Bar Hopping in Jakarta: 10 Great Routes

By Jakarta100bars
Jakarta nightlife, as I mentioned in previous posts (Jakarta Nightlife Tips), is best enjoyed if you explore a few venues on the same night, and it is preferable if those are close to each other (to avoid traffic). If you don't know Jakarta very well, I give you below 10 great bar-hopping routes. Some are famous, some are chic, some are dirty, and some are still unexplored... Anyway, follow one of them and I guarantee you a great time!

Blok M - For the Beginner
Difficulty: Easy, but be careful when you leave Jalan Falatehan, most taxis will overcharge you.
Transportation: Walking only
Highlights: Hectic street life on Jalan Falatehan, with a mix of beggars, prostitutes and fake blue bird taxis; Secret backroom in D's, Live band in Top Gun

Don't arrive too late and drink plenty of water beforehand. Start at 8pm, during the week (Wednesday or Thursday), with the bars that are located in the end of the street (Oscar and Maxi). After a few beers in those deserted joints, visit My Bar, Highway to Elle and D's Place, have a pause in Everest and Sportsman, then finish in Top Gun.

Jalan Jaksa - For the Tourist
Difficulty: Easy
Transportation: Walking only
Highlights: Live bands in Equal Park and Memories Café; Cheap beers; Friendly backpackers; Street food; Chatting with Paula, owner of Dyna Pub; Ladyboy spotting on Jalan Wahid Hasyim

The base camp for the Jalan Jaksa trail is actually on Jalan Wahid Hasyim: Dyna Pub, which has been around for ages, is not crowded but it is picturesque. After that, you can have a quick look at Domares, 20 meters from it, and Embassy 21st (in front of Akhmani hotel). These bars are far from happening, but they are interesting because you will hear live bands playing old Indonesian favourites. On your way to Jalan Jaksa, you will see Melly's Garden on your left, with a nice crowd of young Indonesians, but stopping is optional.

Further east, at the crossing between Jalan Jaksa and Jalan Wahid Hasyim, you may stop in D'Consulate, a lounge popular with Arabs. The elegant "Ocha & Bella" in Morrissey Hotel is noteworthy too if you want to meet some higher class Indonesians.

In Jalan Jaksa, most busy places are located around Margot Hotel: 3 bars should be on your to-do list: Equal Park, Memories Cafe, and Cocktail and Friends. If you still have time and/or need a drink, you may go to Ali's Bar, Venus, Obama Bar, and Pappa's Café.

The Jalan Jaksa trip can be undertaken any day of the week.

Kemang - For the below 21
Difficulty: Easy. Many venues have a First Drink Charge (FDC).
Transportation: Walking, but if you take a cab for a few short rides, you can extend to some cool bars.
Places to see: Within the "walking distance perimeter": Eco 365, Monaco, Elbow room, Tipsy, The Green, Attics, Nu China, 999. Optional, with a car: SHY, Beer Garden, Bremer, Eastern Promise, Venue (all of these to begin the evening), SF Club and Barcode (for clubbing, on weekends), Dim Sum Festival (to close the night)
Highlights: The irrespirable atmosphere in smokey Tipsy; Hearing electronic music until you become deaf; Watching the Indonesian youth getting hammered.

You should do this route on weekends since the clubs might be empty on weekdays. There is a vibrant nightlife in Kemang, but one area has such a high concentration of bars and clubs that you may spend a whole night there without taking a cab. You could follow this trail:
Start eating and drinking in Elbow room at approximately 10pm. At 11pm, walk about 200 meters to the right, and go to Eco 365 near Aksara. At this time it should still be quiet and "loungy", so don't hesitate to have at least a couple drinks. Around midnight, move to Tipsy, which should be already packed with students. If you cannot stand the smoke, go to Monaco, then head for Attics, Nu China, and finish in 999. Those venues usually close around 4am.

Senayan: "Hookers and Socialites"
Difficulty: Moderate. Expensive, you will have to pay at least Rp500,000 in entrance fees. Dress appropriately: No T-Shirts or torn jeans.
Transportation: Walking + Car
Places to see: Union, Red Square, X2, Domain, Portico, CJs. Optional: Hyu, Black Cat, Hacienda, KTV Boutique
Highlights: One of the best bar-hopping trail in Jakarta because of the diversity of the fauna you will encounter.

Start with a karaoke in Hyu or KTV Boutique (optional), then have a drink in Union, or alternatively Portico. At 11pm, head to Hotel Mulia with a car (5 min ride) and stay in CJs until 1am. Then go to Domain (5min with cab) until 2.30am, then Red Square (walking 10 min or with cab, 3 min) and at last X2 (just in front of Red Square) which closes at 5am. In the same area, if you need more bars to warm up, you may visit Hacienda or Black Cat in Senayan Arcadia.

