After reading raving reviews about Bali’s Rock Bar, visiting this bar was high on my bucket-list.
The Rock Bar is located at Jimbaran and part of the Ayana Resort & Spa Bali.
(On the same vast, beautiful grounds is Rimba Jimbaran Bali Hotel, also part of the Ayana group. You can expect my review of Unique, one of this hotel’s bars, soon.)
Review Rock Bar Bali
No reservations possible
We tried to make a reservation, but found out quickly that, unfortunately, the Rock Bar does not take reservations.
The main attraction is the location and spectacular sunsets, so it’s important to get a spot with a good view. Since it can get busy and since hotel guests get priority, it is advised to arrive 15 minutes before the bar opens, which is at 16.00.
We planned to have drinks and dinner, while enjoying the sunset (around 19.00), so we would have preferred to arrive at around 18.00, instead of at 15.45.
It was very, very hot that day and we would rather have chilled a bit longer in the shade next to our hotel-pool. Because of the no reservation policy that was not possible for us if we wanted to assure good seats.
Tiny, slow funicular creates long queues
So we arrived at 15.45. The Rock Bar is located much lower than the hotel, so to get down, you have to take a funicular. The thing is teeny-tiny, only taking about 5 people at once, going down (and back up) rea—lly slow—ly.
Did I mention that it was bl**dy hot that day? And that there was no shade while waiting for the funicular to take us down? Yes, the staff was nice, handing out umbrellas to provide a bit of shelter from the sun. Still.
No shade, no fans
Anyhow, after a 15-minute wait we got down and were escorted to our seats. Certain prime-seating areas were for hotel-guests only, but our spot was not bad either.
Only, there was no shade. Nowhere. No shelter at all from that burning sun. No fans, no breeze, no parasols, nothing.
The only relief came from -again- umbrellas that were handed out by the staff. That worked a bit. Sort of. But it felt inadequate and ‘poor’, for a super-expensive place like the Rock Bar.
Like ourselves, we saw everyone around us struggling with the heat. Sweating, their faces turning red from overheating, juggling their umbrellas in desperate need for some shade.
We kept asking for fresh ‘wet towels’ that we laid in our necks in order to cool down a bit.
Spectacular location and lay out
The Rock Bar is huge! It can host up to 700 people.
The restaurant-bar stretches out over and around the cliffs in the most playful way. With higher and lower levels, with areas close to the cliff wall and parts sticking out over the sea.
At one point, to get from one part of the immense bar to another, you even have to take the stairs THROUGH the rocks.
Quite impressive, I must admit.
I don’t know how it is during party hours, but while we were there, the music was very pleasant and not too loud or anything.
Other than the music, it’s quiet and peaceful at the Rock Bar. In front of you is a calm, almost empty sea.
A relaxing sight, isn’t it?
Food and beverages
As expected, F&B is very expensive here. I don’t mind that for a one-time visit, because I see it more as paying for ‘an experience’ than just for food and drinks. But if I pay crazy prices, then I DO want it to be good. Real Good!
So was it Real Good? No, not really. It was ok at most.
First I ordered champagne, which turned out to be flat. When I complained, they took it back without discussion and gave me a fresh one.
Later on, I ordered a strawberry daiquiri. It tasted like watery lemonade. Again I complained. This time there was a discussion, them trying to convince me that it was supposed to be like this. Come on! I know my daiquiris and the good ones don’t taste like weak lemonade. In the end they gave me a new one in which I tasted a bit of alcohol.
The food was good, but not that special.
We were not lucky. The whole week that we were in Bali, clouds came in at the end of the day and the sunsets were much less beautiful than normally over there. When we were at Rock Bar, the sunset was not spectacular, but still pretty.
When we left, the queue for the funicular was crazy! We were told that the waiting time was more than half an hour. So when we found out that there are also stairs going up to the hotel grounds, we decided to take those. That went a lot faster, but it was a loooooong, steep, exhausting climb, especially in that temperature!
To recommend or not?
The only reason that I would recommend visiting the Rock Bar is for it’s location and lay-out.
Also: the grounds of the Ayana Resort & Spa and neighboring Rimba Jimbaran Hotel are really something else. Beautifully landscaped , with pools, ponds, seating-, lounging- and dining-areas all over the place. You can easily spend a whole day there, walking around, sitting down here and there, having a coffee, a lunch or a cocktail and so on.
Tip: I’m not sure wether not-hotel guests can use the pools. I would definitely find that out before heading over, since their pools are so beautiful and special. Bring your swimwear, just in case.