Note: This article was written by a reader who lives in Canggu and wishes to stay anonymous. It is purely informative and it is not intended to promote partying during the pandemic.

Bali has changed dramatically since March 2020: Kuta, Legian, Nusa Dua, and Ubud are now almost deserted and many businesses there have closed down. Walking around in these areas feels like visiting a zombie land.

On the other hand, Canggu (and Seminyak to a lesser extent) are currently thriving, especially at night. You can have drinks, socialize, and dance in crowded bars or nightclubs almost any night of the week.

There is an official curfew at 10pm, and venues are supposed to enforce social distancing rules, but in reality, very few precautions are taken and you can party until morning.

Some things have changed, though.

In most clubs, the main entrance is closed after 10pm so you have to go in through the backdoor or the side door (sometimes through the kitchen like in Da Maria or Shishi). Also, it is now usually mandatory to keep your phone in a box at the reception, or at least to block the camera lens with a piece of black tape. This is obviously a way to prevent customers to upload party pics on their social media.

Why are there still tourists in Seminyak/Canggu?
Despite the traveling restrictions affecting the island, there is actually a sizeable community of foreigners staying in Bali these days. Some are residents from before the pandemic, such as myself, while others are more recent arrivals.

Among them, you can find many expats who used to live in Jakarta and moved here, temporarily, because they can now work from home.

You also have thousands of tourists (especially Russians) and digital nomads who take advantage of Indonesia's relaxed rules regarding the deliverance of business visas. It is now well-known that they are easy to obtain from the immigration authorities, as long as you are sponsored by an agent and pay a fee between IDR 4 and 10M. As a result, Indonesia is probably the easiest country to get into in Southeast Asia at the moment.

Finally, the number of Indonesian tourists is also significant, especially on weekends. From my observation, they tend to prefer partying in Seminyak (in Mirror, La Favela, or Motel Mexicola).

Canggu Nightlife: Where to Party?
Canggu is a growing area that covers basically the north of Jalan Batu Belig (Kerobokan/Seminyak) up to Jalan Pererenan. It is popular with young foreigners in their early 20s to mid-thirties, including surfers, digital nomads, influencers, gap-year travelers, backpackers, and probably some rich kids with nothing else to do than partying.

Clubs, bars, cafés, and restaurants, are spread out along the main streets, and more particularly Jalan Batu Bolong, Jalan Pantai Berawa, Jalan Semat, Jalan Subak Sari, or Jalan Nelayan. Generally speaking, the closer you go from the beach, the more fancy/trendy the venues are.

It can take some time to go from one street to the other as the roads are still tiny and in bad condition. Most people drive a scooter or use online drivers (GoJek or Grab) to go from one place to the other. It is quite fun at the moment because there are almost no traffic jams. Also, there are still some rice fields, making the atmosphere much more enjoyable compared with Kuta, Legian or even Seminyak.

Nightlife in Canggu is constantly changing. The bars and clubs that are happening today will probably be gone within a year or two. Some venues are also only busy for just one weekly event (for instance Morabito on Fridays), or when they organize a special party. For this reason, don't hesitate to ask around for nightlife recommendations. You can also follow some nightlife accounts on Instagram such as "Badass Bali".

At the time of writing, the best bars and clubs in Canggu are the following:

This is a unique space, located in the middle of nowhere, and built from recycled wood planks. It features a large open-air café with a stage for performance and a small party room. It looks quite bohemian/artsy and they have some cool events every weekend. The music range from hip-hop to techno, so check in advance their Instagram to make sure you'll enjoy it. If you are a guy, there is an IDR50K "donation" to enter that allows you to get one free drink.

This large, modern, semi-open tavern serves its own brewed beer. It gets most busy on Friday night before 10pm, but it is nice to visit it during the day as well for drinking or eating (including their delicious BBQ Pork Ribs).

This is a weekly event every Friday in the luxury hotel Morabito Art Villas. Chic party with rich guests, almost all foreigners in their 30s or 40s. The music is generally deep house or electronic. The first drink charge is IDR200k.

The type of minimalist nightclub that you would find in Berlin. It starts to get busy around midnight until 4am. The entrance fee for guys is 100k with a drink. Music is either techno or hip-hop.

This is a pop-up bar next to Old Man's (which is temporarily closed). They have a popular Caribbean/Afro/Latin night on Fridays. 

