On any given night in Ibiza, all year round, Ibiza Town is the place to be. In the summer, it’s all about the front line of the port area and the parallel cobbled back streets of Sa Penya. Drinking under the stars and watching the OTT nightly club parades strut past; people watching in general is like a national pastime here. Meanwhile in winter it’s the warm outdoor heaters in Plaza del Parque and the cosy indoor bars on Vara de Rey that attract the crowds… and sometimes, it’s these more intimate venues where anything could happen - and quite frequently does!
I like to start my nights with a few drinks in the busy port. My first stop is always The Rock Bar (C/Cipriano Garijo, 14, La Marina; +34 971 310 129; www.therockbaribiza.com), for the best mojitos (made by the best bartender ever, Kev) and the coolest crowds. You’ll spy famous DJs like Andy Cato of Groove Armada or Maxi Jazz from Faithless spinning behind the decks on occasions. Jamiroquai has been known to pop by and, once a year, Kate Moss makes a point of propping up the bar. It’s not fancy, but it has serious cool factor.
Once I’m ready to escape the hustle and bustle of the port, I hit the back streets of town and make a beeline for Lo Cura (C/Antoni Mari Ribas, 4). It’s a tiny hole in the wall, run by the same folk as Boutique Hostal Salinas and it’s a place where you can get deep and meaningful with someone or totally hedonistic to the sounds of the DJ.
Elsewhere in Ibiza Town, I like to visit La Cava (Paseo Vara de Rey, 4; +34 971 316 074; www.lacavaibiza.com) for some modern tapas and cheap, cold beer as the afternoons become evenings. And I can’t go home at night without popping into La Bodega (Bisbe Torres Mayans; +34 971 192 740) for a nightcap.
Up in Dalt Vila, it’s lovely to sit under the stars at Red Bar (Sa Carossa, 4, Dalt Vila; +34 971 306 163), while just below the castle walls, the funky little Ispirto (C/Comte Rosello; +34 971 30 39 90) make amazing cocktails and just next door, the über stylish Teatro Pereyra (C/Comte Rosello 3; www.teatropereyra.com) offers a sophisticated sit-down vibe with live music.
The gay scene
The gay scene in Ibiza Town is notorious, and Calle De La Virgen is packed with gay-friendly bars flying the rainbow flag. At the base of the Dalt Vila walls is a collective of popular bars - rowdy and noisy and very colourful in summer. There’s Dome (Calle de Alfonso XII, 5; +34 971 311 456; www.dome.es) and Lola’s (C/ Alfonso XII, 11; +34 687 755 618), both great places to sit outside and get caught up in the excitement. Up in Dalt Vila is Anfora (C/San Carlos, 7, Dalt Vila), the island’s only exclusive gay only nightclub.
High above these bars, you’ll find my favourite open-air hideaway – though you have to ascend three flights of rickety old stairs to get there. Tira Palla (Calle Santa Lucia, 8; www.tirapalla.com) offers a relaxed environment and it's one of the only bars in town where you’ll hear rock and alternative music being played – albeit most of it harks back to the 1990s!
Just across the port is the jewel in the crown of Ibiza’s clubs, Pacha (Avenida Ocho de Agosto; +34 971 313 612; www.pacha.com), where Ibiza’s cognoscenti rub shoulders with celebs in the VIP area while passionate clubbers lose themselves on the dance floor.
The Pacha logo, a pair of cherries, is perhaps more synonymous with Ibiza than a picture of a Mediterranean beach! What was once an old farmhouse – originally opened in 1973 – is now one of the world’s most revered clubbing destinations, famous for its strict house music policy and also the only club in Ibiza to remain open all year round. The famous Pacha dancers are a sight to behold, dressed in different decadent costumes each night and performing spectacular routines that fall somewhere between modeling and acrobatics, while the world’s most famous DJs are behind the decks. The club’s VIP section is packed with the rich, famous and fabulous and clubbers cavort on the dance floor as dance music industry types and locals mingle on the roof terrace.
On Monday nights, the club is transformed into The Masquerade Motel for the Swedish House Mafia; Tuesdays alternate between Pacha Seduction, the club’s gay-friendly night with the best DJs from New York’s Def Mix such as David Morales and Frankie Knuckles spinning tunes and the club’s long-standing Flower Power event, a party that sees the entire club transformed with flowers, peace signs, placards (and the crowds get into the spirit with fancy dress too) and features only music from days gone by. Wednesdays are the domain of US house god Erick Morillo’s Subliminal Sessions and Thursdays are a sellout each and every week thanks to the hugely successful French party F*** Me I’m Famous by David and Cathy Guetta. Friday is the club’s flagship night, Pure Pacha, with guest DJs like Sasha and Sander Kleinenberg at the helm; Saturdays belong to UK house stalwarts Defected in the House and last but definitely not least, Sunday is home to the Cadenza Vagabundos, with DJ-of-the-moment Luciano playing till the early hours.
Expect to pay an entry fee of between 40 and 75 euros.
I suggest having a drink first in El Bar (Avenida Ocho de Agosto 8; +34 971 315 963), then crossing the road to the alternative mini-club Grial (Avenida 8 de Agosto; +34 971 31 46 39) before hitting the dance floor. Ibiza is all about the variety!
For more information on nightlife on the island, read my Ibiza nightlife page.