Indonesia may not have much of a drinking culture in general (Indonesians drink just 0.6 liters of alcohol per year on average according to one World Bank report) but on top of Jakarta’s many amazing food options (check out our lists of the best burgers, Padang restaurants, fried chicken, sweet martabak and many more in our Food & Drink section), the cosmopolitan capital also has a sophisticated and increasingly varied nightlife scene filled with bars ranging from cheap and cheerful to posh and glam.
To keep things somewhat concise, I’ve limited this list to places that are primarily considered bars, as opposed to restaurants or nightclubs (though I’ll admit that line is often blurred, especially in Jakarta). If you feel a deserving venue is missing from the list, feel free to add it in the comments below. Cheers!
Face has become famous as Jakarta’s journalist bar (due to its close proximity to several news agency offices as well as its regular events for members of the Jakarta Foreign Correspondent Club) but it’s also one of the capital’s most proper and welcoming bars. With a stylish setting set off by Asian curios and paintings, excellent food from the attached Indian and Thai restaurants, strong cocktails, great happy hour promos and solid service by the no-nonsense bar staff, Face is always a great choice (especially if you’re the sort who likes to get into drunken arguments about Indonesian politics with strangers at the bar).
Cheap and cheerful is a good description for both outlets of this watering hole. The original in Cikini has a dark and dingy interior but also a nice outdoor area with plenty of tables (though be warned it can still get full up on Friday and Saturday nights) while the Gandaria outlet is newer and a bit more stylish. Service and food are both wanting but at Rp 36k for a bottle of Bintang it’s among the cheapest on this list. Crowd is mostly younger Indonesians including a lot of university students. Good for relaxed chats with large groups.
With four outlets spread across Central and South Jakarta, Beer Garden seems to have found a successful formula for keeping the crowds coming in. Long tables and plenty of open air seating make this another good one for conversation and large groups. Beers are quite cheap (small Bintangs IDR31k) but food is hit or miss (the fish and chips are a safe bet).
Mondo By The Rooftop
Another hidden gem in South Jakarta, this one is tucked along an unremarkable stretch of Fatmawati and above Rossi Music Studio (a grimy little venue that nonetheless frequently hosts great music gigs). Take the elevator up to the 4th floor and you’ll be greeted with a fun little rooftop bar with excellent music and cheap drinks.
Situated on the 56th floor of BCA Tower (attached to Grand Indonesia mall), Skye lives up to its name with some spectacular Insta-worthy views of the Central Jakarta skyline. Prices are expensive (IDR60k for a Bintang), though not really sky-high compared to similarly swanky joints considering the food and service are generally solid. If you’re looking to prove Jakarta’s cosmopolitan credentials to visitors, it’s a good option.
BCA Tower Lt. 56, Jl. M.H. Thamrin No. 1, Menteng, (021) 23586996 Website
By day a bright and airy restaurant with a solid menu, after the sun goes down this venue, set in the back of a Mega Kuningan office block, becomes one of Jakarta’s hippest bars. Although generally quiet on weekday nights, it often gets jumping late on Friday and Saturday thanks to regular events featuring a slew of hiqh-quality DJs playing eclectic tunes to a diverse crowd of indie kids and scenesters. Some say it has the best music of any bar in Jakarta.
This slick looking tapas bar in Mega Kuningan is busy most nights of the week. Popular with a slightly older crowd of high-class expats and Indonesians, there’s definitely a bit of a “meat market” vibe to the place late at night, which many find off-putting, but generally people here are just here to drink, dance and be merry. The minimum spend entrance fee in place at peak hours is needlessly complicated and can lead to long lines to enter when the venue is jumping, but the small army of bartenders keep the drinks coming out at a relatively quick clip at least.
Noble House Building, 8th floor, Jl. Dr. Ide Anak Agung Gde Agung Kav. E4 No.2, Mega Kuningan. 021 2978 3111. Website
This recent addition to SCBD is definitely going for a more modern German beer hall vibe with its brick walls, high glass ceilings and refurbished factory decor. An extensive lineup of beers (and a few cocktails, including a surprisingly good smoke-infused negroni) on tap make it a good option for boozy bohemians.
