Bengawan Solo Restaurant (Indonesian/Javanese Food)







I rarely go to Grand Sahid Jaya Hotel on Sudirman (it is located right next to Le Meridien Hotel), but I did go there recently because I heard there was a new Indonesian restaurant. The name of the new place is "Bengawan Solo" (it is not related to the popular coffee chain located in many malls in Jakarta), named after the longest River in Java. It is located on the lobby level of the Hotel.

I had a great dinner there, I like the idea of having truly Indonesian (or Javanese) food like chicken satay, Sosis Solo, Nasi Goreng, Bebek Goreng, Gurame Bakar or Iga Sapi Asam with a modern presentation you would find in any western restaurant. The decoration of the place is also modern with Indonesian Wayang and other javanese objects.

The place reminded me another Indonesian restaurant Seribu Rasa, located in Menteng, but with a more indonesian crowd. I would recommend Bengawan Solo for a business lunch or dinner or if you want take somebody who is in the city for just a few days and you want him to discover tasty indonesian food in an elegant place. The price are very reasonable for Jakarta standard and for the quality I had there (200 000 Rp per person for a Menu).

The plus: they have a dessert menu, which is quite rare for an Indonesian restaurant. I had a Vanilla ice cream and it was a blast !


Bengawan Solo in Grand Sahid Jaya Hotel 
(near Le Meridien Hotel)
Jalan Sudirman Kav 86
Jakarta 10220

More information on their website
Phone: 021 570 4444 ext 1610 - 1613
E-Mail: prm@grandsahidjaya.com

Opening Hours:
Everyday from 11 AM to 11 PM

Other pictures from Bengawan Solo Restaurant:







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Red Square (Senayan Arcadia) - CLOSED


Update: Red Square is currently CLOSED: According to the management, it will reopen in a new location to be announced...

Red Square is one of the most popular bars in Jakarta for foreigners, and for many, it is the only place they go to for party in the city. Extremely busy on Friday and Saturday, it is so crowded that it is best to book a private table if you want to avoid suffocation. On other nights, it varies a lot: Thursday can be quite good, but from Sunday to Wednesday, it is empty the more often.

If you are a single, male expat looking to score with "normal" girls, this might be the most easy spot in Jakarta. Most girls aren't prostitutes (but more and more are), yet they are hunting foreigners with a lot of energy. This is probably why Red Square is so famous and popular. The other reasons could be the sexy dancers on special nights, the pumping house music (mostly famous western songs), their funky bartenders and the people dancing on the tables. 

The bar has a nice selection of cocktails, especially those with Vodka. The entrance fee is now around rp100,000 on weekends and the drinks are pretty expensive.

Here are two videos of Red Square (the first one at closing time, the second one on full party mode):
Red Square Jakarta
Plaza Senayan Arcadia
Unit X210-211 Jl. New Delhi No 9
Pintu I Senayan Jakarta 12710

Phone number: +62 21 5790 1281
Fax. : +62 21 5790 1286
Email : redsquarejakarta@gmail.com
Website: Red Square Bar Jakarta
Facebook fan page: Red Square Fan page

Red Square Balikpapan
Hotel Sagita Jl. Mayjend Sutoyo No. 69
Balikpapan 76113 Indonesia
Website: Red Square Sagita Balikpapan

Phone number: +62 542 820 300
Fax: +62 542 820 333
Email : info@hotelsagita.com

Red Square Bali (CLOSED, replaced by 88 Club):
Pullman Legian Nirwana
Jalan Pantai Kuta Legian, Kuta, Bali 80361
Website: Red Square Bali

Phone number: +62 361 767540
Fax : +62 361 767541
Email: redsquarebali@gmail.com

Similar clubs (small urban afterwork clubs for young executives and expats): Luv's bar & Dine, Only One Club, Flo Lounge (closed), Nu China.
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BART (Bar at the Rooftop) Artotel Jakarta Thamrin









BART is the latest of the Rooftop Bars in the city. Going on the roof is a very good option in Jakarta since most of the place are closed, with no windows and with full AC. That is maybe one of the reasons why so many rooftop bars have opened recently in Jakarta, and why it is so trendy.

