Island bar hopping: in search of cocktails in Palma

Opio bar at Puro Urbano
The Opio bar at the Puro Oasis Urbano hotel
For many visitors, the island of Mallorca is about sunburned bodies and warm beer on the packed tourist beaches of Magalluf or Cala Major. But linger in the island’s capital, Palma, and you can not only soak up some history at the medieval cathedral and castle but enjoy the bars in the old town, particularly around La Llonja.

Abaco, a bar in an historic former manor house, has become part of the tourist trail. With piles of fruit and an abundance of flowers throughout, the setting is straight out of a baroque horror film – as are its poorly-made cocktails at €16 (£13).

The Puro Oasis Urbano Hotel is a modern boutique hotel in an 18th-century palace, loved by Condé Nast travellers. This summer, it expanded its Opio bar (pictured) with a VIP area, helping to make it “urban cosmopolitan”, according to founder Mats Wahlström. It offers a solid range of classic cocktails in a space that is so cool and white that you really do need shades.

The terrace bar at Es Baluard
The newest bar is Kling, a small space dominated by a giant amphora. Despite a back-bar of premium spirits, its bartender could not make cocktails but he promised this would change soon. More established is Agua, a New York-style dive bar with a rock ‘n’ roll theme. It is apparently run by bartenders from the US but, on the night we went, the Spanish bartender had to look up cocktail recipes.

But when it’s warmer, the best place for a drink is the terrace bar at the Es Baluard museum of modern art. Alongside giant outdoor sculptures, it offers views of the port and the cathedral – and, when we visited, the cocktail menu was provided by Appleton Estate VX, offering classics such as a Daiquiri, Mai Tai and Piña Colada.

Previous Poles apart: a snapshot of Kraków's bars
Next True Blood conquers all: cocktails for Halloween