Thirsting for a good drink in Jakarta? Despite the sheer number of bars in this bustling Indonesian metropolis, finding one with outstanding cocktails can be a daunting task — until now. From unique to classic, these are the places for enjoying quality concoctions from the best bartenders the city has to offer.
Cork & Screw Country Club
Cork & Screw Country Club’s cellar has one of the largest wine selections in the country, so it makes sense they’re equally popular for their range of signature wine cocktails. Established in 2007, they’ve been offering guests an unparalleled wine and social experience by continuously inventing new drinks to pair with their casual modern European and Asian fare. Long-time favourites include the Sage, Elderflower, and Cucumber Sangria with dry gin and chardonnay and Red Wine & Scotch Blueberry Martini.
Locally-sourced ingredients and classic cocktail techniques go hand-in-hand at Barong Bar, the luxurious upmarket watering hole on top of Fairmont Hotel. The sleek ambience is optimally designed to emphasise on lounging and socialising, and while a hefty list of Champagnes, premium spirits, and whiskies can be found here, we say go for progressive cocktails such as American Oak Barrel-Aged Negroni with deep woodiness or Rum Old Fashioned, which sees both aged rum and dark rum to add spicy earthy notes to the cocktail classic.
Barong Bar is located at Komplek Gelora Bung Karno, Jl. Asia Afrika No. 8, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta, p. +62 21 2970 3333. Open Mon-Fri 3pm – 1am, Sat-Sun 5pm – 1am.
Nautilus, on the ground floor of the esteemed Four Seasons Jakarta, is easily among the poshest spots on this list. With the stunning mural depicting the old Sunda Kelapa trading port in the background, watch as expert bartenders prepare a series of tantalising libations like the signature Maluku Punch (dark rum, gold rum, tequila, brandy, dry orange liqueur, clove tincture, Indonesian spices) that’s been put through a milk clarification process, or Rainforest Bees Knees, a particularly balanced concoction of London Dry gin, white rainforest honey, nutmeg, and lemon juice.
Nautilus is located at Jl. Gatot Subroto No.Kav 18, RT.6/RW.1, Kuningan Bar., Kec. Mampang Prpt, Jakarta, +62 21 2277 1888. Open daily 12pm – 1am.
Loewy is a chic place to eat great casual French fare, but we think it’s a better place for some stellar cocktails. Managed by national DIAGEO competition winners Kiki Moka and Harli Gurnawan, seat yourself at the impressive 15-metre bar for super-smooth martinis and more novel drinks starting from RP95,000 in the ’Signature’ section. Oh, they have one of the city’s biggest collections of single malt whisky too, if you’re pining for a good Boulevardier or Manhattan.
Loewy is located at Oakwood Premier Cozmo, Jl Lingkar Mega Kuningan E42 No.1, Kuningan Timur, Jakarta Selatan, p. +62 21 2554 2378. Open Mon-Fri 7.30am – 1am, Sat-Sun 9am – 2am.
Nobody knowns where the eponymous Mr. Fox comes from, but he’s now set up shop in Jakarta after extended travels around the globe. Located at the heart of SCBD Jakarta, expect a worldly food menu complemented by fascinating cocktail creations. One to try is the Francois “Frankie” Fox, comprising of banana leaf cognac, blanco rum, spice tea blend, and milk inside a Russian doll with a fox face. End off your night with the Countess, a decadent treat of cacao nib-infused sweet vermouth, sparkling wine, and chocolate.
Mr. Fox is located at The Energy Building – SCBD Lot 11A, Jakarta, +62 21 5296 1999. Open daily 11am – 1am.
LOLA – Espíritu y Libación
LOLA is an underground speakeasy on Jalan Gunawarman that takes its cue from Cuban and Southern American culture, putting out premium cachaca, rum, vodka, and tequila cocktails with a high degree of innovation. Within its majestic yet intimate setting sits luscious libations like the signature Diablo Popsicle, a tequila-based drink with chilli powder and an actual popsicle served in a tiki cup. There’s impressive live music by popular local cover bands too, if you’re into that sort of thing.
LOLA is located at Jl Gunawarman No.21, Selong, Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta, p. +62 21 2751 3500. Open Mon-Thu 6pm – 2am, Fri-Sat 7pm – 4am. Closed Sun.
Pantja is one of those bars with a story to tell. Its name means five in Sanskrit, referring to the five ingredients (alcohol, citrus, sugar, water, and spice) used to make punch: the grandfather of the modern day cocktail, enjoyed in English taverns dating back to the 1600s. Using Indonesian ingredients to create elegant and enticing punch bowls, Try the Grape, Grain & Cane, rich and complex with Plantation dark rum, VSOP cognac, agricole rum, and Guinness thrown into the mix.