Sudirman to Hayam Wuruk: "From One World to Another"
Difficulty: Moderate, once in the North, you should be careful with taxis. Girls should dress with skirts and high heels if you plan on going to Immigrant.
Transportation: Mostly by car
Highlights: Very interesting route as it takes you from some of the hippest bars in Jakarta to some of the worst places the city has to offer.
Start in a classy venue such as Facebar or Social House, perfect to warm up. At 11pm, go to Paulaner Brauhaus or Hard Rock Café to enjoy live music. At 00.30am, Immigrant should start being busy... You can stay an hour or two because clubs in North Jakarta stay open very late. Before 3am though, head to Malio Club (not Malioboro Spa). Warning: This is a place with "sexy dancers" so anyone may not feel comfortable inside. Malio closes at 4am, so after that you should go to Millennium, only 300 meters from there. If you take a cab, try to get a Blue Bird or Ekspress, or pay Rp20,000 without hargometer.

Millennium is interesting because it is one of the largest discos in Jakarta, with an incredibly loud sound system. Inside the club, ask for the room with "western music" (music barat). When you're sick of Millennium, and depending on the time (if it is before 5am), you may still have the chance to visit a few places such as Illigals, Monggo Mas (scary), ML Disco (even scarier). There is also the very funny Mandarin singing hall De Volvo.

Stadium always closes very late (and it doesn't close at all on Sundays), so it is the best place to finish your route.

Update 2014: I would add to this route a stop in one of the rooftop bars SKYE or Cloud.

Lokasari-Glodok-Mangga Besar: "Holy Sh*t! Where Am I?"
Difficulty: Hard. You need to feel confident visiting club with almost no foreigners, full of drugs and prostitutes, sometimes dirty, dark and trashy. You will also need to walk at night in a reputedly unsafe area to go from one place to another and/or to find good taxis.
Transport: Walking + Car
Places to see: Golden Crown, Sydney 2000, Diamond, Sun City, Club 36, Super, Nuansa Permai, Siera, Exotis, Mille's, Mn'B
Highlights: Most venues you will discover are incredible and are highlights of their own.

You can start with a drink in the lounges of Sparks Hotel (Mn'B) or Golden Crown at 9pm on almost any night. It is North Jakarta so expect some dancers between breaks. At 11pm, move to Sydney 2000 (walking distance from Golden Crown, 5 min taxi ride from Sparks). Sydney 2000 is pretty much hell on earth, and its nickname is the "ectasy factory": It will be so dark and loud that you won't stay more than 10 minutes. Once done, you can walk 5 minutes to Diamond Club, where you have live music again, and plenty of working girls.

More fun, Sun City is worth spending at least an hour, from midnight to 1am. Many foreigners from other Asian countries there, and a fun atmosphere most of the time. Don't stay too long though because you still need to visit 2 very local entertainment venues: Super Club and Nuansa Permai, both on Jalan Labu, to where you can just walk from Sun City. These venues are a bit old-fashioned, but very friendly: Do not hesitate to take the mic and sing some dangdut. When they close, you can stay in Jalan Labu and visit one of Jakarta nightlife's icons: The Club 36. This coyote bar features sexy dancers non-stop all night long until 5am, and it is always lively and crowded.

After such easy fun, you're ready for more hardcore stuff: Head to the crossing between Jalan Mangga Besar and Jalan Hayam Wuruk and ask for a club called "Siera". Locals should know about it (my review about Siera is not online yet). If you are walking, it should not take you more than 10 minutes from Club 36. It is a horrifying disco, with at least 500 persons high on drugs inside. Bring a torchlight because it is impossible to see even your hand. Once you are out of Siera, if you want to see another club just like that, you can take a taxi and go to "Exotis" (less than 5min). If not, then head to Mille's, the best nightclub for afters in Jakarta. Mille's rarely closes, so you're free to party there forever.

Pen-J: The Blok M of North Jakarta
Difficulty: Medium (Hard to find, very local, mostly bad taxis)
Transport: Walking only
Places to see: Sari Ayu, DV, LA bar, Astro, Royal, M Karaoke, MTR Club
Highlights: For those who wish to experience Indonesian-style male entertainment.

I must say I went to Pen-J only to take pictures from outside the bars, so it still needs to be explored. From what I could understand, many of these venues have live music or club music with working girls, and some rooms upstairs. Once you find the street with all the bars, it is extremely easy to go from one place to the other by foot. Here are some photos I took in July 2011:

Astro Massage and Bar
MTR Disco
L.A. Bar
Pen-J is not easy to find: You need to go to the main road, Jalan Pangeran-Jayakarta, in North Jakarta, and from there you should ask about the places mentioned above.

Mega Kuningan: Meet some fellow expatriates
Difficulty: Easy
Transport: Mostly by car with some walking if you know your way around
Places to see: Sports Café, Tempus (ex-Mistere), Loewy, Cazbar, Poste, Blu Martini, Apollo (Gay)
Highlight: Avoid the traffic.