BART (Approximate Acronym of Bar at the Rooftop) is the latest of this long series, it is located in Artotel Hotel on Thamrin near Sarinah. The Hotel itself is very art-friendly with a different Indonesian artist decorating the rooms for each floor. This hotel opened in late 2013 and in October 2014 they are just opening the rooftop bar, maybe after the huge success of Awan Lounge, rooftop bar of Kosenda Hotel, located 200 meters away.

I went to BART for a private party, before the official opening and I was quite impressed by the size of it. It is bigger than Awan Lounge. It is approximately 2 times the size of it and you can actually walk and navigate in the whole place. The other positive thing about BART is that you get some breeze, some air so you are not totally hot and sweaty while drinking your cocktail. The design of the place is not extraordinary I would say, the whole black and white theme colors on the furniture and on the ceiling makes you feel you are a zebra. Girls, you know what colors to wear if you want to be in tone with the place ! If you feel a bit hungry, try the food there: it comes from the restaurant located on the lobby of the hotel and it is very tasty. The Menu is mostly Asian with some western dishes. I had the chicken panini and it was great.

The Bar is located on the seventh floor of the Hotel and you can have a great view at Jakarta Skyline, towards Thamrin, Sudirman and Rasuna Said. This bar is a great addition to Jakarta's nightlife Rooftop Bars list along with Skye Bar and Cloud Lounge in the same area.

Last but not least, you cannot seat on the counters located all around the place.. Even though it is at the perfect height to seat, and there will be a shortage of seats when the bar will be packed, the waiter/waitress will gently tell you that you cannot do that...

Give us your impressions in the comments box and tell us which is your favorite rooftop bar in the city ?


BART @ Artotel Jakarta (near Sarinah Mall)
Jalan Sunda #3
Jakarta
Phone: 021 3192 5888
Website: Artotel
Twitter: Artotel

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Bali Nightlife Tips from an Expat in Bali

As South Bali is becoming more crowded and more urban, its nightlife has somewhat improved. It is still much less interesting that Jakarta nightlife, but if you come to Bali for the weekend you will certainly enjoy it.

Most things haven't changed for many years so you can also read my previous Bali Nightlife review from 2013. Here are my top recommendations for partying in Bali in 2014/2015:
Skydome in Skygarden Kuta
In Kuta, Skygarden is still the number one club: It is the most crowded, the largest, has the best marketing and the best line-up of international DJs (famous House/Trance/Progessive DJs comes at least twice a month). If you are a tourist between 18 and 30-year old, this is where you should go. If you are single and looking for a place to get a guy or a girl, this is the place too. The prices before midnight are very low so it can be a cheap way to get drunk before heading somewhere else too. At last, it is the only club in Bali which is happening 7 days a week. Go there on Sunday or Monday night when everything else is empty.

Walking distance from Skygarden, you may walk into several other nightclubs or bars such as Eikon (popular with Australians), Engine Room, Bounty and Paddy's Pub (popular with Bogans), Vi Ai Pi (good for live music), MBarGo (Hip/Hop), Apache (reggae). All of them are normally busy as they are located in the heart of Kuta.
Still in Kuta, bars and clubs located on Jalan Pantai Kuta are more popular with Indonesians, in particular those from Jakarta. You have the new Velvet bar and Hypnotized club in BeachWalk Mall, maybe one of the best new clubs in Kuta in 2014. They have good events with international DJ about once in a month. Not too far from there, The Stones hotel also organizes regular events but it is almost always empty. Still on Kuta beach, Hard Rock Café is mostly popular with the Asian crowd: Indonesians, Malaysians, Singaporeans. This is the same crowd that visits the new District (replacing Musro) which gets busy only when they have concerts.
Concert in District
Party in Hypnotized Beach Walk
Speaking about the local and Asian market, there are a handful of clubs where you will find them. The largest is Akasaka, in the heart of Denpasar, which has two dance-floors, one with Western-style house music and the other one with Funky House / Chinese-style Techno Kota. Some expats go there too because the music reminds them of places like the Stadium in Jakarta. It is also full with prostitutes, among which a fair number of stunners (in A-Club in particular). There is also Boshe VIP Club, not far from the airport, which is a classier version of Akasaka. At last, you have Adora Club in Sanur, again with a similar concept of one-stop entertainment with bar, club, karaoke, live music.

