As you might recall from your EDM worshipping college days (an unfortunate but valid throwback), Ibiza is the dance music capital of the world. A place that proudly bears a title like that makes it easy to assume that it’s an island full of neon-wearing, Tiësto-loving douchebags dancing to music 24 hours a day. But you’d be wrong; there’s way more to love there. Yes, Ibiza is known for its wild party scene and high social status which, of course, comes with an expensive price tag. It’s a Balearic Island off of Spain’s mainland, so it’s a hassle to get to and plane tickets don’t come cheap, especially since most places don’t offer direct flights there. Lodging is also astronomically costly and a bottle of water at some of Ibiza’s most elite day and night clubs costs $20 (no exaggeration and they’re small-ass bottles, FML). While the raging party scene might be the first thing that comes to mind from what you see on the ‘gram, the island’s real beauty lies in its sights and beaches.
First of all, Spain in and of itself is a place you need to visit in your lifetime. The food is unreal, the people are a vibe, and there are a crazy amount of cities to explore. Ibiza might seem like a skippable stop, but I highly recommend making it part of your trip, especially while you’re young (YOLO). The island truly is one-of-a-kind, and the vibes here are really unlike anywhere else. As much as I had planned for this stop on my trip to be just a place to let loose and enjoy the “scene”, I was surprised to learn how much musical history exists here, dating back to the mid 20th century. I also had no idea how family-friendly (granted, bougie AF families) the island was. It’s unfortunately a pricey travel destination no matter how you slice it, but IMO it’s well worth the splurge. It is super over-the-top, but it’s totally on-brand and everything you’d expect from “the mecca of dance music.”
So, all things considered, is the Ibiza hype real? Does the gorgeous scenery find some weird harmony with the raging parties and dance music scene? The answer is…
Yes. If You’re A Partier, Ibiza Is DEF Worth Visiting.
I might be past my prime party girl years, but TBH, I still enjoy a night out dancing to hype music from time to time. Even if that weren’t the case, the music in Ibiza is really f*cking incredible. Whether you’re eating at a chill spot on the water, or it’s 4am in a bass-blaring nightclub, the music you hear in Ibiza is next level. There’s a reason Ibiza is known as the capital of this genre, and why almost every top DJ currently has or once had a lengthy summer residency there. You can arrive absolutely hating it, but after hearing the wide variety of electronic music Ibiza offers, you’ll leave this Spanish island a (low-key) EDM fan.
Music is only half of it, though. The places you go to dance to these beats are truly where the party lies. There is nothing like an Ibiza party. I repeat: NOTHING like it. It’s often imitated but never duplicated. Below you’ll find a selection of the craziest day club options, and later on, I’ll list some chiller ones, if you’re trying to spend your days resting up pre- or post- a wild night out. Making reservations for daybeds at these spots is always a fun (and expensive) option, but not necessary by any means.
Day Clubs (For Raging)
Ushuaïa: A newer hotel that quickly became an Ibiza staple. Catch their signature ANTS party here every Saturday for a poolside day party that continues on well into the night.
Ibiza Rocks Pool Party: Known as the “home of the pool party” in Ibiza, this newly rebranded day club is always a wild time. Get a VIP table if you really want to party like a
O Beach: Dance away in their pool as acrobats dance above you. It’s extra, but pretty much everything about Ibiza is extra, so why not.
In all honesty, if you’re coming to Ibiza to party, it’s very likely that you won’t even make it to any of those dayclubs…. because you’ll be sleeping until 3pm. Don’t worry though, you’ll find much of this island will be on the same time as you. The real parties at the nightclubs don’t start up until 1 or 2am here (for real), so your sleep schedule will be totally out of whack. I def recommend making #TeamNoSleep moves and going to at least one day party while you’re there, though. As far as nightclubs go, there are a few that are classic Ibiza staples and others that are ritzy and new. Blending a nice mix of the two will give you the most authentic sense of the new and old club culture here (which is a huge element of the island, as ridiculous as it sounds).
Pro tip: take a look at the DJ schedules online to see if anyone you’re remotely into is playing. Getting tickets in advance is also def the move (and will motivate you not to bail when you get too tired to do your makeup after you shower).
DC10: This place is pretty no-frills by Ibiza standards, but it’s an OG Ibiza classic. If you’re trying to go here, def catch one of their signature CircoLoco parties.
