Drinking is an integral part of most people’s visit to Ayia Napa, and there are literally hundreds of bars catering to the thirst of customers. Whatever your preference on the day, chances are you can find exactly the kind of drinking establishment you want. There are English-style pubs, trendy wine bars, student drinking holes and beachfront cocktail shacks. Happy hour seems to have no limit and drink prices can be very affordable in certain places, at certain times.
During the day, most of the drinking is done in the modest beach shack bars that line the main beaches in town, like Nissa and Grecian Bay. These open-air bars are casual affairs featuring cheap beer and cocktails in plastic cups with the occasional afternoon entertainment, like sexy dancing contests and bikini shows. The best thing about these bars is their proximity to the beach. They are literally right on the sand between the beach and Nissa Avenue so you never have to walk far for a cold beverage.
After the sun goes down, the bars in town take over. These range from standard drinking pubs to dance bars. The more casual pubs stay open throughout the evening, catering to families and older travellers who don’t plan on partying until the sun comes up. Dancing is not a part of these venues, though music is often piped in at a reasonable volume. UK travellers will recognise these bars as a friendly place to grab a dinner and a pint and catch the football when it is on.
Families are a major component of the tourist crowd in Ayia Napa, so many bars go out of their way to provide a kid-friendly atmosphere. Places like Senor Frogs provide games and live shows of a family nature, while pubs like Tommy’s or the Queen Vic always have television or sports programmes on. Some bars even create special kid sections where the young ones can cut loose and romp around. Bedrock, with its Flintstone-inspired ambiance, is a literal playground for kids. Every bar in town is relatively calm and quiet until 22:00 or 23:00, when the rowdies begin to come out.
Drinking in Ayia Napa can be cheap or expensive. There are two main areas where visitors can reliably find low prices on drinks. Heading away from The Square, along the main strip, there are a number of bars with cheap drinks like Sea Cavern, Craig’s and Simos Magic. Head in the other direction from The Square, towards the harbour, and there is another cluster of affordable drinking spots such as Sea Horse, Tommy’s and the Golden Arrow. These are modest pubs that serve food and serve families around dinner time.
If ambiance is important, there are lots of classy bars in town with cool atmospheres and more sophisticated crowds. In these bars, the furniture is comfortable, the tables clean and the drinks made with alcohol brands you can recognise. This class of bar is multiplying fast as Ayia Napa evolves from a drunken party hub to a cosmopolitan beach resort town. Drinks here are only a bit more expensive than at other places, and are very good value. Expect a nice mix of age and nationality in bars like Pepper, Liquid Café and Jello.
The real bars don’t even open until 22:00, but they get going quickly. The hub of night-time action centres around the town’s main square, with a large selection of bars pumping out music at very loud volumes. This is the party zone, where people warm up for the nightclubs that open at 01:00, and sitting down is not allowed. Expect to see scantily-clad dancers on the bar, lots of drinking and plenty of flirting.
It is hot in the summer in Ayia Napa, even at 02:00 in the morning. The party is never confined to the bars and clubs, but inevitably spills out onto the streets around the town centre. You can expect to find a lot of mingling in the streets in front of the corner where Bedrock and Coyote Wilds are located as well as the strip between Napa Dreams and Bazaar Bar.
Bazaar Bar is a long-time favourite in Ayia Napa, especially among the British crowd. Music is more important than drinking, so expect a healthy dance scene and a good mix of music and patrons. Bazaar opens earlier in the year than most bars and stays open until October.
Right on the main square in town is the Ambassaden, a two-storey bar that gets started early in the evening and has a large outdoor seating area perfect for watching the tourists gear up for another night. A good mix of dancing, music, drinking and sitting, the Ambassaden is often the first stop for people heading into The Square.
Marinella and Minos Bar
Marinella and Minos Bar are two neighbours on the main square that have been slaking the thirst of travellers for years. They are very well-known bars and hugely popular. They have the occasional DJ in house and both are usually the busiest bars in the main square.
Coyote Wilds features a rodeo bull and girls dancing on the bar. Its location at one of the town centre’s bottlenecks ensures plenty of foot traffic, so this bar is always packed. It is a rowdy place with dancing, music and a reliably entertaining scene that perfectly reflects Ayia Napa’s holiday bars.
One of the newcomers in the trendy bar category is Jello. It has a prime location overlooking the harbour and is open all year round. This is a chill-out spot with excellent food and drinks. A place to see and be seen, with great outdoor seating right in front of the bar.