Regarding these clubs, you can also read my review about Sex Tourism in Bali.
Sexy Dancers in Adora Club
Seminyak is still the favorite party location for expats, older tourists, residents from Java and regulars of Bali. Seminyak nightlife has actually spread out to the limits of Legian in Jalan Nakula (Jenja), Jalan Dewi Sri (Pyramid) or Jalan 66 (Double Six Rooftop). There have been quite many openings and closing in the past two years. The popular nightlife venues in Seminyak at the end of 2014 are the following:

- To have a drink: Mantra, La Favela, Jealous Lovers' Dive Bar, Mamasan, Red Carpet Champagne Bar (if you are above 40), Rumours, Zappaz (live music), Charlie. Jakartans usually prefer going to Motel Mexicola or Vin +. JPs Warung has closed and it was replaced by a strange Frankenstein bar which seems to be popular as well.
Mantra in Petitenget
Red Carpet's remarkable waitresses
Motel Mexicola
- To Party: Early in the night, Townhouse (European crowd), Huu Bar (Jakartans, Indo-Chinese). After 2am, move to Mint, Jenja, Pyramid. Coming in September is a new club called Mirror / Gardin: Opened by the owners of Fable in Jakarta, we can expect it will target the same crowd as Hu'u bar.
Hu'u Bar
Mint Club
Pyramid
Jenja
- For Special events: Check the facebook pages of W Hotel (Silent Disco), Kudeta (White Party, Bikini Party, New Year Party), Potato Head, Cocoon (Hed Kandi, Splash Pool Party). Check also parties such as Disko Afrika or beach parties in La Plancha). You can also see most events in the guidebook The Beat Magazine which is available in all Circle K store.
Silent Disco in W Hotel
White Party in Ku De Ta
Disko Afrika
Splash Party in Cocoon
- For scoring with girls, hookers, transexuals: La Vida Loca, Mint Club, Bahiana, Jenja (and later in the night in DeeJay Café). For gays specifically: You should head to Jalan Dyana Pura to Mixwell, Bali Joe, and other places whose name I forgot. If you are not gay but open-minded, you can visit these bars and still have a lot of fun since they have great cabaret gogo dancers shows.
Mixwell Gay Bar in Seminyak
To conclude, it is good to know that DeeJay Café is the club that stays open the latest in Bali. It is still busy early morning at 8-9am. Needless to say most people who go there are on drugs.
Dee Jay Café in Kartika Plaza (Paradiso Kuta Hotel)
Warning about Safety in Bali: There is an increasing number of complaints about safety around nightclubs in Bali. Be careful with pickpockets. The main victims seem to be girls putting their purses in front of their motorbike. It is really recommended to put all your valuables in your trunk instead. If you have any problems, it is probably more effective to report it on the Bali Expat forum on facebook than to the police.

Photo Credit: Most of the pictures illustrating this review of Bali nightlife were taken on facebook. If you wish to have a photo you are in removed, just drop me a mail thibaud@jakarta100bars.com.

Please comment and help me keep this page up-to-date!
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Is Bali Becoming a Sex Tourism Destination?

One of the biggest changes to Bali nightlife since the past 5 years is the seemingly growing number of prostitution or semi-prostitution venues in Bali.

Those places were once discreetly located in Sanur or in some seedy streets in Denpasar, but they are now everywhere and they are certainly not trying to hide.

In Kartika Plaza, you have the new District Club which features sexy dancers and karaoke rooms with Lady Companions. It is owned by Tommy Winata, famous for being behind naughty clubs like Golden Crown in Jakarta.

In Denpasar, Akasaka was extended with a new room called A-Club, also with sexy dancers and prostitutes. The old room in Akasaka is packed on weekend and during my visit there, I saw fully naked women trying to sell tequila shots to customers in exchange for private lap dances. Considering the head-banging music that was played there, we can imagine most people inside were taking drugs (I was offered ecstasy pills upon entering too, which I declined).

Boshe is another example: Opened on Jalan By Pass Ngurah Rai about 3 years ago, it is one of the most popular clubs in Bali for Asian people at the moment. Most customers are men who book a karaoke room or a table, and lady companions.