Hï Ibiza: Hï is by far the most extra nightclub in Ibiza, and because of that, it is the most expensive one as well. But, I assure you, it is a must-visit. This superclub is designed with totally over-the-top decor, like an outdoor playground slide and a huge neon crystal draped tree. Oh, and the bathroom has its own DJ… and party. It’s the craziest f*cking bathroom you’ll ever pee in.
Amnesia: Another “classic” nightclub that’s been open since the 70s. Before there was a law that mandated all clubs close at 3am in this part of the island, you’d be able to catch the sunrise through the greenhouse-style ceiling as you dance away. RIP! Now you can just dance until 3am and go to sleep “early” like a normal human being.
Pacha: A landmark of sorts for clubbing culture in Ibiza. It’s a bit dated, yet still classic. Pacha’s double cherry logo has become an island-wide symbol for nightlife.
As I said earlier, the people are super nice everywhere (oddly enough, especially the club staff and bouncers). But you should still use your street smarts and know your crowd since pickpocketing is very common in most of Spain. The parties are some of the best you’ll ever go to, but, like anywhere else, you should know to be careful of sketchy people and never leave your belongings unattended.
Like everything else on the scene in Ibiza, even the restaurants know how to turn up. The restaurants listed below serve bomb Spanish food and party vibes galore. Since Ibiza’s prime season (and the only season I recommend visiting in) is the summer, the island gets hella crowded. It’s always a “fun crowded”, but it definitely affects a hot spot’s availability. Point being: you NEED to make reservations at these places. If you’re not a planner and miss out on these spots, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Cafe Mambo: This is my favorite restaurant on the planet. It’s located right on the beach and a big name DJ spins live music in a small booth near the dinner tables. The sunsets on this part of the island are so legendary that it’s a tradition for everyone to chant and clap once the sun finally goes down. I deadass got a tear in my eye as I experienced it because it was THAT beautiful and truly a magical moment. Ugh. K moving on… you will 100% need a res here, especially if you want a good table.
Destino: It’s hard for me to talk up these other two options after I just told you I cried watching the sunset at Mambo, but Destino is also an awesome time. It’s a huge venue you can’t miss that offers seven different menus to choose from for their lit dinner parties.
HEART: Dinner parties here have Cirque du Soleil-like performances and innovative eats. It’s also located in the marina, which is a cool area to go check out (aka stare in awe at million-dollar yachts while simultaneously fantasizing about winning the lottery.)
If You’re Over The Party Scene, Ibiza Is Still Absolutely Worth Visiting.
There’s a ton of culture, history, and scenic beauty that make Ibiza extremely vacation-worthy, even if you’re not a huge partier. You def won’t be forced to party your ass off if that’s not your thing, because there is plenty else to enjoy here. And let’s be real, with beaches this gorgeous, how can you be opposed?
Day Trip to Formentera
Formentera is a famous island off the coast of Ibiza. It’s about a 30-minute ferry ride away (they run pretty much every half hour, but keep your eye on the schedule for your return trip.) Spend your day hanging on the beach or riding scooters to explore the island’s distant bars and beaches. A lot of restaurants are located right on the beach and serve amazing authentic Spanish food. Throughout my entire two-week trip to Spain visiting four different cities, the best paella I had was at a restaurant called Beso Beach in Formentera. Def go there, but like everything else during a busy Ibiza summer, you’ll need to make a reservation in advance.
Explore Old Ibiza Town
A friend had told me I’d absolutely love the area of the island called “Old Ibiza Town”, so we decided to get our AirBnB there. While it was no shock that I wound up loving it, it did surprise me to learn how much music history it had. Throughout the 70s and 80s, big-time musicians like George Harrison vacationed here to visit Ibiza’s discothèque scene and celebrate music. You’ll notice the hippie history of the island is celebrated in a lot of places you’ll visit, but especially so in Old Town. The shopping here is absolutely incredible, with everything from chic boutiques to streetside booths. It’s a very family-friendly area of the island that also has a lot of small bars and local restaurants.
The Castle of Ibiza is located right in the heart of Old Town and is a solid hike, if that’s your thing. And while you’re up there, stroll the 2,000-year-old streets of Dalt Villa. And again, the sunsets are famous here for a reason (just make sure you’re on the right side of the island for it or else you’ll miss it)! San Antonio Bay is my personal favorite spot to catch a sunset. Make sure you also hit up the Marina Botafoch in Ibiza Town for a cocktail on the water.