Kawasan SCBD Lot 19, Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav.52-53, Senayan, Kebayoran Baru. 0812-9619-9489. Instagram
While now overshadowed in stature by its gorgeous sister beach club outlet in Bali, the original Potato Head in SCBD is still going strong. With the brand’s signature eclectic decor, a tropical garden seating area and a list of cool, creative cocktails, it’s easy to see how this outlet helped launched the regional Potato Head F&B empire.
Pacific Place, ground flood, Jalan Jendral Sudirman No.52-53, SCBD. 0811-8193-322. Website
Located within walking distance of the massive Taman Rasuna Apartment complex, Bluegrass’ sleek entrance and interior belies a laidback crowd of regulars that keep the place moderately busy most night. Good food, including some excellent burgers, make Bluegrass a viable dinner option as well.
Komplek Rasuna Epicentrum, Jl. HR Rasuna Said, Kuningan. (021) 29941660. Website
This classy looking basement bar in Mega Kuningan is cozy and often gets crowded on weekends, especially if they’ve got a good DJ event. But it’s often busiest during its regular Thursday “In the Closet” event (we’ll let you guess what crowd that one is aimed at…).
The East Plaza. Basement, Jl. Dr. Ide Anak Agung Gde Agung, Mega Kuningan. 02129527173. Instagram
Although it’s really more German restaurant than bar, Paulaner is still deserving of a place on this list for the fact that it has its own brewery supplying the lovingly-crafted beer, which should satisfy even the most discerning of beer snobs. It’s also perfect for washing down the hearty German fare coming out of the kitchen. Definitely one of the best places for celebrating Oktoberfest in Jakarta.
Grand Indonesia, East Mall, 2nd floor, Jl. M.H. Thamrin, Gondangdia, Menteng. (021) 23583871. Website
One of the first bars to really bring modern cocktail culture to Jakarta, Lowey has stood the test of time and remains perpetually popular (though some of its crowd has been stolen by newer next-door neighbor Basque). Its kitchen puts out consistently solid bistro fare and the cocktails are among the best in the capital, which is why it earned its place on the list of Asia’s Top 50 Bars in 2016.
Oakwood Building, Jalan Lingkar Mega Kuningan E42 No.1. 02125542378. Website
The top-notch fare coming out of Union’s kitchen and bakery give it far-ranging appeal (you’ll almost certainly need a reservation to get a table) but the best seats in the house are at the bar where you can watch their talented bartenders use an eclectic assortment of tools and ingredients to produce some of the city’s most creative cocktails. Even the ones that sound like novelties, such the guacamole martini, are surprisingly well-made and balanced (think of it like a bloody mary with avocado puree). But just as importantly, the bartenders don’t take themselves too seriously and are clearly having a good time while trying to make your perfect poison. Definitely deserving of its spot on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list.
Plaza Senayan, ground floor, Jl Asia Afrika No. 8. (021) 57905861. (Other outlets in Pondok Indah Mall and PIK Avenue). Website
This hidden gem is beloved by Kemang insiders (and one of the few places around its block that wasn’t evicted by the military a few years back – RIP Treehouse). The narrow entrance way opens up to a cozy beer garden setting in the back. Another no-frills favorite, don’t expect much in the way of service or food, but Bremer totally ticks the cheap beer and casual setting boxes with aplomb.
Lucy in Sky
Since being refurbished following its infamous noise-complaint tiff with a neighboring apartment building, this rooftop bar is a little less raucous but still manages to draw in a young crowd of high-class Indonesian scenesters most weekends.
Fairgrounds, Jalan Jendral Sudirman No.55, SCBD. (021) 5152308. Instagram
With an upscale and modern Irish pub vibe, this newish entry to Mega Kuningan’s bar scene is busy most nights thanks to the friendly atmosphere and spacious mix of indoor and outdoor seating. It’s proven especially popular for big sporting events so reserve early if you want a choice seat to watch the big game on the big screen.