Adora (ex-Blue Eyes) is, according to my sources, in the process of being bought by the Alexis group from Jakarta (owned by Alex Tirta, behind Colosseum, Zen Club, 1001, Tease Club, Alexis, Club 36). If you live in Jakarta, you will know what it means: Adora should be turned into a complete luxury sex place with strippers and karaoke rooms.

Delta has finally opened in Bali a spa, a karaoke and a club. They are not afraid to advertise about their Russian sexy dancers on a huge billboard in Sunset Road and with a full booth inside the Domestic Airport.

Speaking of spas, the number of plus plus massage parlours has also tripled! It used to be only a few spas such as Star Bugar. You now have Delta Spa, Riverview Spa, Royal Palace, etc...

It is still nothing compared to what is available in Jakarta, but you have to consider all these places did not exist just 5 years ago... What surprises me is how easy they advertise about their facilities and services, most of which are illegal in Indonesia.

Since the closure of Dolly, the largest red light district in Southeast Asia, it also seems many prostitutes have relocated to Bali, particularly in Sanur (see that article for more information Anticipating Dolly's Relocation To Bali). There may be also more freelance prostitution in several bars in Bali such as Crusoe's, La Vida Loca, Mint, DeeJay Café, Skygarden, Paddy's Pub but I do not have any reliable data to support my claim.

In the end, there is an increase in the number of venues offering sex services but I believe it would not be appropriate to say that Bali is becoming a sex tourism destination. Organized prostitution caters mostly to a local market: Indonesian and expats residents in Bali, and also some Asian tourists from Jakarta, Malaysia and Singapore. It is very limited compared to Thailand where even the smallest island has dozens of massage parlours and gogo bars. I hope it will stay that way!
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Batam Nightlife Guide (Updated Sept 2014)


Nightlife in Batam - Overview:
Batam is a small island in the Free Trade Zone (FTZ) located about 45 minutes from Singapore by ferry. With a population of 800,000 souls, it is the home to a small community of expatriates, most of them working in the Oil & Gas or in the High Tech manufacturing. Unlike in other parts of Indonesia, you'll find that Batam is rather well organized and clean. Close to Singapore and very little traffic.

The Indonesian island of Batam has long been one the best kept secrets as a low cost getaway for Singaporean local and expats.  The island has seven golf courses, several resorts and the costs are a fraction compared to Singapore and Bali. There is also an expat entertainment area like Blok M / Kemang.

Four – Five Star hotels run from as low as USD $50 - $80 per night and green fees can range from USD $60 - $105 which includes twin buggy sharing & caddy.  Beers at the pubs run from USD $2 - $5 and mixed drinks from $3 - $6. Batam also has a fair share of spa’s and traditional massage outlets that will cost you USD $10 for 60 minutes and slightly higher if you want sauna etc.

The Batam nightlife is very active, as you will read on this blog post and our goal is to write comprehensively as possible. We urge visitors to share your experiences, updates and feedback.

Batam for Fun: Nightlife, Massage, Pubs, Golf, Casinos and Shopping:
The main entertainment centre is located in downtown Nagoya: ‘The Nagoya Entertainment District’ or commonly referred to by expats as ‘The NED’. This area attracts a fair number of Indonesian girls working in massage parlours, karaokes, or freelancing in some bars & clubs.

The NED is a bit like Blok M in Jakarta, only bigger, with a decent concentration of nightlife venues, catering to different markets. Generally speaking though, the atmosphere is laid-back and girl-friendly, and you won't find very chic or sophisticated bars & clubs like in Singapore or Jakarta. You may meet all kind of girls there, but you should be aware that most of them are thinking in dollars.  Meeting local girls is not easy as they rarely frequent the expat entertainment district although you can meet some in venues like "Noname Club" in Harmoni Hotel or simply in the malls.

During the day, there isn't much to do in Batam, except for golfing, some shopping (cheap clothes, knock-off handbags, Chinese electronics, and liquor is very cheap.(If buying spirits whether traveling back to Singapore or other parts of Indonesia you are only allowed one bottle of spirits and one bottle of wine – they will check at the airport!)  The massage parlours / spa’s are popular with Singaporeans. All of these activities will be reviewed below.
Click on the map to enlarge
Getting there:
From Singapore: 
You have to go to Harbour Front ferry terminal and there are about 5 ferry companies with service to Batam.  There are several port destinations in Batam:  Batam Centre, Sekupang, Nongsa & Harbour Bay (Batu Ampar)   The closest location to downtown Nagoya and the entertainment district is ‘Harbour Bay’ which is 5-10 minutes from The NED and all the pubs. Wavemaster has far more ferry service but you’d need to go to Batam Centre which is about a 20 minute taxi ride and costs Rp.50,000.

