When it comes to the Ibiza pre-party, there are many and varied options throughout the island but Café Mambo is probably the most famous. The legendary bar on sunset strip has the luxury of enjoying front row seats at the daily sunset, followed by some of the worlds biggest brands and DJs stopping by prior to their party later that night. One of the Ibiza institutions is the Pete Tong pre-party on a Friday night. When Pete is in town he has the luxury of a custom built studio above the bar from which he can deliver his Essential Selection radio show to the world before taking over duties behind the Mambo decks. He also has a slew of international stars appearing with him at his All Gone Pete Tong party at Pacha and tonight, it’s the turn of Sebastian Ingrosso.
Swedish House Mafia have ruled the dance scene for the last few years, delivering countless anthems and remixes that have dictated a shift in dance music production. They have put together some of the biggest shows across the world and have captured the imagination of a new generation of clubbers, as well as some with a few years under their belt. They grabbed headline news again recently when announcing that they will be splitting after the tour ends this year so when one of them is due to be playing the pre-party in Mambo, you can be pretty sure that it is going to attract some attention.
As we walk around the marina and up over the hill that brings you down onto the start of sunset strip, it’s clear to see, even at this distance, that Mambo is packed. The rock area between the Mambo terrace and the water is full, and by full I mean you would struggle to sneak a bit of paper in between people! All looking up at the big screen at the front of the bar as they have no chance of seeing the DJ booth from their position. Up on the strip, the terrace is packed and they are five deep against the front of the bar, which acts as a control barrier. There are a few lucky people in side the bar just in front of the both and a host of photographers and videographers, all vying for position to get that shot!
Sebastian Ingrosso is already mid-set when we arrive, 130 BPM big room electronica washes over the huge crowd and it is loving it. Impromptu karaoke sing-a-longs are the order of the day as he drops anthem after anthem on them. ‘Leave The World Behind’ almost becomes an accapella, courtesy of the Mambo crowd as the group crammed behind the booth in Mambo join the clubbers on the street and Ingrosso, with his hands in the air and ear to ear grin, in singing the chorus before erupting when the beat kicks back in. This season has seen the emergence of another Mambo tradition, the bar has produced its own Hierbas and it is customary for the DJs to share it with the crowd directly behind them so regular shots of the traditional tipple are drunk throughout the set. As the set draws to a close, the crowd erupts one last time before dispersing and moving on to the next party. Ingrosso disappears upstairs to do his stint for Mambo TV and we head off, amazed once again by the ability that a small bar in the corner of sunset strip in San Antonio has in delivering an atmosphere that matches any of the major clubs on the island!