Personalities of Bali: Kirk Bouffard, General Manager at Café del Mar Bali

Oct 22, 2019
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For the last 10 years The Bali Bible has been celebrating all things Bali and fabulous - from beach clubs to nightclubs, restaurants to resorts and everything in-between.

We've been around to witness the fabulous evolution of Bali into the incredible destination we all know and LOVE - and we're launching a new series of articles celebrating the people whose vision, inspiration and dedication have made Bali the place it is today!

From expats to locals, the people behind the scenes of your favourite venues all have a story to tell, as well as excellent advice on their own favourite places to visit. Today we are chatting with Personalities of Bali: Kirk Bouffard, General Manager at Café del Mar Bali.


Tell us a little about your business

Café del Mar was founded in 1980 in Sant Antoni de Portmany on the Spanish Isle of Ibiza. An international lifestyle destination brand with an established global following. Well known for our spectacular sunsets and atmospheric music Café del Mar is loved by people around the world for its masterfully curated chill-out, ambient and Balearic music compilations. 

How did it all get started? How’d you end up in Bali and in this industry?

I began in the hospitality industry when I was 14 as a pot washer, put myself through college bartending and then ended up moving to Las Vegas to open Pure Nightclub which is now Omnia. I spent time working in the Bahamas, Singapore and now wonderful Bali!

What dish or drink should everyone try at your venue?

Any of our four Café del Mar Sangrias and Crispy Rice Tuna for sure.

What is your role and what does day-to-day look like for you? 

I’m presently the General Manager and much of my day is spent focused on reviewing the initial stages of opening and working with the team to ensure we are creating the best possible guest experience as we move forward.

What area in Bali do you live in?

I live in Umalas, a nice quiet area in the center of everything!  

What would be three things you would tell someone who is thinking of moving over to Bali to work or start a business?

Get to know the culture first. Second, learn to move at the speed of Bali. Third, enjoy it, Bali (and Indonesia as a whole) are extremely special…even the chaos of driving can be enjoyed!

Why did you choose Bali as your ultimate destination?

Having spent much of the past decade living on another island, The Bahamas, Bali was an easy place to fall in love with. The mix of cultures and people along with the ability to adventure in/around Bali makes it extremely enjoyable.  

What do you love most about Bali? 

The energy

When was your first trip to Bali? What has changed since then? 

My first trip to Bali was about five years ago while I was living in Singapore. The airport is the biggest change to me by far.

What are your favourite destinations outside of Bali? 

I haven’t explored much since moving here for this project but a few years back I did my rescue diving certification in Gili T and really enjoyed the slower pace. 

What are some of your favourite things to do on the weekend in Bali?

Since we have been in opening stages I haven’t had much of a weekend but when I do, reading in my villa, enjoying a surf with some friends or a quick adventure in or around Bali will be the go-to!

If you had to pick, what would be your top 3 cafes? 

Nude, Ruko, Crate 

If you had to pick, what would be your top 3 restaurants?

Metis, Black Sands, Bottega Italiana 

If you had to pick, what would be your top 3 bars or sunset drink spots?

Café del Mar (I always make a point to get to the pool deck for sunset!), Tukan, O la la (close to home!)

What’s a hidden gem or a less popular place that everyone should know about?

Joshua District

How do you blow off steam?

Workout, paddle out for a sunset session with friends, do a puzzle/read

Favourite book at the moment?

Beyond Religion by Dalai Lama

Best movie of all time?

Shawshank Redemption

Favourite song right now?

Any Café del Mar mix, duh

What are three things you can’t travel without?

A book, my headphones and my water bottle.

Funniest thing that happened to you in Bali?

Getting lost…all of the time while driving. I constantly laugh at myself when it happens. 

See some of the other people we have interviewed as part of the Personalities of Bali initiative here.