Menara BTPN, Basement I, Jl.Dr.Ide Anak Agung Kav.55-56, Mega Kuningan. (021) 22958904. Website
Without any signage , it can be a bit hard to find Lola (you’ll know you’re there when you see Japanese restaurant Fujin as it’s in the same building) but the unmarked entrance gives it that secretive speakeasy vibe. The secret is clearly out though, especially on the weekend, when the cozy venue can get uncomfortably packed. But on quiet weekday nights, the candlelit Latin decor makes Lola one of the most intimate cocktail settings in the city.
Jl. Gunawarman No.21, Kebayoran Baru. (021) 27513500. Website
From the Union Group, this sleek SCBD establishment specializes in European cuisine (with an emphasis on homemade sausages) accompanied by a wide selection of beers and cocktails. Packed most nights, you’ll need a reservation unless you’re cool with sitting at the kitchen side bar (which gives you a great view of the cooks in action but isn’t the most comfortable).
18 Parc Place Tower Tower E, ground floor, Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav. 52 – 53, SCBD. 0215152828. Website
The Moon and The Room at Hotel Monopoli
This great new addition to Kemang encompasses a hotel, cafe and two different bars. The Room in the basement boasts a cozy speakeasy vibe while The Moon offers rooftop beer garden glam.
Jl. Taman Kemang No.12, Kemang. (021) 22715101. Website
Although forced to move from its original location, considering they moved everything with it (including the decades worth of nostalgic decor and even the weather-worn walls themselves), I believe Jaya Pub can still be considered the oldest bar in Jakarta. On regular nights it attracts an interesting mix of older expats and Indonesians who come to hear the live music from the always enthusiastic top 40 cover band (that usually throws in a few dangdut standards for good measure) but about once a month it also hosts Superbad, Jakarta’s premier indie music showcase, which obviously draws a very different crowd.
Gedung Jaya, Jl. M.H. Thamrin No.12, Menteng. (021) 31925633. Twitter
This ritzy rival to Skye is located on the 49th floor of The Plaza. With views and decor to impress, it attracts the sort of older well-heeled crowd that aren’t afraid of the high prices (IDR75k for a Bintang). Live music on Wednesday nights.
Altitude – The Plaza, Lantai 49, Jl. MH Thamrin, Thamrin. 021 – 2992 2450. Website
This dim sum joint in Senopati transforms into a dimly-lit and atmospheric bar after night falls and can get pretty packed on Fridays and Saturdays, especially if they’re having a special DJ event. Popular with big groups who come for the dumplings as much as the drinks, you’ll need to reserve well ahead of time if you hope to get a table on the weekends.
Jl. Senopati no.16, Kebayoran Baru. 021 27510 698. Website
This sleek purple-hued Mega Kuningan establishment has quickly earned a reputation as a serious party place. Lots of promos throughout the week helps attract a crowd of younger Indonesians who mostly come in groups, seemingly with the main intent of drinking each other under the tables.
Menara BTPN – Retail Tower, 2nd floor, Mega Kuningan. 0877-7171-1675. Website
Eastern Promise / Cazbar / Cafe de Burse / De Hooi
Each of these Jakarta drinking institutions deserve their own entry, but because they all belong to the same group founded by Dutch bar maven Bartele Santema (and for the sake of brevity) I’ll group them together. Eastern Promise in Kemang is the biggest of the bunch and busy most nights of the week. Cazbar keeps the Mega Kuningan after-work crowd happy and De Burse does the same for SCBD (they both have popular live music nights as well). De Hooi in Pondok Indah is the only real pub that deep into South Jakarta and attracts a diverse bunch of regulars. They each have their own feel but all offer solid pub grub, friendly crowds (mainly expats, though quite a lot of locals as well) and regular sports and live music events.
