Right at Ibiza’s southernmost tip is the beach of Ses Salines, named after the saltpans that flank the dunes on its northern edge. The water is crystal clear, the sand pearly white, and the nearby designated National Park is a haven for nature, and nature lovers. This is the idyllic setting for Jockey Club, one of the Island’s most authentic and cherished hangouts.
Opening way back (in Ibiza beach club terms) in 1993, when there was no such thing as a ‘beach club’, Jockey Club retains its original philosophy as “a beach restaurant with the spirit of a chiringuito”. Whilst it has developed to have sunloungers, a cocktail bar, DJs and a shop (not a boutique), Jockey Club still prefers to be called a ‘beach restaurant’ and the owners eschew all the luxury trappings favoured by its young pretenders – i.e. no VIP area and no expensive sunlounger rental. Furthermore, Jockey Club is rather fond of daytime, and opens as early as 9am for breakfast, with the kitchen open overall ‘til 9pm. This gives the venue a reputation for being laidback and child-friendly, if you have offspring in tow, bring them along, they’re more than welcome.
The man behind the infamous prancing Jockey horse, Oliver Lanzoni, is as hands-on as you can get and on-site 12 hours a day, six days a week, to look out for staff and customers alike, sharing his passion for good food, fine wine and great hospitality. The well-rounded menu moves from eggs-all-ways to jam and toast for breakfast, through to a wide range of meat, fish, pasta, salads, pizza and homemade desserts washed down with a superb wine (100% Spanish) and champagne (100% French) selection for lunch and dinner. Rumour has it the strawberry Sangria is amongst the best on the Island.
Shore side, Jockey Club has slightly haphazard rows of sunloungers and parasols for hire, just lay your towel down early if you fancy one as they don’t take advance bookings. The friendly team is happy to bring a full restaurant service (including the blackboard of specials) to your lounger. Or try the shakes, sorbets, dishes and juices at the fruit bar to add some vitamin C to your sun-fuelled vitamin D. Expect the background music to be just that, low-key, playing from late afternoon ‘til early evening.
Those who love Ibiza call Jockey Club “magic”. And, on an Island where the big name franchise clubs and super ‘A’ list celebs are making their presence felt, a little slice of old-fashioned chiringuito heaven certainly makes a wonderful change. www.jockeyclubibiza.com