A New Horizon For Cafe Del Mar.

One of the islands landmark musical monuments, the iconic Cafe Del Mar, has awakened from its slumber of recent years with signs of a new direction at its revered location on the sunset strip of San Antonio. A fresh, true wind from the east has captured its sails, as a young crew of professional hands have come on board to steer the elder flagship of the fleet. Having lost serious distance to its faster and lighter competitor, Cafe Mambo over the last decade, Cafe Del Mar is back in the race, much to the relief of this blogger and many more on the island. There is an old sentiment in Ibiza that Cafe Del Mar should not engage in its present activity of copying what Cafe Mambo is doing with regard to an over indulgence in crass commercialism, but the fact remains that without profitable business, Cafe Del Mar is going nowhere expect to the museum. The beloved Cafe Del Mar deserves a breath of new life and thankfully, we can report that sparks of creativity are beginning to emerge at the old venue.

I visited Cafe Del Mar in mid June as the legendary Jose Padilla, was playing sunset on the decks which are now located on what resembles the quarterdeck of an old wooden ship in the new extension of the Cafe, with spectacular views out over the Mediterranean sea. I sat at the circular bar under the sails and was warmly welcomed by a smiling young lady who took my order in true Ibicenco style. A refreshing mix of local people, young and old and of mixed nationalities were present to witness Padilla’s set and there was an atmosphere of something different happening in the air. There was no cake throwing or Heirbas necking celebrities in the crowd but instead a more discerning and respectful clientele, there for the sunset and what Ibiza used to be when Cafe Del Mar was more than just a Cafe, it was a bohemian outpost and a place were artists and musicians met to ponder and debate. The staff while under pressure, were efficient and professional and the quality of the food emanating from the kitchen looked impressive. A new management under the direction of 34 year old Irishman Kieran Goodacre is clearly evident and the future looks promising for Cafe Del Mar.

Kieran Goodacre Manager Cafe Del Mar

A spectacular sunset was the backdrop for Padilla’s set which I was hoping would have been a classical return to his glory days at the venue, where he pioneered the chill-out genre and Balearic style of music. Padilla is still using CD’s, which when trying to line up a set and at the same time talk to people around the decks, is a difficult task. He payed a modern electronic set that clashed with the boom from Mambo’s speakers next door and his sunset track was the Korgis classic, Everybody’s Got To Love Sometime slowed down for effect. A classic and nostalgic trip down memory lane with a hearty dollop of Balearic style thrown in for good measure would have been perfect for me, but Padilla chose not go down that route on this occasion. I would not like to be the person to tell an artist of his stature how to play. When his set had finished, a noticeable influx of young, trendy clubbers started to arrive for the highlight of their evening, the Music On pre-party with Marco Carola, a real coup for the venue. Most of the older clientele stayed to watch the younger styles and fashions and there was a real feel of anticipation in the air. In my opinion, if Cafe Del Mar can combine classic Ibiza with the new, then they are on to a winner and will be shaking things up in San Antonio sooner rather than later.