Ibiza in Focus: Café Mambo
Iconic. The word that describes a bar that has completely transformed the backdrop of Ibiza and has singlehandedly managed to almost trademark a natural occurrence that happens every single day of the year. The bar is Café Mambo, and we’re talking of course of the famous Mambo Ibiza sunsets.
Once just a small Ibicencan house, Café Mambo took on the challenge of going up against the infamous Café Del Mar as the ultimate bar on San Antonio’s famous sunset strip. As the brainchild of Javier Anadon, Café Mambo was launched in 1994 and has since thrived and expanded to become one of the most famous places in Ibiza. Café Mambo also prides itself on being a family business, having had the same management for over 22 years. Described as many as a truly magical place, Café Mambo has become more than just a restaurant in one of Ibiza’s resorts, in fact, it has become part of the island’s history.
The venue serves up delicious food and world famous cocktails to the backdrop of one of the world’s most mesmerizing sunset spots and is particularly famous for the pre-parties it holds just as the sun dips into the ocean. Throughout the week the DJ booth is taken over by some of the biggest DJ’s on the electronic music scene. Whilst the venue offers fans a taste of the newest and best in music, it still remains authentic and embraces the charm of the White Isle with its décor of mosaics, marble and white furniture.
We Rave You had a chance to chat to Christian and Alan Anadon better known as the Mambo Brothers to talk about the history of the iconic bar and the brothers’ ambitions to take over the electronic music world with their own productions.
Over 22 years of history of the iconic venue with the brothers truly starting from the bottom with their start in the family business as dishwashers. After the success of the infamous bar, the brothers started taking on a bigger role in the family business and look back on fond memories:
“Mambo was started by our father and mother. The mother never gets the credit in interviews. Our father always says that behind a great man there’s always a greater woman. It’s a family thing. Our parents opened Mambo together and it’s something amazing and something that represents Ibiza perfectly. The sunset, the music, the good vibes and the DJ’s. It was a great idea from the beginning. Some people said to them ‘You’re crazy for opening a bar next to Café Del Mar’ because Café Del Mar was possibly back then the biggest bar in the world. Not just in Ibiza but in the world. So it was like ‘How can you open next to Café Del Mar and try and compete with them?’ But they did it and it worked really well. Mambo has been a great bar since day one with great DJ’s and great drinks.”
“And very successful. Especially the second year. The second year was when it blew up up to what it is these days. In the period that Mambo opened there were no mobile phones, no internet and no emails. It was a hub where all the UK promoters, DJ’s, artists, designers, models – a lot of the showbusiness would hang out every single day in the summer time. I would come to Mambo after school around half past 2 and I would be hanging with Faithless down at the beach, Kate Moss, Boy George, Jeremy Healy and all these DJ’s that were back in 94 and 95 the top DJ’s in the world. They used to put 5 or 6 thousand people in a venue in events in Ibiza.”
The walls of Café Mambo are covered in polaroids with the familiar faces of the charismatic brothers photographed in some of the most iconic Café Mambo moments. Every iconic moment and memory captured in a photograph. With such an exceptional 22-year-old history, the brothers have a myriad of iconic Mambo memories.
“Back then Faithless was the David Guetta and Avicii of now. Big artists have always been here. What brought even more tourists is Ibiza becoming an international brand. There’s been a few explosions. Ibiza became big in the UK, then in Europe and then in the world. Ibiza has always been big but now it’s extremely big and that’s all thanks to electronic music being so popular. Swedish House Mafia, Carl Cox and many more. For example when Roger Sanchez played sunset sets and then also played at night. He was possibly the best thing back then. Eric Morillo used to play kind of hip hop and he also played the first Beyonce tracks at Mambo. Before they were even on the radio he played them at Mambo and we were wondering what he was playing because it was so good and crazy. There has been a lot of surprises. I don’t want to sound like I’m showing off but I don’t think that many venues in the world or Ibiza have had the kind of nights that Mambo has had. We have 22 years of history and I’m shocked myself at what we’ve done at that place. The talent of the artists that have played there is absolutely crazy.”
“Sasha and John Digweed back to back were a highlight. Back then they were the number one duo in the world. Another very special moment at Mambo was the first Radio 1 event with the BBC and that was even back before we had the radio studio back in 1995. Back then they had to ship lorries over to Ibiza with big satellite dishes. There were cables all over the place and there was an incredible amount of people. They needed engineers to come over to Ibiza to do these kinds of events that BBC Radio 1 would broadcast live from Ibiza to the UK.”
One of the most incredible and by far the most famous elements of the popular bar is its location that overlooks arguably the best sunset in the world. The sunset has become a trademark of Café Mambo.
“That sunset doesn’t really happen anywhere else. It’s special. We’ve been in places like Mexico or Thailand in search of little places to go and watch the sunset and they all close down around sunset and we were surprised. It’s very special what happens in Mambo and Ibiza. And after the sunset comes the crazy time with the parties and the DJ’s.”
On top of running one of the most famous bars in the world, the brothers have been producing incredible music that suits the laid-back Café Mambo atmosphere perfectly.
“We’ve been producing for the last year and a half to two years. We have loads of music down. We have to take the time to release because it all has a time-frame. Our track Momento worked really well for us. We’re surprised how well it worked. We received lots of radio support as a lot of big DJ’s supported it. We are very happy and we hope that the next track we release has as much support as Momento. Our new track is Milagro. We are Spanish so we like to name them in a Spanish way with a nice word.”
After 22 years of listening to world class DJ’s at the iconic bar it goes without saying that the brothers have been inspired by the abundance of talent that has graced the Café Mambo decks:
“We’ve definitely been inspired by the DJ’s that play at Mambo. Old school inspired. Nowadays we like people like Hot Since 82, Guy Gerber. I love his 11 11 project which is one of the best pop dance music projects in the last year. I don’t know if he got the credit for it but the level of music for that album is crazy. We love Guy. Also Andrea Oliva, Fanciulli, and from the more commercial side my favorite is Martin Solveig. Although he has been around for years he’s still fresh.”
Although summer is over and the infamous Café Mambo sunsets won’t be as much of an attraction to the tourists, the Mambo Brothers do their best to bring the iconic Mambo vibe to other places around the world by touring.
“For the rest of the year we are going to travel and work on our DJ career. It never stops. We bring the feeling and vibe of Mambo somewhere else – that’s the idea behind it. We’ve traveled extensively – Seoul and Barcelona, 2 weeks in Scotland, a residency in Doha, Birmingham, Dubai, London, and many other places. We also have 3 more tracks ready and hope to release another one before Christmas.”
If the productions so far are anything to go by, the Mambo Brothers are looking at a bright future in their transition to the world of production and DJ’ing. Couple that with running one of the most famous bars in the world and touring worldwide – it’s an enviable life indeed. The guys will be playing their own night at Amsterdam Dance Event on 19 October which will no doubt bring some of the vibes of the sun-kissed island to Amsterdam.