Eastern Promise: Jl. Kemang Raya No.5.(021) 71790151. Website / Cazbar: Kantor Taman E3.3 unit A1, Jl. Mega Kuningan, (021) 5764582. Website / Cafe de Burse: Equity Tower Lower Ground Unit E – SCBD. (021) 29035451. Website / De Hooi: Plaza II Pondok Indah, Jl. Metro Duta Raya Blok B4 No. 31, Pondok Pinang. (021) 7500742. Website
A pretty proper Irish pub started by a proper Irishman (who has since gone back to his homeland) this beloved Kemang bar attracts a pretty mixed crowd of locals and expats that come to hear the live music, watch sports, and clink pints of the on-tap Guinness or Kilkenny. Brighter than most Jakarta bars and with solid kitchen offerings, it’s a good place for a fish and chips and conversation with friends, inebriated or not.
Jalan Kemang Raya No.10, Kemang, South Jakarta. (021) 7183382. Facebook page
The intricate wood-cut design of this Kemang place is quite impressive and the bar staff can mix a mean cocktail, but the spacious interiors can make this place feel a bit dead unless there’s a big event pulling in a crowd.
Jl.Kemang Raya No.18C. (021) 7196160 Website
I admit I don’t know all the bars within the hyper-happening area of Pantai Indah Kapuk as well as I should (there seem to be new ones opening every month) but this soju bar with future-Seoul vibe is among the most happening that PIK has to offer. Their speciality soju drinks are generally pretty gimmicky (and sweet) so I’d recommend sticking to the basics.
Ruko Crown Golf, Blok D No. 33-35, Bukit Golf Mediterania, Jl. Marina Indah Raya, Pantai Indah Kapuk. 0812 20125509. Website
Some feel that Melly’s lost a bit of its charm when it moved locations several years back, but this cheap and cheerful outdoor drinking dive bar still attracts a very friendly crowd. The original was aimed more at backpackers coming from nearby Jalan Jaksa but these days it usually attracts a crowd of young Indonesians attracted by the cheap beers (Bintang IDR31k) and casual laid-back setting.
Jl. Kebon Sirih Timur Dalam No. 37 – 39, Menteng. 021 91275753. Instagram
Short for “Bar at The Roof Top”, this open air venue is located atop the 7-story Artotel in Thamrin. The views may not be quite as impressive as Skye’s or Cloud’s but the design of the bar (as well as this entire boutique hotel) is as cool as the vibe is chill. A good place for quiet contemplative conversations over cocktails while overlooking the Central Jakarta skyline.
Artotel Jakarta, Lantai 7, Jl. Sunda No. 3, Thamrin. 021 31925888. Website
Jakarta has quite a few “speakeasy” style bars but Prohibition is probably the best. Attached to a steakhouse restaurant, the bar section is accessible through a secret door disguised to look like a janitor’s closet (you can ask the hostess to let you in). The lounge not only looks cool but features great jazz performances most nights of the week.
Plaza Senayan Arcadia, 2nd floor, Unit X No. 215-217, Jl. New Delhi No. 9, Pintu 1 Senayan, Senayan. (021) 57901295. Instagram
Cork & Screw
Although the emphasis is obviously on the vino, both the Plaza Indonesia and Pacific Place outlets of this wine bar also do great cocktails as well as food to pair them with. Popular with professionals looking to kick back afterwork in style.
Outlets in Plaza Indonesia and Pacific Place. Website
This wine bar in Lotte Shopping Avenue has one of the widest selections of wines by the glass in all of Jakarta thanks to their multiple enomatic preservation machines. The friendly crowd can get surprisingly raucous throughout the week.
Lotte Shopping Avenue, lower ground floor, Jl. Satrio Kav 3-5. 021 2988 8909 Website
The exterior doesn’t really give you a good indication of how big Leon really is once you descend down to the bar and garden area. On top of the cool design and uber-trendy crowd, Leon’s secret weapon is a hidden speakeasy club called Goldstein which specializes in craft cocktails and intimate DJ sessions (check out their Instagram for event listing).
Jl. Wijaya I No.25, Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta. (021) 7221188. Instagram
Don’t see your favorite bar here? Add your recommendations in the comments below and we may add it to the list. In the meantime, be sure to check out the rest of our “Best in Jakarta” lists in our Food & Drink section. Cheers!