‘Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got; taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot. Wouldn’t you like to get away? Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name… and they’re always glad you came. You want to be where you can see our troubles are all the same – you want to be where everybody knows your name.’ So said one of the greatest television theme songs of all time (and if you’re not already singing along in your heads – Millennials I’m talking to you here – please Google ‘Cheers’ immediately) and in these uncertain times, I’m sure many of us are feeling this way. We don’t know what’s going to happen in a week, in a month, or beyond that into the future, but one thing I do know right now is that tomorrow night there’s a place in Ibiza that’s going to be ready to welcome islanders to take a break from all their worries: the island’s very favourite drinking den of iniquity, Paradise Lost – aka, the place where everybody knows our names (seriously – see the photo below as proof).
Paradise Lost was very quickly adopted by islanders in the know as THE place to drop in, hang out and get lost (and yes, get into trouble while they were at it) from the very first day it opened in May 2016. Since then, it’s kept us all entertained and watered with the finest quality cocktails, drinks and banter all year round, aside from an annual short sojourn so the team can take a very well-deserved break at the end of the season like most island residents do, and then another in February, to give their hardcore winter customer base a chance to dry out and detox before the real season begins. Tomorrow night, that’s all about to change as the Paradise posse – aka Captain Jim and V-Dawg – officially reopen the bar for retox, rambling and refreshments, served up (if you’re one of the lucky ones like me!) in your very own pewter tankard. Yes! That’s my name (well, my pen name) up there on the wall, keeping company with some of the most awesome people in Ibiza if I do say so myself. And in case you were wondering (and even if you weren’t), Jim and Vanessa do indeed know my real name though they’ll never tell you – you’d have to be a pretty good spy to hang around the bar, wait for me to arrive and spot me unlocking the tankard from its place of safekeeping to work out who I am, dear readers. Having a Paradise Lost tankard is like a badge of honour on this island – they’re rewarded to loyal patrons and friends of Paradise, and if you take a look around at all the plaques around the top of the bar, you’ll probably recognise quite a lot of the names. I’m always chuffed to see mine hanging there proudly at the top right corner opposite the bar and I keep my precious tiny padlock key on my keyring at all times, because you just never know when you might ‘accidentally’ find yourself in the neighbourhood (conveniently for me, it’s also a five-minute walk from my home).
For many of us who live in Ibiza all year round, having our very own version of Cheers is so important. It’s like a port in the storm of summer, when everywhere else is super busy and packed with holidaymakers – it’s a place where you can walk in alone and know you’ll find friends, and quite possibly make some new ones. It’s a place where you don’t need to look at the menu because Jim and Vanessa already know what you’re going to order (mine’s a Rosita Mala and a tequila shot) and started mixing it the moment you walk in the door. And then in winter, when so many other venues up and close for the off-season, when seasonal workers fly the coop for warmer climes, and when there’s not always a whole lot to do but you just don’t want to order takeout and watch Netflix again, it’s like a cosy oasis in the back streets of the boarded-up gypsy quarter of the old town – a place where you can catch up with those same friends and not lose touch with what’s going on around the island. It’s a place that still retains the essence of ‘old’ Ibiza – where billionaires are sitting next to bus drivers, where who you are and what you do doesn’t matter, where you feel truly at home away from home and always walk away feeling like part of the family. It sounds like a cliché, or something I’ve been paid to write (it’s not!), but I promise you from the bottom of my heart and swear on my cat’s life, this is the truth. Whether you’re looking for a place to find new friends, a place to catch up with old ones, a place to celebrate an occasion, even a place to commiserate something, or just a place to hide from the outside world, (I can attest I have done all of the above here), Paradise Lost provides the perfect platform.
It’s been quite scary and eye-opening watching the news unfold over the last few weeks, and especially the last few days, as so many of us (and when I say us, I mean we who live in Ibiza) have been travelling, have close friends who are quarantined in other countries or are affected by the global lockdowns in some way, or are already feeling the angst and unease of what could happen to the island and our businesses if the spread of the virus affects the tourist season as we know it. Now, that’s definitely a conversation, or a blog, for another day, or a certain local group on Facebook if you really want to get involved, but the way I see it is, if ever we’ve needed our port in the storm, now is the time and Paradise Lost is the place. There are already plenty of people on the island who are already self-isolating or keeping themselves at a two-metre distance from other people in public. I don’t want to make light of the situation in any way and respect those who’ve chosen to make decisions or take precautions like this. But I, for one, want to be surrounded by my friends, as we take a break from all our worries by getting into some trouble of our own. As I type, there’s no indication that Ibiza will go into lockdown, or that we are at any major risk of contagion, but as we’ve witnessed in other countries, that can change overnight. We’d be fools to ignore that it’s a possibility. Alternatively, life could just go on as usual (albeit with a whole lot of extra hand washing and toilet paper purchasing) – there’s just no way of knowing. If you’re brave enough to come and get in close quarters with me and the rest of my fellow tankard holders, I’ll see you tomorrow night at Paradise Lost. Who knows, by the end of the night I might even tell you my real name. Come as you are, come dressed in full hazmat suits, come wearing rubber gloves and a face mask, or just come packing extra hand sanitiser – no matter how you choose to turn up, our troubles are all the same. Cheers! Bad iPhone photography by myself and blondewearingblack – just another day in Paradise!