Half man, half amazing, half lover of world travel. Wait, that's three halves!
Published March 4th 2013
Ever had a shooter that tastes like a chocolate bar?
Imagine a place, far away, where there is a sunkissed beach with golden sands, set on a small island close to a beach resort with a laid back atmosphere welcome to all, that makes the best cocktails this side of Greece. Welcome to Ios.
Ios has a reputation of being a party island, and rightly so. With around 64 bars/clubs on such a small island how could it not be? It's very hedonistic, cheap and popular with young and young at heart travellers from all over the world.
The Ios life is an uncomplicated one. Wake up at 10, have some breakfast, relax a little, go back to bed, wake up at 2-3, and relax a bit more till dinner, when you start drinking. Have a few quiet beers/cocktails over a great meal, get ready to go out and hit the bars in the city Chora at about 11.
The first pitstop for most people is the aptly named "Fun Pub". It has a very English feel about it. You can get chilled beer by the glass, even cider, and relax before the mayhem begins. They have a giant jenga set which is very popular, and the locals run a killer pool knockout competition nightly. Lookout though, they can certainly play.
After the Fun Pub, Flames is a very popular next stop. Flames is named after the famous drink Flaming Lambourgini. It's when you sip through a straw on very potent booze while they refill and light it on fire. For 5 euro ($7) you can get a Flaming Lambo and a beer, that's right a beer aswell! Lookout though, they are potent.
The music in Flames is electric. A great mix of old school rock, and new school dance. Seems like it's always crowded but never the less fun. Foam will shoot from the ceiling to cool you down making the night experience more atmospheric too. One thing in IOS is the pubs are all really small. I think this really adds to the familiarity of the place. After a few hours you have bonded with the staff and bartenders there and will no doubt see them again soon.
Another popular bar in Ios is the Orange bar. The attraction is shooters based on your favourite chocolate bars. You can have a Mars shot, Twix, Bounty, apple pie and my personal fave, the Malteaser shot. The only word is wow! The taste is so dead on you'd swear it was an alcoholic chocolate explosion in your mouth.
In Ios, almost everywhere, if you buy seven shots, you get a free t-shirt. This is a great draw for any traveller to drink more and think less. Word to the wise though, don't do seven shots yourself, split 3 or 4 and give some to a buddy, and split your mates shots in the next bar. Early burnout on a night out in Ios is common. You want to have staying power to last most of the night, and this is the way to do it.
Theme bars are the way in Ios. Another few popular bars are Slammers and Circus bar. In Slammers, order a tequila slammer and they will give you a helmet. Why you may ask? After you have downed it, they will get a boot, fist, or in my case fire extinguisher, and hit you over the head with it. It's an Ios tradition and will sure add to the great vibe of the night you're having.
Circus bar is the best acoustic venue in Ios. The band there play a great selection of modern rock with just a guitar and basic drum set that will get any crowd on its feet. The highlight for me was a version of Tenacious D's Tribute, which the crowd sung heartily along to. They do a fantastic flair bar show with flaming bottles some nights too.
You may ask where do you stay in Ios? The best option is the Far Out beach club on the main beach called Mylopotas. It's awesome. They have rooms and camping options, and you are never more than two minutes from pool to beach. This is more like it.
Let me paint the picture. You are in your hammock, the quiet breeze is blowing though your hair as you sip on your daiquiri. The sun beams through as you have just dried off from a swim in the refreshing pool as it's near 30 degrees. The smile broadens your face as you know you've got nothing to today, or tomorrow, except relax, unwind and enjoy the perfect days and wild nights of Ios.