BAHIA BEACH Bar in Lagos is buzzing, informal and friendly. With the summer just around the corner, this is a place to chill out and take in the wonderful panoramic views, stretching as far as Alvor, and watch the boats, the rolling surf and the late sun worshippers. Brazilian tunes are played live by Zé Manuel Martins and his fellow band members, people are dancing and the general vibe in the place can only be described, in one word, as amazing.
Gino Berger opened the beach bar in 1997, and you can see from the original picture he loaned The Resident that it looked a little like Robinson Crusoe’s hideaway – not one building in sight!
Gino was brought up in Ibiza up to the age of six and is the son of an American father and a Dutch mother. He was educated in Holland, where he soon developed the travel bug and, from the age of 20, travelled extensively throughout Asia, where he grew to love Thai food. At the age of 30, he moved to the US and then, in 1996, to Lagos. Here he found the lonesome, rundown Bahia Bar and, with hard work and enthusiasm, built it up to become what it is now.
Now nearly all beach bars in Portugal are wooden constructions to meet stringent EU controls. Gino selected a slightly unusual design for his bar, as it probably reminded him, in some way, of Thailand.
Enjoy just a jug of sangria or snack, or feast on their tapas plate for two from the new summer menu, created by Chef Maarten Pinxteren. With dishes like fried Thai fish, spaghetti da praia with large prawns, club sandwiches and a selection of salads, it’s enough to get your mouth watering.
We made our way to the bar over the new walkway (for those who don’t want sand in their shoes on a night out) at around 7pm on a Sunday, and got straight into the trendy feel of the place, where the young and the not so young mix so comfortably.
On Sundays, Bahia Beach Bar transforms itself from its usual cool and relaxed atmosphere into a vibrant place with their weekly jazz nights. Asking others their opinion of the evening, we came across such comments as: “The music’s grooving, people are dancing and it’s only early”; “Great sangria, it beats Spain”; “Watching local surfers playing volleyball while sipping my drink is just fantastic”; “It’s our best night so far, for sure”. I think you have got the message. It simply oozes atmosphere, vibrant live music, fun and great service.
The rest of the week is a little more chilled out, but the same super menu awaits, as does that sangria! Music begins at around 12 noon and is very much background, to allow a calm ambience and a relaxed feel to the day. There is always a mix of local foreign and Portuguese residents and a blend of all ages.
From chatting to Gino, it becomes apparent that there is great loyalty and admiration from his staff – Nathalie who has been with him for eight years and Rui nine years. Maarten, the chef, has been with Gino from the very beginning, despite taking some time out to work in the US.
Everyone at Bahia Beach Bar is so friendly and caring, and they really do enthuse about their place and your enjoyment. But don’t take my word for it – visit Bahia Beach Bar and see for yourselves. You will definitely want to return, even if it is just for a morning coffee, a quiet lunch or to experience the lively Sunday session.
To know more about what Bahia Beach Bar has to offer, call 914 248 714 or visit website www.bahiabeachbar.com