The ferry ticket from Singapore is SGD $48 for two ways or SGD $42 for one way. This includes the SGD $21 fuel surcharge from the ferry operators. If you are coming from Jakarta, you can purchase a Wavemaster Ferry Ticket at most money changers or in Nagoya Hills mall and the cost of the ticket (2 way) is only SGD $30. (Add SGD $6 if traveling on the weekend – limited promotional price).

By Air from Jakarta:
By Air you can take Garuda, Lion Air etc. The flight is one hour twenty minutes. The air fare on Lion runs about Rp. 380,000 each way (1 week advance booking). On Garuda it can run twice that amount.

Visa from Singapore:
ASEAN nationals can get a free visa upon arrival good for 30 days. Most westerners can get a holiday visa on arrival for USD $35 for 30 days or USD $15 for 7 days. If you need to extend your visa, you can go to the Sumatera Building, 3rd Floor and can extend a 30 day visa for Rp. 300,000. Go in the morning and pick up the same day after 3PM (The Sumatera Building is next to the ferry terminal at Batam Centre).

If you require a visa it is suggested you pay with USD – otherwise you be charged a premium in the exchange rate.

Taxis
Taxis in Batam are far more expensive than in Jakarta. Although a law was passed to have the taxi’s metered – the taxis installed the meters but disconnected them!  Many of the taxis are substandard ‘rust buckets’ and if you are western, the taxi drivers will try to charge you a premium (2 to 3 times the standard rate and they can be aggressive and rude).

Taxi fares from the airport to the downtown Nagoya is Rp 80,000 – and the ride is approx. 30 minutes

Taxi fares from the ferry terminal to downtown Nagoya should be no more than Rp 30,000 – for a 5-minute ride!  The taxi drivers will try to charge you Rp 50,000 and show you a paper with a government logo and insist that this is the published regulated price!  Negotiate – there are tons of taxis available.

Good News!  - Bluebird Taxi is now operating in Batam. They are metered and costs’ less than the others.  You can call Bluebird: 0778-421 234  Very professional service.

Hotels in Batam
There are many hotels in the Downtown Nagoya area close to The NED and the nightlife.

4-5 Star Hotels:

Planet Holiday – One of the best with rooms running about SGD $90 2 blocks from the action

Harmoni Hotel - closest hotel to all the pubs. Rooms run about SGD $90 per night

Goodway Hotel  - an older hotel but it has big rooms & a nice spa. Rooms will run around Rp, 500,000

SwissBel Hotel – next to Planet Holiday Hotel and you can book a nice room for SGD $50 – including breakfast and taxes.

There are many cheaper hotels near The NED that cost  Rp, 250,000 – 350,000.  (Lai Lai Hotel is across the street from Harmoni and rooms start at Rp 230,000)

Your best bet it to buy a hotel voucher from Kaha Travel – located in Nagoya next to the Jamsostek Bldg. I suggest you call them before you arrive to ensure availability.  Batam often has many government events and the hotels fill up quickly. It’s also wise to avoid Batam during major Singapore holidays.                                                                                    
Kaha Travel in Nagoya:  +62 778 703 4790

The Pubs
In the past few years there have been an explosion of pubs!  Way too many for a small expat community. A visitor may find many of the pubs empty or with less than a handful of customers. In our Batam Pub Listing below we only added those that are the most entertaining and/or of interest.


There are over 35 pubs and counting with more opening every few months.  Only several Batam pubs have "real" kitchens but most can provide you with a menu and will order food for you from the other pubs.  The majority of the pubs are ‘entertainment’ driven featuring SPG’s. In the past two years some pubs have adopted a Pattaya / Manila approach.  The girls will ask you to buy them ‘ladies drinks’ which can cost anywhere from USD $5 – USD $12. It’s a good idea you ask the girl what kind of drink they want before you end-up with a huge bar tab for enumerable ‘Long Island Ice Teas’ (They will try to coax you into buying drinks for other girls. It is not uncommon for a girl to approach you, introduce herself, and then order a drink on your bill!) .

