Live music is where its at for me, and Bali has some venues that make an effort to promote live music.
Here are some of those.
Apache Bar – Jl. Legian, between Poppies I & II. Live reggae band knocking out Marley classics.
B Couple – Jl. Kartika Plaza in Tuban. Keyboard and singer.
Bounty – Jl. Legian between Poppies I & II. This place is party spot for groups on package tours, who chuck gallons of ‘jungle juice’ down their throat. Balinese bands do their best to master an array of popular songs.
Cafe Wayang – Bypass Sanur. Local bands
Espresso Bar – Jl. Legian, between Poppies I & II. Live Balinese band creating lively / crowded atmosphere.
Hard Rock Cafe – Jl. Pantai Kuta. Separate from hard rock Hotel. Rock, punk featuring Balinese, Indonesian bands.
Hard Rock Hotel – Jl. Pantai Kuta. Centerstage is an elevated stage in the middle of a huge bar. A resident band bangs out favourites. Popular with Asian tourists.
Jazz Bar & Grill – Bypass Sanur. Famous jazz spot, that sometimes has famous Indonesian performers.
JP’s Warung – Jl. Dhyana Pura. Some great Indonesian guitarists performing in duo’s and bands.
Jazz Cafe Ubud – Jl. Sukma Ubud. Loungy place and really the only place until recently, that you’d consider a nightspot in Ubud.
Kama Sutra – Jl. Pantai Kuta. Gets some famous Indonesian singers and bands.
Kori Restaurant – Poppies II, Kuta. Live music from local performers in a lounge / restaurant atmosphere. Traffic Report is a band that plays there featuring a great guitarist, and awesome female vocalist.
Jaya Pub – Jl. Seminyak, close to junction of Jl. Double Six. This place has a ‘Cheers‘-like bar, as soon as you enter you will be invited to sit at the bar. Definitely a different scene, with Indonesians from Jakarta, older Euro’s and Aussies and indonesian bands.
Maccaroni – Various stlyes ranging from Latin to World Music.
Obsession – Jl. Dhyana Pura. Has a Cuban night as well as other offerings.
Ozigo Bar – Jl. Sanggingan, Ubud. Carnival band and other local bands, plus DJ.
Santa Fe – Jl. Dhyana Pura, Seminyak. Live music 7 nights week. Indonesian bands, playing popular rock.
Sector Bar – Jl. Hang Tuah Sanur. Local Balinese bands
The Wave – Jl. Pantai Kuta. Great location on the beach, with deck, restaurant and band.
Zappaz – Jl. Oberoi, Seminyak. Close to KuDeTa / Rumours. Bar / restaurant that has rock bands. This place might not look like a music venue, but I’ve seen some very good musicians here.
So there you have it, there are many places where you can potentially see live music. Many of the party places in Bali prefer using DJ’s, as they can set up their system, crank up the volumn and entertain 600 people. I find a lot of the local Balinese bands limit themselves, by singing purely cover tunes. You can find excellent musicians and singers though. Each of the places mentioned above has a changing line-up of bands, so be sure to check with them, if you are picky.