Jun 25 2011
Kopi Bali House is a bit of an institution in Sanur, even though its location on Ngurah Rai bypass puts it out of the way of normal tourist foot traffic. The double-storey cafe, which has a completely separate section for smokers (rare!) serves excellent coffee, and has an array of coffee machines and paraphernalia (expensive!) for sale. A lot of Bali restaurants source their beans from here, as they do customised blends that are rather delicious (The Porch, in Sanur, for instance). The very professional staff do great basic coffees like cappucinos through to a vast array of fancier concoctions (think frappucino, think vanilla, think bubbles, think Oreos).
But the original Kopi Bali is a world away from the glitz above.
Located on Gajah Mada just around the corner from the fabric shops of Jalan Sulawesi, it’s a little piece of old Denpasar. The place opened in 1935 and is mostly a warehouse, but the front still contains a little retail outlet and has a couple of tables where you can sit down and have a cappucino, espresso, Bali kopi, tea, kopi luwak or water — that’s it.
“This is mostly for promotion,” the waiter told me when I asked him why the prices here were so much cheaper than the Sanur branch. “Sanur is a proper restaurant.”
A smooth cappucino here with a chocolate biscuit on the side is just 10,ooo rupiah, compared to around 26,000 rupiah for one similar at Sanur.
The walls are adorned with newspaper articles about the institution as well as Balinese-style paintings, while one wall is packed with a variety of Indonesian coffees you can take away as a souvenir — kopi luwak (relatively reasonably priced here), peaberry coffee, and plenty more, all under the Buttefly Globe Brand.
If you like your coffee cowboy style, the powdered stuff is stored in silver tins by weight.
There’s a clean toilet out the back past all the boxes being prepared for shipment around the island and elsewhere, making this a great pitstop after a morning haggling for fabric.
This is the older area of Denpasar, so enjoy the interesting architecture (look up!) walking to and around the spot, and keep an eye out for the horses and carts that will be waiting for passengers nearby. You can also tie a stop here in with a visit to sprawling Badung market nearby.
Jalan Gajah Mada 80, Denpasar
T: (0361) 224 720
Kopi Bali House
Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai 405 E, Sanur
T: (0361) 270 990-92
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