Day Clubs (For Chillin’)
Nassau Beach Club: A clean, inviting beachside dayclub. Multitask sleeping off your hangover and getting a tan underneath the Spanish sun. Reservations recommended.
Blue Marlin: Blue Marlin has amazing food and drinks and daybeds that overlook the beach. The vibe goes from chill to lit around 5pm, so stay late if all that relaxing in the sun gets your energy in the mood to party.
Nikki Beach: You can never go wrong at the world famous Nikki Beach. I mean, who could hate a day club with a pool on a beach?
Sa Capella: It’s a former church, so eating within Sa Capella’s dining room’s stone walls will have you feeling fancy af. I guarantee you’ll love pretty much everything they’re serving too (if only the holy vibes could make the calories you consume not count).
Calma Bistró: A scenic restaurant serving some of Spain’s favorites right on the marina.
Fish Shack: Ok, so this is not glamorous in any way because it is quite literally a waterfront shack… that only serves fish. But it is the absolute best fish you’ll EVER have. Everything served that day is freshly caught in the morning and written on a plain chalkboard menu. Not only is the food to die for, but DJs frequent this place like crazy, so expect to catch some star power here.
All in all, Ibiza is a gorgeous island with a party scene pulse that can’t be topped. Whether you decide to keep your itinerary chill or lit, the people of Ibiza will always make a vacation here special. There are welcoming, interesting people everywhere you go, so let loose with the people around you and celebrate the good life together (or act like you got it like that.) The Ibiza hype is real indeed, and as you can def tell by now, I’m a big fan of it. Sure, your bank account (and your dignity) might be hurting after you get home, but do like the Spanish do. YOLO.
- Shop and stroll through the shops in Ibiza town if you want a more chill day, or get the party started early at Ushuaïa
- Dinner at Fish Shack (it’s cash only!)
- Walk off dinner with a 15 minute stroll along the bay to catch the sunset at Nobu Hotel
- Head out for the night and into the early hours of the morning at DC10
- Ferry to Formentera for the day—the ferry is 30 mins & runs pretty much every half hour
- Hang on the beach all day, or rent scooters at some point to explore the island’s beaches
- Enjoy a late lunch at Beso Beach (be sure to make a reservation here)
- Catch the sunset at Playa de Ses Illetes (the world’s best beach—30 min walk from Beso)
- Take ferry back to Ibiza (keep your eye on the ferry schedule times!) and get ready to go out at HI
- Try out a beach club during the day at Experimental Beach or have lunch in Old Ibiza Town, followed by hiking Castle de Ibiza
- Head to Cafe Mambo for music and dinner (reservations are a must to score a table)
- Go out at Amnesia
- Lunch and day drink the day away at Blue Marlin (reservations highly recommended) or if you want a break from partying, have a scenic lunch on the water at Calma Bistró and explore the rest of Puerto de Ibiza
- Nap on the beach and get your tan on
- One last night out at Ushuaïa
Images: Pawel Kazmierczak/Shutterstock
Look, sometimes life is hard and the light at the end of the tunnel is actually just a giant drink. And I’m not using that term generously like I do to the guy I’m seeing—I really mean “giant” here because the kind of beverage I’m talking about is usually served in what I can only imagine is a fish bowl. If sharing a huge cocktail with six friends isn’t your cup of tea, then you must like gross-tasting tea, because what could be more fun than creating pure Instagram gold? Nothing. So, if you live in New York and want to put your money towards something that isn’t rent for a change, check out these places that understand the delicate balance of crafting a cocktail using an entire bottle of liquor that won’t kill you if you finish it. Remember, sharing is caring, so do not attempt to down the drink on your own, or you will likely die of alcohol poisoning. Ya hate to see it. Anyway, if your interest is piqued, read on for our favorite local NYC bars serving up giant cocktails you can and should split with your friends.
It may be cold af outside, but that does not mean rooftop bars aren’t an option anymore. A.R.T. SoHo is on the roof of the Arlo SoHo, which is a hotel in, you guessed it, SoHo. It is, however, so far west that it doesn’t feel like you’re in the violently crowded, loud, touristy part of SoHo. Because this place is basically in the Hudson River, the views are truly amazing. I’m not usually ~moved~ by views of the city that’s taking all of my money, but being at eye-level with the Freedom Tower is really cool.
