Neptune Bar – Indonesia - Atlas Obscura
Unusual adventures and hidden discoveries. Explore our 2018 trips now »

Indonesia

Neptune Bar

A mostly desolate bar on a remote island hosts hundreds of sailors for a few days each year. 

Just 8 nautical miles north of the equator you’ll find Pulau Sikeling, a remote and unpopulated island located in the Riau Islands, Indonesia. And on the island is Neptune Bar, which sits desolate and sunbaked for 362 days a year. But for a few days each year a couple of hundred sailors turn Neptune into the best bar in the world.

Every Chinese New Year for the last six years, the Neptune Regatta starts from Nongsa Marina, in Batam, Indonesia with a fleet of both sailing and motor yachts for a week long race that culminates with the secret and silly ceremony of turning Pollywogs (those that have never crossed the equator on a boat) into Shellbacks (trusted sailors that have crossed the equator).

The base of operations, Sikeling, is rustic at best: a kitchen area, some basic huts for sleeping and the pièce de résistance, the Neptune Bar. During the bar’s shining moment each year, everything is brought in with the fleet: ice, beer, an extraordinary amount of Mount Gay rum, cups, fruit and a stereo system that can be heard for miles.

Serving hundreds of sailors drinks on a deserted island is a logistical challenge to say the least, but an epic adventure nonetheless. The Neptune punch is renowned for sending many a sailor to an early night passed out under the stars.

Know Before You Go

1. Take part in the Neptune Regatta
2. Buy a boat, compass, and nautical chart