Located in the glamorous beach club town of Canggu, Pretty Poison is a far cry from the other nightlife venues found in this little surf town. Grungy, minimalistic, and raw, Pretty Poison is on the completely opposite side of the spectrum from places like The Lawn or La Brisa.
For one thing, the crowd is here to have fun and enjoy themselves. As much as I enjoyed treating myself to a taste of the good life, it did not feel authentic. Don’t get me wrong, the places were beautiful and extravagant but those kinds of places are frustratingly ruined by the people that go there.
I sound whiny for complaining that I can’t have a nice place all to myself but hear me out. The people posted up at the beachside clubs with their infinity pools don’t really seem like they are there to have fun. Some will spend the majority of the night trying to flex on Instagram and other social media.
Look where I am, everybody! Be jealous!!!
Oh hey everyone else here. Don’t mind me as I walk all over the infinity pool’s ledge and arch my butt out!*
*for six hours!
That’s fine if there are just a couple of people doing that. But with Bali’s obnoxiously Instagram-fueled culture, almost everyone is doing that. Go to any infinity pool and half of the people are just there to take pictures. They go to a pool and won’t even hop in the pool. Pools are fun, yo. Go swimming. Get your hair wet. There’s more to life than fake enjoying yourself on Instagram. It’s like everyone is just putting on the facade of enjoying themselves to show off for people who don’t actually care. They get a bigger rush from their Instagram pictures than actually being there.
The appeal of Pretty Poison is that there is no appeal. It does everything a club needs to get right and nothing more. It has a DJ spinning bangers that get the entire crowd going. It has $2 beers and strong cocktails. It’s got bathrooms, a bar, and a big outdoor area for everyone to hang out. The basics and nothing more. I don’t even have any real pictures of it because there is nothing particularly photogenic about it.
It doesn’t have an infinity pool, artificial lawns, posh furniture, excessive decor, fancy cocktail glasses. It doesn’t need to have any of that stuff. It does what it needs to do and it does it damn well. The only decoration you will find at Pretty Poison are Playboy Covers plastered on the wall leading to the bathroom. A plain picture of David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix greet you in either bathroom. A Led Zeppelin quote from Going To California is painted on the wall behind the bar. Aside from those, the only real thing going on inside the actual club is the giant projector replaying skate highlights from who knows where. There’s no rhyme or reason to why it’s there aside from their motto (and Wi-Fi password) Skate or Die.
I haven’t even gotten to the real highlight yet. The skate bowl. If you need to take a quick break from the packed dance floor, just walk two feet outside to catch skaters taking on Pretty Poison’s skate bowl. Whether the skaters are good or bad, you’ll catch a show regardless. Even if you know nothing or have no interest in skating, it is such a unique experience that you probably won’t find in any Western country. The liability would be way too much for a nightclub to have that kind of thing going on, so make the most of it while you are here. There are a lot of times where I just think “there’s no way this would be legal in the U.S.” I think that every few minutes at Pretty Poison and I love it.
Unfortunately, the music at Pretty Poison shuts down pretty early by most people’s standards. Around midnight, the music stops and people migrate to the later nightlife spots. The skate show does go on and you can keep buying drinks (I think). The crowd should still be pretty big so even just hanging around here can be fun, music or not.
Although you probably won’t be starting your night out at 4 PM, Pretty Poison does open pretty early and is a good place to hang out during the day as well. I’ve never made it in before the music started spinning but I can imagine that it is just as fun during the day as it is at night. I’ve gone to Pretty Poison either completely sober or mostly sober every time and just get amped from the energy of everyone else.
There are few places in Bali that have the character that Pretty Poison has. Part of it is the nightclub itself but a lot of that personality is definitely driven by the individuality of each of their patrons. If you’re looking to meet the coolest people in all of Bali, look no further.