Anyway, let’s talk about the only drink you should order here, the passionfruit and pineapple punch. I am finally over my frat house-induced fear of anything with the word “punch” in it, so I can happily recommend this cocktail that is made with 62 ounces of Hennessy and 62 ounces of rum. All I gotta say is, challenge accepted. The ingredients that make it a punch—as opposed to a 124-ounce shot—include pineapple juice, lemon juice, cinnamon syrup, triple berry shrub, passionfruit syrup, and lastly, hibiscus tea because it’s classy. It’s recommended for anywhere between two to six people, but you better be two giant people if you plan on finishing this bad boy on your own.
Hey, guess where this bar is? If you guessed on the rooftop of a hotel, you are correct! Tbh I am a fan of this place on top of the Moxy Hotel because it’s a good mix of a bar and a club, which means you can talk to people or dance, whatever you feel like. You can also sit back and relax with a drink that arrives in a disco ball and serves a minimum of 10 people. A minimum! So, if you have 10 friends (quit bragging), definitely get a table and order up. The drink is called Disco Ball for All, which sounds like a fun spin on socialism, but I’m into it! It’s a red wine sangria, fruit punch mix, so if you don’t like very sweet, fruity drinks, this guy may not be for you. But if you like having fun with a creative cocktail, bottoms up!
This is another downtown haunt that looks like it was designed with Instagram in mind—and I mean that in the best way. The interiors have a very Art Deco vibe and, unlike most downtown bars, there are plenty of places to sit, which is great for five people crowding around what looks like a serving bowl filled with alcohol. The Thundergun Express is a vodka-based drink that’s also made with…milk! Look, my mom used to make us have milk with dinner every night, so if I can drink it with tacos, you drink it in a cocktail. Truth be told, you don’t even taste the milk because five entire bottles of vodka are in the Thundergun Express. Yeah, you read that right. Five. Bottles. There’s also chartreuse, pisco, lime juice, pineapple juice and the bar’s homemade version of simple syrup. One more time: there are five bottles of vodka in this drink, so do not go it alone, people.
Ah, another rooftop bar. Can you tell this is my vibe? This one is on top of Dream Hotel’s Midtown location, and the Moscow Mule is no f*cking joke. There are two versions of the 10-pound drink and both are truly delicious. They’re called Mega Mules, and one is tequila-based and the other is vodka-based. As you can guess based on the weight of this thing, it’s $185, but think about it: if you share it with five of your friends (which you should because it is 10 pounds, again), you’re each only paying 30 bucks, which is actually pretty affordable. In true mule fashion, it’s served in a giant copper mug and impossible to lift, so you’ll want to get a bunch of long-ass straws and get really intimate with the people next to you.
This place is like the Lush of restaurants. You walk in, are hit with a tsunami of smells and sparkly things to look at, and right when your sensory overload-induced migraine arrives, you’re already sitting down and ordering one of the signature Goblets. You can get them with or without alcohol, but unless you’re underage, I don’t see why you wouldn’t get the alcoholic version. There are seven varieties of Goblet, but the one that spoke to me most was Berry Bliss, which is made with strawberry rum, blueberry vodka, fresh berries and, of course, gummy berries, because let’s not forget that this place is essentially a candy store. Tbh, if you have a sense of humor, this could be a really fun place to have birthday party. Just sayin’.
I thought the bougiest part of this place was its name, but then I visited their website and I stand corrected! If you can believe it, Clover Club is not in Midtown, but rather, in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. Just based on the way it looks, CC seems like the kind of place Trey MacDougal would hang out pre-Charlotte. The walls are cherrywood panels, the booths are burgundy tufted leather, and the lights are barely on. Contrary to how I’m making it seem, I actually really like this place because it has a very Old New York feel to it. The only element that feels very now are the punches, which is served in what I can only assume is an antique crystal bowl with scalloped edges. I mean, is this not the most beautiful way to drink punch? There are also slices of fruit floating atop the concoction, which just makes me want to photograph it instead of drink it, honestly. There are two kinds of punches here: the harvest punch, which is made with rum, cognac, mulled cider, Licor 43, Jamaican rum and lemon; and the nice pear punch, which is made with Pisco, pear eau de vie, pear liqueur, lemon, Moscato d’Asti, Aromatic bitters. Seriously, yum.
Images: A.R.T. SoHo courtesy of ArloSoHo; Clover Club photo by Daniel Krieger; thesugarfactory, phdterraceny, misterparadisenyc, magichourny / Instagram; Unsplash