Pantja is located at Jl. Senopati No. 37, Jakarta, p. +62 21 5213010. Open daily 5.30pm – 12am.
Slits might be as small as they come, but there’s nothing small about their drinks. This enclosed pub in Pelaspas Dharmawangsa channels izakaya vibes with its lowballs (the bar’s own version of the highball), ranging from the bittersweet Jealous Lover (vodka with lemon bitters, amaretto, and ginger ale) to the more refreshing Ume Says, a concoction of plum liqueur, club soda, and dill leaves. These are fairly light drinks, but don’t doubt the incoming buzz as the night progresses — and trust us, it will.
Slits is located at Pelaspas Dharmawangsa, Jl. Dharmawangsa Raya No. 4, Jakarta. Open Tue-Thu 5pm – 12am, Fri-Sat 5pm – 1am, Sun 3pm – 10pm. Closed Mon.
One of Jakarta’s newest establishments is A/A, or Alchemist Anonymous. As its name suggests, this is where mystery meets pleasure and where elixirs will work their magic on your tongue. Think the bar’s latest signature cocktail, Coriander, a fragrant and citrusy blend of coriander vodka, chocolate liqueur, orange, lemon, and soda, or another with pandan whisky, dark rum, lime, and maple. A live band plays jazz tunes every Wednesday and Thursday, so you’ll want to keep a look out for that.
A/A Bar is located at Jl. Gunawarman No.RT.5, RT.1/RW.5, Melawai, Kec. Kby. Baru, Jakarta, +62 859 2158 2888. Open Mon-Thu 6pm – 1am, Fri-Sat 6pm – 2am. Closed Sun.
Hip and sophisticated, this stylish speakeasy in South Jakarta is the kind of place you go to hang out and party with your coolest buds over hearty food and even heartier cocktail creations. LEÓN does a surprisingly good Frozen Monkey — a tasty and rather sweet frozen drink made with banana, vanilla ice cream, vodka, coffee liqueur, and milk. There’s also a large garden that’s open to anyone who wants to lounge under the stars.
LEÓN is located at Jl Wijaya I No.25, RT.6/RW4, Petogogan, Jakarta Selatan, p. +62 21 722 1188. Open Mon 4pm – 12am, Tue-Thu 4pm – 1am, Fri 4pm – 2am, Sat 11am – 2am, Sun 11am – 1am.
FŪJIN is as Japanese as it gets, implementing the beauty of Japanese cocktail culture down to the thoughtful omotenashi service style, attitude, and techniques. Against the backdrop of Hiroshima-style teppanyaki and a wide selection of Japanese sake, you’ll find artisanal cocktails such as the Gomme Kyoto, mixed with whisky, orange bitters, and gomme syrup before being set alight. As you might imagine, the whisky highballs are all the rage here during the hotter months.
FŪJIN is located at Jl Gunawarman No. 21, Jakarta, Indonesia. +62 275 13838. Open Sun-Thu 11.30am – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm, Fri-Sat 11.30am – 3pm, 6pm – 12am.
UNION is one of those places that does a bit of everything – a brasserie with great French fare, a bakery for tasty croissants and red velvet cakes, and yes, a bar that’s regarded as one of the finest in the city. You’ll be hard-pressed finding a better single malt collection in Jakarta, but the inventive cocktails are award-winning too. Order an alcoholic riff on the Pletok — the first Indonesian president’s drink of choice — or the signature Pop Rocks Martini for a bit of popping fun in your mouth.
UNION is located at Plaza Senayan Courtyard, Jln Asia Afrika No. 8, Jakarta, +62 21 57905861. Open Sun-Thu 11am – 11pm, Fri-Sat 11am – 11.30pm.
The Writers Bar
Visitors to the original Writers Bar at Raffles Hotel Singapore will be no stranger to all this colonial-style opulence. Yet, The Writers Bar here has a unique charm of its own, combining Indonesia art, literature, and artefacts with legendary cocktails from the 1920s. Roaming bartenders shake drinks such as Gibsons, Whisky Sours, and Negronis right at your table to the sounds of live jazz. There’s even a Jakarta Sling, putting a spin on the Singapore classic with North Sumatran passionfruit and star anise.
The Writers Bar is located at Raffles Jakarta, Jl Prof. DR. Satrio No.3-5, Kuningan, Setia Budi, Jakarta Selatan, p. +62 21 2988 0888. Open daily 6pm – 12.30am.
Top Image: Nautilus
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