Several pubs charge a bar fine if you want to leave with one of the girls or you will need to purchase several ‘ladies drinks’ like in Manila.  This policy varies from pub to pub. At last, most of the pubs have happy hours from 17:00 – 19:00. Several charge bar fines of Rp 1,2 million during the week and Rp.1.5 million on the weekend – that’s just the bar fine!  (not popular with the local expats)  At last, most of the pubs have happy hours from 17:00 – 19:00.

Batam Nightlife Pubs listing:

Lucy’s Oarhouse
Lucy’s is the oldest expat pub in The NED. It’s a major networking hub for the oil & gas industry. A good place to catch-up with your mates and Lucy’s features the largest selection of Classic Rock. Beers run 22,000 – 25,000. The have a western menu and a great ‘barbecue pork pulled sandwich and chips for Rp,65,000 and they added a selection of Thai Curries. They have a pool table & free WiFI. A Bottle of Jack Daniels is only: Rp. 660,000. 
The New Place – Sports Bar
The New Place has several large screens with global sports events. They have the best steaks on the island, Fried Chicken steak and TexMex, (Texan founder)   They have one of the largest selections of wines & spirits. Happy hour till 7pm. 
New Place Batam
Hot Spot
The Hot Spot is a popular traditional British pub known for its curries & pizza. Popular after work and the background music is kept at a reasonable level so you can chat with your mates. Free WiFi.

Cock & Bull:
(Formerly known as ‘The Red Cock’): The Cock and Bull expanded their menu but no Haggis. Best known for their pies and mushy peas (cost: Rp.60,000) and has beer for 19,000 per bottle during happy hour – which is from opening till 7PM. Great burgers too.  Prices for entree’s range from $6 - $12. Nice ambience, consistent quality and a very professional staff. Very popular.  Excellent service.
Cock and Bull Batam
Red Rose:
Red Rose is one of the oldest landmark British / Scottish style pubs in The NED. With 5 screens it’s very popular for sporting events. Good atmosphere and a ‘home away from home’ for the UK lads. They serve an excellent British style breakfast (all day) Happy hour till 7pm.

Goodies / Smiling Hill
Goodies / Smiling Hill is located less than 10 minutes away from downtown Nagoya, tucked-away on top of a hill with breathtaking vistas overlooking Singapore. This quaint enclave has a fully serviced guest house, western standard furnished flats, a large 1st class pool and an open air restaurant offering the best in western & local dishes.  Every Friday from 5:30 - 7 PM they provide FREE beer. To expats that affectionately refer to Batam as ‘Tombstone Indonesia’ for its wily, western frontier vibe, Friday’s at Goodies is where the ‘Wild Bunch’ meet – the movers and shakers in the oil and gas industry. THE meeting and networking place for the oil and gas industry on Friday.

On Sunday’s starting at noon, they host a Buffet Roast: Roast Beef, Roast Chicken, Roast Pork and they recently added Southern Deep Fried Turkey. (try to get there around noon - the food goes quickly!)  The price is only Rp.150,000 (plus tax)  (about USD $13!)  Awesome!

Please - Visit their website or better - stop by.  www.smilinghillbatam.com

Entertainment: 

With over 30 pubs within a few block radius, you can easily do a pub crawl and explore many of them in one night, till you find one you like.  Some of the most popular are:

Fat Willy’s/Dirty Dicks – Fat Willy’s is a very popular pub with a large staff. It usually kicks-off after 9PM, with crowds coming in at midnight. Attracts a good crowd every night. No pressure if you don’t want to buy ladies drinks and professionally run. (SPG’s must place their hand phones behind the bar!) Very good deals on bottles – ask the owners, who are there nightly.
Fat Willy's Batam
The Last Pub – One of the oldest and most popular party venues. Great music with a DJ and popular with expats and comfortable for couples. No ‘lady drink’ hustles, some freelancers and the occasional local gals from the office. Open Late. Worth checking out.
Last Pub Batam
Konings – an interesting pub. Nice ladies and a large selection of wines. Happy Hour house pours only Rp 35,000.  No hardcore lady drink hustle.

Our Bar – One of the older pubs in The NED and has a large Singaporean following. Comfortable atmosphere. No pressure from the SPG’s and a pool table.

