With a beautiful coastline, terraced rice paddies, and volcanic landscapes, Bali has always been a dream destination for many. And since it is a mostly Hindu island, it is also an open and accepting place for gay travelers.
This acceptance is never more evident than in Seminyak where four gay bars lie adjacent to one another.
Initially, Mixwell and Bali Joe’s both started out as straight bars, but after Mixwell made the switch, Bali Joe soon followed.
As with most siblings, the oldest does everything a bit better with the second oldest trying very hard to emulate his older brother. As a result, competition and rivalry is ever present between the two bars.
Mixwell’s décor is very Art Deco, with silver and white wallpaper, chandeliers, and a stylish bar area. It has a better lighting and sound system than Bali Joe’s. Both bars feature nightly drag shows and go-go dancers, but the performers at Mixwell perform better and the guys are hotter.
That being said, Bali Joe’s has the name recognition and for many patrons is just as good as Mixwell’s. It all comes down to a matter of taste. Bali Joe has a much better stage than Mixwell’s, and the space is wider, so it can hold more people.
It’s darker though, with mostly black walls, but it has more comfortable seating. Both bars have small areas for dancing which makes it a bit difficult to channel one’s inner John Travolta.
After 11pm, the two bars are equally crowded, and with the bars being adjacent, the crowd flows back and forth with ease, usually carrying their drinks (how they keep control of their glassware is a mystery). The staff at the bars is also very welcoming, and after only a couple of visits they will greet returning customers as long-time patrons.
Bottoms Up tries very hard to attract customers by using several employees to encourage people to enter, but the bar struggles to compete with its older brothers. Facebar fares the worse with few to no patrons. DIX Club, sandwiched between Mixwell and Bali Joe’s, has already closed.
It’s clear that this area is saturated since the other two bars struggle to keep up. It would be great if additional bars opened in other parts of Bali such as in the newly hip Canggu or even the over-developed and very straight Kuta area.
For now, though, visitors to Bali can relish in the sights and sounds of these bars. They all have a wonderful mix of gay, straight, old, young, white and Asian customers – making them a truly diverse and fun diversion.
Read More: Things To Do In Bali.
by Tod | On: Gay Bali