Australia. Hatten Wine, based in north Bali, has gained quite a following among those who like its very sweet pink rosé. Two Islands also has a following.
At large social gatherings, Balinese men might indulge in arak (fermented wine made from rice or palms or…other materials) but generally they are not big drinkers. Watch out for adulterated arak, which is rare but can be poisonous.
Local nonalcoholic refreshments are available from markets, street vendors, some warungs and many cafes. They are tasty and even a little psychedelic (in colour) – and without the hangover! One of Bali's most popular drinks is cendol, an interesting mix of palm sugar, fresh coconut milk and crushed ice, with various other flavourings and floaties.
Coffee & Tea
Many Western eateries sell imported coffees and teas alongside local brands, some of which are very good.
The most expensive – and most overhyped – is Indonesia's peculiar kopi luwak. Around 200,000Rp a cup, this coffee is named after the catlike civet (luwak) indigenous to Sulawesi, Sumatra and Java that feasts on ripe coffee cherries. Entrepreneurs initially collected the intact beans found in the civet's droppings and processed them to produce a supposedly extra-piquant brew. But now that interest in coffee luwak has exceeded all reason, trouble abounds, from fraudulent claims to documented animal mistreatment.