Dragon Bar – This is relatively new, quite popular and open late. Can get wild…

Candy Bar – Quite a lively staff, plenty of SPG gals and opened late. LOUD & known for their pizza.

BB Bar (Bintang Bar) – Bali style decor and they just opened KTV rooms upstairs.

Mad Cow – beautiful ladies (SPG’s) but be prepared to buy ladies drinks mista…

Club 81 – new – ‘mini disco’ with pole dancers. Loud, party atmosphere and the ladies drinks run Rp 100,000 each.

(List of Pubs: 007, 4 Play, Asylum, Bar Fly, BB Bar Bingo’s, Bottles, Candy Bar, Chili’s, Circles, Club 81,Cock & Bull, D’Angels, D’Cents, Dirty Dick’s / Fat Willy’s, Dogs Bollocks, Dragon Bar, Hot Spot, Ice Pub, Java Pub, Lusys, Konings, Mad Cow, New Place, Our Bar, Red Rose, Slainte, Steps,Sullivans, The Last Pub, TiTi Bar, Wallabies)

For free Batam / SE Asia newsletter  ‘THE NED REPORT’ – send an email: nedreport@yahoo.com
Our Bar in Batam (Picture from Our Bar Facebook)
IMPORTANT!

Please be advised that some bars will attempt to exploit an unsuspecting expat and are rip-offs.  Loaded with girls that push expensive ladies drinks and before you know it - you will have spent $100 ++ with nothing to show for it.  Insult to injury - if you fancy one of the girls you have to pay a bar fine. (billed as ladies drinks.)  The gal will charge you another $100 + for the booking!  You may find that in some pubs the gals are older than the women you will find in Blok M or Kemang etc (5 or 6 pubs have this policy whilst others charge Rp200,000 bar fine – best to ask upfront as these prices can change).

ALSO – don’t leave your drinks unattended. A few expats have been drugged & robbed. Better to pay for your drinks as you go to preclude your bill from being padded. Keep your hand phone secure and don’t lay it on the bar..

Live Music
Noname – Located on the ground floor of the Harmoni Hotel is a popular live music venue for locals and expats. Most of the acts are flown in from Jakarta and one of the best place to meet local ladies.

Java Pub – just reopened, and has live music on Friday & Saturday. Older crowd, (like Jaya pub JKT but smaller)  Comfortable place to hang out.

Bingo’s Pub – just opened and has live music on Friday’s & Saturdays. Good place, nice staff and occasional celebrity entertainers popping in for a song or jam. A nice alternative to the usual very loud rap / trance pubs.
Bingo's
Sullivans – Used to be Ria Rita and has live music on the weekends. Mostly a local crowd. Across the street from the side entrance of Lusys (helps to speak Bahasa – mostly local gals).

Discos (Trance clubs like Stadium Jakarta)
Pacific Disco: One of the most famous place for Singaporeans in Batam when in comes to nighlife, it is a huge club with loud techno and girls everywhere. North Jakarta style entertainment, not everyone will like it, especially if you prefer a more relaxed atmosphere.  It has a young crowd and be sure to carry a small torch with you!  (pitch black!  Beware of pick-pockets, popular with ojek drivers).

Planet - Located in Planet Holiday Hotel. Similar with all One Stop Entertainment nightlife venues in Indonesia.

Newton Disco – located about 10 minutes from the NED is a 4 story entertainment complex. They have hotel rooms and a spa.  Newton is more popular than Pacific and is the #1 choice for Singaporeans that visit every weekend (Batam’s version of Malioboro).

WARNING! – using or possessing drugs in Indonesia is a criminal offense and possession can land you 5 years in jail!  & a stiff fine!   When in these clubs be very careful of women that approach you and want you to buy them ‘obat’ (Xstacy) – you may find yourself being arrested by an undercover police officer…  If a police officer wishes to search you – be sure it’s done in front of witnesses and YOU empty your pockets...

