There is no shortage of places to have a drink on Ilha, every restaurant and café serves alcohol and there are ‘Discos’ for those who want to drink and dance till dawn, but recently a number of dedicated bars have sprung up, small places that quietly tick along, each with their own kooky character
Yoyo’s bar is easy to find, situated at the Northern/Forteleza end of the island close to the Tribunal. It’s a funny little step down bar (mind your head) with a fantastic display of African masks and other funky collectables (check out the baby elephant). There’s a single small room and its a struggle to get more than five or six people at the wooden bar at any one time. Yoyo, the German owner, is an interesting character with some fascinating insights to share on island life. The music is eclectic, drinks cold and Yoyo somehow manages to keep a stock of special Irish Whiskey and other ‘top shelf’ spirits on hand.
Yoyo stays open as long as there are people to drink.
Colibri Close to Ancora D’Ouro, opposite Moxeliliya. Technically this isn’t a bar but a bottle shop however the concept of take away has somehow got muddled and customers regularly buy a bottle then plop down at the kitchen table and flip the lid or pop the cork. If you are looking for mood lighting and ambient music then I’m not sure this is it, but what it lacks in trendiness it makes up for in with a friendly feel. The owners Jimmy and Sara are good company and may well join you for a drink at a table on the footpath.
Saquina’s is on the bend opposite Escondidinho, just down from Ilha Blue. Inside can be a bit over lit and the customers sometimes over friendly, but if you grab a table and a few chairs and drag them out onto the footpath you’ll be in the best place to enjoy a cold beer and watch the passing parade and the world go by. Best time is the hours after sunset when everybody seems to be going somewhere.
The Ponte Cais Everybody ends up here at some time. It’s the little kiosk bar on the Pontão (the pier); by day a good place to leave your things while you go swimming and one of the friendliest places to watch the sunset. Here you’ll find an interesting cross section of islanders, expats and travellers. Owner Amana cooks up some tasty snacks to go with beers. Sometimes it stays open late but more often the action is all finished by 7:00 in the evening.
Ruby’s Bar Inside Ruby’s Backpackers you’ll find this friendly little bar and a fantastic rooftop terrace. The crowd is a mix of backpackers, a few long-term expats and local guides touting their boat tours.
Along with beer, spirits, soft drinks and coffee you might find some home-made treats to tempt your fancy. Definitely it’s worth checking out in the afternoon or early evening when the view from the rooftop is stunning.
Copacabana is in the middle road, deep in the heart of Makuti town. An unpretentious place with cold drinks, loud music and a colourful Makhuwa backdrop. Stays open late, usually with a bigger crowd milling around outside on the street than inside at the bar. Copacabana is like a barometer, when its going-off here then its going to be a very big night in the discos
Café Ilha. This is a new bar opened by Chininia, a local woman with a talent for making happening venues. Located in Rua dos Arcos (the strip of shops in the corridor with arches) it runs from the main street through to the beach at the back . You choose – busy sidewalk or sunset boardwalk?
Chininia does great food so its going to be interesting to see which way Café Ilha evolves. There are already enough good food restaurants on the island so lets hope for interesting drinks and more of her sumptuous snacks rather than full meals.
This new addition promises to be a welcome ‘heat of the day’ escape, a popular sunset spot and a late-night hangout.
Briza Fresca Right on the beach in the North of the island you’ll find this tiny Baracca Bar. By day they serve meals but at night it is more of a ‘hole-in-the-wall’ serious drinking spot. There’s a low wall to sit on and Mozambican or Angolan music is pumped out loud by one of the customers’ cars with a big sound system.