Also popular at the moment (check their Instagram for events):
The Shady Pig: A speakeasy bar with live music
Finn's / St Tropez: Huge beach club and restaurant
Lola's Canteen: Mexican restaurant
Luigi's Hot Pizza: Live music on Wednesday
Backroom at Mason's: Techno room busy on weekends

Seminyak Nightlife: Where to Party?
Seminyak nightlife is still going strong, even though it is nowhere as busy as it was before COVID-19.

The main party areas are still Jalan Petitenget, Jalan Kayu Aya (Oberoi), and Jalan Camplung Tanduk (Dyana Pura).

Here are the current hotspots:

Certainly the most crowded nightclub in Bali at the moment, it has 3 floors, with different DJs, that play mostly Top 40, R'n'B, EDM, and Latin hits. They have a crazy ladies' night on Wednesday where the ratio of girls/guys is probably around 70/30. Girls get free drinks and food, guys have to pay a first drink charge of IDR150k. There are many prostitutes among the girls, though. It reminds me of SkyGarden in Kuta.

La Favela, with its unique design and theme, is still popular among Indonesians. People now tend to gather around the main bar, near the DJ. The music is commercial and the prices are quite expensive. They've opened an upstairs room called Attika which is only available on weekends.

Also an old favorite of Indonesian tourists, this nightclub is designed like a church. It's best to visit it with a group of people and to book a sofa/table. Dress well if you want to get in (no shorts, no sandals accepted).

Other nightlife venues to try in Seminyak:

Motel Mexicola: Mexican-themed restaurant and bar
Red Ruby, Warehouse, Opera: Techno nightclubs
Bali Joe and Mixwell: Gay clubs
Who's Your Daddy: A happening party twice a week
Da Maria: Great party on Sunday nights in this upscale pizzeria
40 Thieves: Hidden bar on Petitenget

Please comment below about your favorite spots for partying in Canggu and Seminyak!

9 comments to '' Canggu and Seminyak Nightlife (during COVID-19) "

  1. Interesting White privileged ghetto.
    But as a lower middle-class i have to stay in down-market places, preferably in Jakarta among Indonesian people.

    1. There are plenty of Indonesians, or even Africans, who party in Bali. It is not "whiteness" that gives the right to party or not, but money.

      Maybe you could party more if your government was not collecting 200% taxes on alcohol?

    2. Middle class Indonesians feel strong social pressure to stay out of the tourist areas. The worse things that go on in Bali are well-known to the Muslims, and the worse things that happen on Java aren't often discussed.

  2. Now in early Aug 2021 all the clubs like Shishi and La Favela are closed. They've been closed for about a month. Some bars that also serve food are open like Forge but they have to close at 9pm though I think some do the hidden entrance thing. I've heard that Mirror is doing this but not sure.

    You should note that Canggu is only good if you want to party with 80-90% bules. It's like you are in Europe or something. I personally avoid that place, it's hell on Earth.

    During Covid the best thing to do in Bali is have a villa party.

    1. During Covid the best thing to do in Bali is have a villa party.

      Spoken like a true priviliged digital nomad
      How about stay at home alone and not spread the virus anymore? Can you manage that for a few weeks so we can all get back to normal? People like you are contributing to the spread, not helping to stop it

    2. for a few weeks? get back to normal? in which manipulated dream world are you living?

  3. Bali sux. More expensive than Jakarta for accommodation and the women there are all tatted up beach bum types or Instagram whores.

  4. An quick update in early 2022 on some new happening places they have opened in Canggu & Seminyak since this article was first written.

    "Behind the Green Door" is a new club opened in Canggu on Gang Bamboo off Jl Subak Sari. (next to Permata Bank opposite Folie French Restaurant). It gets very busy on the weekends especially Friday night with their after party for Morabito with good house and techno music playing. They also have a Hip Hop/R&B night on Weds. There is no signage from the road but look for a queue and security at a large wooden green door.

    "Ivy Lounge" is a new fancy cocktail bar and restaurant located on the second floor at the busy intersection of Jl Pantai Berawa and Jl. Raya Semat in Berawa. It's popular with rich Indonesian and celebrities as well as Expats looking for a more upscale experience in Canggu. It's busiest Thursday, Friday & Saturday night.

    "The Shady Fox" from the Shady group is a new Speakeasy located in Jl Tukad Pingai, Pererenan Beach opposite the Woods Cafe. It's a similar concept to the original sister bar The Shady Pig with a secret unmarked entrance and password required to get in with great original cocktails and underground deejays spinning mostly house and techno tunes till very late.

    You can find all three places on Instagram to check their opening hours, events schedules, DJ's playing and book tables or guestlist.

  5. What is the nightlife like at the moment? Is it picking back up in Canggu and Kuta?