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Up and comers: Plaça de Sa Drassaneta in Ibiza Town

The previously notorious Sa Peña district is undergoing a quiet renaissance.

the lightThe nightlife in Ibiza Town is both beguiling and frustrating. There is a remarkable concentration of bars, restaurants and cafes under and enclosed by the imposing walls of D'Alt Vila whose continued popularity in high summer causes (mostly) good natured chaos seven days a week. Parking continues to be a total ‘mare especially now they've restricted vehicular access but if you're prepared to leave your car and walk there are opportunities for a thousand and one wonderful nights out.

The Sa Peña district in particular is undergoing a quiet renaissance. Formerly a fishing village, it is gorgeously atmospheric though undeniably dilapidated. This combination has always attracted the creative, the hedonistic and the maladjusted. Calle de la Virgen (often known as “the gay street”) is perhaps the most famous thoroughfare, but the current profusion of Italian visitors to this island has also seen a number of other establishments spring up in the area catering to macho men and elegant women. A little further up the hill from the street of the virgin is the Plaça de Sa Drassaneta which is the newest and hippest spot away from the hustle and bustle of the overly touristy and pricey waterfront.

Steve PromeseEnthusiastic spokesman for the location is Steve Promes (left), an experienced hospitality professional from Surinam (on the north east coast of South America, dumb ass). He runs the bar Bling Bling with his partner Katrine that along with Loop, which caters to the trance crowd; Olmos, an Italian fusion restaurant; and the well known Studio eatery make up the inhabitants of the plaza. We enjoyed a hierbas or three while Steve told us what makes this place tick.

What kind of people come here, Steve?
Steve Promese: A lot of friends in the beginning, but right now the people who arrive here are people who wanna see something else than just the port and the basic bars. They wanna see some architecture as well, culture, heritage. And once they see the square and they feel the atmosphere then they wanna hang out and they come back more times. Bling Bling's a small place, but that's why the ambience is like it is. People told me that story that the first bar opened here on the square in '74. From then on a lot of little businesses were opened here by eccentric people and a few famous people were living here as well. Brigitte Bardot, Nicky Lauda came here often. So this was a place for famous people and rich people as well as hippies and even a few gangsters.

Plaça de Sa Drassaneta

Where are you customers from?
They are from all over the world. I had people here from the US, I had English people, a lot of Spanish people, workers, they're international, people from around here, even Dutch. I speak Spanish, English, Dutch and a little bit of German.

Associasió de ArtistesHow long have you been here?
This is my first year here in Ibiza Town.

Tell me about this building with the Programació for 2004 on it.
That's the Associasió d'Artistes. They're from the government, they organise exhibitions. They had a jazz band that was very nice and they do quite a lot in promoting art and culture and music as well.

What's the attitude of the local government to this place?
Three, four years ago the government started to clean up this area. They started to pave the street, put in more lighting as well. We hope we can do everything together and still have gypsies here because they're part of Sa Peña as well.

Just not the ones that deal smack.
Absolutely not, just the artistic ones because they can sing they can play guitar, they have energy. We can work these guys.

What kind of music do you play here?
Let me tell you what I don't play. I don't play house, I don't play trance, I don't play techno, I play soulful, drum'n'bass, hip hop, sometimes some reggae and raga as well. Everything that other places don't play.

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