Good Restaurants (local food):
As far as 'food' goes – Batam has some excellent local food but is limited in western cuisine options.(aside from the fast food venues)  The most popular western food locations in the NED are listed above. Near the Ned are some alternatives worth checking out. They serve western and local dishes: (we will be expanding this list)

Citra Rasa - In the NED opposite Lucy’s side entrance is CitraRasa -  great local and Chinese dishes. Sweet and sour chicken costs Rp 35,000, Sizzling ginger beef platter Rp 40,000 – many selections and quite good. Cans of beer 16,000 – 18,000.
Citra Rasa Batam
Satay Centre: If you like Indonesian food, on the main drag near the entrance to the Nagoya Hill Mall are several stalls that specialize in satay – very reasonable. Opens after 5PM (about a 5 minute walk from the NED) You can’t miss it – very crowded with seating outside.

Matabak – if you like Indian food – roti prata, tandoori, curries etc. – check out Martabak. Around the corner from Lusy’s, on the main carriageway – corner location. Dishes run 30,000 – 50,000. Wide selection and been there forever.

Massage Parlours:
There are many, many massage parlours / spa’s in Batam. One of the best in the traditional category Adorabella, located in the Pacific Palace Hotel. In the sleazy category, you will find many that offer similar services around the bigger hotels like Harmoni. They offer massage for USD $10 for 60 minutes and are often frequented by Singaporeans.  For a little more, you can have private room / spa with a jacuzzi. The most expensive one in that category is Atalanta spa, with high end equipment and the prettiest girls. Very popular with Asian tourists.

Check out the Spa in the NEWTON complex. Upscale: pools, Jacuzzi’s and massage.

Gambling and Casinos in Batam
Scattered about the island and in some malls are ‘arcades’ with gaming machines – locally referred to as ‘Jackpots’ (geleper: It should be noted that these types of machines are not electronic slot machines per se). Players buy tokens to use with the games and are paid any winnings in tokens. Attendants outside the arcades exchange tokens for cash, which, according to critics, is done to prevent the impression that the arcades are involved in gambling.   You should note that when redeeming your tokens for cash, expect to have 10-20% premium deducted from your winnings!   If you win $100 – you will only net $80 -$90.
The payoffs in these machines is very, very low and you should be very careful.  Although the operators have a license to operate these arcades, they are subject to being raided and closed and at any time as ‘gambling’ is outlawed under Indonesian Law and clearly, they are operated for gambling purposes.  You don’t want to be caught in one in a raid!  A no-win situation!

Although some of these locations have opened, they can be closed at any time. You DON’T want to be there during a police raid – it will cost you~!  (Often raided on a weekend!) 

Dangers, Annoyances and Scams:
Taxi Drivers  - Be careful. Taxis in Batam are not metered and if you look like a newbie – you’ll be taken for a ride!  Across from Lusys there are some local drivers that you can trust or ask some of the pub owners / managers for a reliable driver or CALL Bluebird – 0778 – 421 234.

NEVER take-up a taxi driver on an offer to ‘find you woman mista?’ - !!!

One last thing about taxis: Prepare the correct amount of change if you can to avoid being rounded up...

STD ‘s – ALWAYS use protections. Statistics from 2007 state that 9% of commercial sex workers in Batam re HIV + ~ ~!

Drug Dealers – Western Expats are a far and few in-between in Batam. Be careful.  If you are in a club you could be targeted.

A Batam Nightlife Alternative: Golf!
Batam has 7 golf courses and green fee’s run from USD $65 - $105 which includes twin buggy sharing & caddy.

Courses:
•    Batam Hills Golf Resort (designed by Max Wexler)
•    Indah Puri Golf Resort (designed by Arnold Fream)
•    Palm Springs Golf Resort
•    Southlinks Country Club
•    Sukajadi Golf Club
•    Tamarin Santana Golf Club (designed by Jack Nicklaus)
•    Tering Bay Golf & Country Club (designed by Greg Norman)

The Batam Social Golf Society host a tournament the last Sunday of every month. The cost is only  S$60 for members or S$80 for non-members. Price includes all green fees, caddy, buggy and buffet dinner!  Contact Batam Social Golf Society: bsgs@ymail.com.

For More Information on Golf Packages you can contact Peter Williams  (UK national) from Paradise Golf Holidays by email (pete.w@paradisegolf.co.uk) or by mobile: +62 813 64 339 449 (Batam), +65 90848070 (Singapore).

We will complete this review from time to time with new information about Batam nightlife. Please help us also keeping this updated by sending new infos or comments.
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