Kuta is the place to be if you want to party hearty. The action begins roughly at 10pm but really gets going around 11pm and lasts until dawn every night. Don't forget your sunglasses, you'll probably need them. Plenty of clubs and bars have their own unique style, although many are more alike than not.
One of the highlights of being in Kuta is the multitude of cultural performances on offer at many of the four-star hotels and restaurants. The Kuta Paradiso Hotel, Jl. Kartika Plaza, Tuban-Kuta. (tel. 0361/761414; www.kutaparadisohotel.com) features a nice variety of traditional dance performances with their theme night buffets, on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. The Legian Beach Hotel, Jl. Melasti (tel. 0361/751711; www.legianbeachbali.com), presents a gamelan orchestra with elegant Balinese dancers. Performances are also held at Banjar Tegal, Jl. Raya Legian (no phone; Rp50,000), every Saturday and Tuesday night at 8pm. Puppet performances (wayang kulit) can be seen in Banjar Buni, Jl. Raya Kuta (no phone; Rp50,000), Monday and Thursday night at 8pm.
Bars & Pubs
Peanuts' Pub Crawl, Jl. Legian and Jl. Melasti (tel. 0361/754226), is a great way to visit a few of Kuta's infamous watering holes. The crawl begins at Peanuts II, every Tuesday and Saturday. You get to ride in the historic Peanuts' car while barhopping. Peanuts also has a "Welcome to Bali" party every Thursday.
The sports bar at the Stadium Café, Jl. Kartika Plaza (tel. 0361/763100) ensures you always know the score of your favorite team while you're on holiday.
Down in Poppies Gang I, you'll find a myriad of small cheap bars, always full with crowds looking for less expensive food and drinks. The Nusa Indah (no phone) has been around since the heady days of the '70s, and nothing much has changed. You can still get super-cheap drinks, and you never quite know who you'll meet at the long bamboo bar.
Vibrant Q Bar, Jl. Dhyana Pura (tel. 0361/730927), throbs with DJ music, live drag shows, and an enthusiastic patronage of trendy gay men. It has video screens, a dance floor, and a stage. The extensive drinks menu has over 60 different exotic cocktails and shooters. Regular late-night live entertainment includes themed parties, drag shows, fashion shows, talent contests, look-alike contests, male model competitions, and masquerade balls. Shows usually begin around 11pm, but it is best to arrive early.
Jalan Melasti -- The aging Aussie Pub (tel. 0361/751910) is famous for its icy cold beer and is subsequently full of all beer-loving Australians, and then some. The walls are covered in graffiti, so while you're here you can leave your mark. Bali Rock (tel. 0361/754466), opposite the Aussie pub, keeps the live music rocking to appreciative crowds. Easy to find, it's the loudest bar on the street. If Sweet Child of Mine gets your blood pumping, then do drop in.
Jalan Double Six -- Bacio (tel. 0361/7566666; www.bacioclub.com) is a great venue offering music, cocktails, wine, and tapas. Take in views of Blue Ocean Beach from the outdoor bistro, or groove to the thumping beats inside with two DJ booths and an upstairs VIP member's only lounge. The stylish bar of De Ja Vu (tel. 0361/732777; www.myspace.com/dejavubeach) is best for a sunset cocktail. Later in the night things start getting funky and spunky. The small La Vida Loca (no phone) club packs them in for vodka drinks, with a great live band nightly, playing mostly Latino grooves. The crowds don't really get here till after 2am. Bring your sunglasses as well as your salsa moves as most La Vida Loca's party till sunrise.
Poppies Gang II -- The Bagus Pub (no phone) is busy day and night serving up ice-cold beers to the holiday brigade. Close to the night spots on Jalan Legian, it's great for meeting other holiday makers. Tubes (no phone) was established in 1986, at a time when surfers had very few places to hang out. No one anticipated just how fast the word would spread about this place by the constantly traveling surfers as they rode the waves to all the corners of the globe. Tubes is popular for playing pool and watching the feature and surf movies shown daily on a big screen. While here, enjoy some good food with a choice from two kitchens: Buffet style nasi campur from the traditional Indonesian kitchen, or "No Noodles . . . Western food for when you're all noodled out," offering pasta, pizzas, burgers, and baked potatoes. For an older-style Bali bamboo bar that gets raucous later at night, head to Crusoes (no phone). Pub-style food, drinks, and pool tables make this popular with the guys and their miniskirted cue-toting compatriots. The Double D Sports Bar (no phone) is an older sports bar that screens every imaginable game on the globe. The bar on the street seems to be just as busy during the heat of the day as it is in the heat of the night. Good pub food and drinks, and a friendly crowd. Opposite Sky Garden , the Engine Room (no phone) keeps the young tourist crowd revved up and accelerated. Think fuel-injected cocktails and live bands. It's always busy and a great pit stop for well oiled revelers.
Jalan Legian -- Paddys Bar (tel. 0361/758555) packs the crowds to the rafters nightly as DJs play the latest sounds to fired up backpackers. Buy-two-get-one-free specials keep the party moving in the right direction -- or not. Opposite Paddys and Bounty is the Espresso Bar & Pizzeria (tel. 0361/752576), a tiny older bar so crowded that the band stands out on the street to play. Cold beers flow and ensure any would-be rock stars are well oiled enough to brave belting out a number -- like Mustang Sally in c-flat. The first club along the strip to go five floors high, Sky Garden (tel. 0361/756362) is still one of the most popular any night of the week. The ground-floor base camp serves food all night long, while upstairs DJs crank out different styles of music depending on what floor you want your party plans elevated to. This is a great place to meet old friends and find some new ones if you are anywhere under your 30s. Vi Ai Pi (tel. 0361/750425; www.viaipiclub.com) is the more upmarket choice for an evening cocktail while watching the street scene unfold below. Towards 9pm it heats up even the most discerning of guests. The top floor has an air-conditioned billiard room.
Jalan Padma -- The Legian Pub (no phone) is another raucous night spot that starts early in the evening (some folks in there appear to have started a lot earlier). There is live music or karaoke most nights, and a super-friendly bar staff that also like to jump up and sing. Be sure to try the green starfish cocktails, but only with caution. It's hard to know if it's the clientele or the passing parade who are doing the posing at Posers (no phone), an English-style corner pub that makes a fine meeting place over a nice cold ale. On Jalan Sahadewa, the small road linking Jalan Padma and Jalan Melasti, Legends (tel. 0361/755376) is busy every night with the holiday crowd looking for good value drinks and food. There's a live band most nights, so if you can find your way to Jalan Sahadewa keep an ear out for the party noise -- you'll be sure to find it.
Kama Sutra (tel. 0361/761999) has become a local teenager hangout, at the north end of Kuta. Nightly shows feature local bands that love to do those tried-and-true cover songs; you won't find much or any original music in Kuta's clubs. The one exception is Hard Rock Hotel's Centerstage, Jl. Pantai Kuta (tel. 0361/761869), which occasionally features some good live acts, but it can get pretty crowded. Deejay Café, Jl. Pantai Kuta (tel. 0361/755661), is the only after club in Bali, located just behind Stars Surf Café. Their professional DJs and state-of-the-art sound system will get you in the mood to pump and grind on their huge dance floor.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.