Mega Kuningan is a bit like an island isolated from the continent: Because of the crazy traffic on Jalan Gatot Subroto and Jalan Casablanca, it is almost impossible to get out of it (or into it) at peak hours. So if you're stuck there, the good thing is that you'll find a decent number of drinking options. It never gets crazy though, but it is always friendly and perfect to meet other expatriates.

I would start the evening with Sports Café, with its fun crowd of regular patrons, for a couple of beers at 6pm. Then visit Cazbar at 8pm because they will often have events, and if not you can always play pool. Not later than 10pm, go to Poste (optional) or Blu Martini (optional) only if you are curious. If you want to meet other people, then head for Loewy, make friends there, and take the whole group to Tempus (Ritz-Carlton) to enjoy the live band. There is also a fantastic karaoke in Ritz-Carlton. At last, when the whole troop is intoxicated, head to Apollo, the most popular gay club in Jakarta. When you're done, there shouldn't be much traffic, allowing you to go home fast.

Update 2014: You may now add to your bar-hopping E&O and Safehouse

Little Tokyo: The Japanese Karaoke Experience
Difficulty: Easy, once you've found Jalan Melawai VII, near Blok M, South Jakarta 
Transport: Walking only 
Places to see: Tokishirazu, Flamingo, Geisha, Jawa-Jawa, Himeragi, U-Zou,  Cantik Jakarta, Chameleon, Club J, Don Sancho, Genji, Gokurakucho, Junko, M21 International Club, Maimu, Matsuri, Mitsubachi, Q-RI, Studio 21, USA-G1, Yujiro, ZII (all the Japanese karaoke in Jakarta available here) 
Highlights: More than the karaoke, the atmosphere of the street is very amusing with all the Japanese signs and customers. You should also try the Japanese restaurants of the area such as Aji Hara, among the best in Jakarta.

The problem with Little Tokyo is that if you are not interested in karaoke, you will get very bored since there isn't a pub or a lounge. If you do like karaoke, you can probably do a 24-hour karaoke marathon in Jalan Melawai, changing venues every hour.
Indo girls in Japanese costume in Blok M
Having fun in Little Tokyo
Grogol/Daan Mogot: The unchartered Territory
When I came back home from the airport the other day, my taxi drove to a street with at least 10 bars and clubs next to each other... I was in a hurry so I couldn't stop, but the driver told me it was Daan Mogot, in Grogol. It is a bit far so I didn't have time to visit yet, but when I have time I will make a report for Jakarta100bars.com.

Update May 2014: I have explored Grogol since, in particular Kalijodo's Red light district, Top 1 disco, and Bandara club.

For an updated article about nightlife in Jakarta in 2014, please visit this link: Jakarta Nightlife Update 2014

For the 2015 update: The Best Bars in Jakarta in 2015The Best Beer Gardens in Jakarta in 2015The Best Strip Clubs in Jakarta in 2015The Best Rooftop Bars in Jakarta in 2015Jakarta Nightlife in 2015

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15 comments to '' Bar Hopping in Jakarta: 10 Great Routes "

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  1. 90% bars in Pen-J (we usually pronounce it PANGJAY, from PANGeran JAYakarta road) is bordello area with working girls inside (working under contract), just like in Travel but little bit lower grade, mostly local and Chinese costumer. I never saw any western here. So many 'plus-plus' massage parlors, karaoke (local pop and dangdut music) and 1 or 2 'clean' massage, I forgot the name (last time I visit here 1 year ago).

    Gorgol/Daan Mogot is bordello area similar to Pangjay, but even lower standard. Mostly local costumer, consist of 'plus-plus' massage parlors and karaoke (dangdut). I didn't see any 'clean' massage here, please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Wanna try something even more hardcore? You can try bar area in Pangeran Tubagus Angke road (turn right at traffic light under Daan Mogot flyover, you can ask taxi driver), There are some dangdut bar,live music,karaoke there. 95% local. Very trashy bars with lower-class costumers. In their peak era(in 1990's) I often saw many fancy cars parked outside. Now they're getting downgraded. I tried this place once when I was in college, only stayed for 1 hour because I hate the music.

    It's not hardcore enough? Just go straight Pangeran Tubagus Angke road, about 1,5km from there is one famous gambling/bordello area called KALIJODO. It has been there from long time ago (maybe from Dutch colonial era), consist of some semi permanent buildings on polluted river banks, providing gambling and working girls. It looks trashy from outside, but you will surprised there are so many wealthy man came here to gambling. I'm not courage enough to visit this place, don't ask me what it looks like inside.

    Not far from there on Jembatan Tiga area, you can also find ruko Robinson complex, with some massage parlors (plus-plus and clean) and karaoke/live music. From outside it looks more 'humanized' than Kalijodo. I only heard about ruko Robinson from my friends who has visited there, I can't give further information to you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm the one who wrote comment above, I forgot to mention that there are 2 routes that not included on this article:

    1.Menteng-Salemba-Matraman-Pramuka route, favorite place for middle eastern people, some middle and low class bars, disco, and karaokes. Local pop, dangdut, sometimes middle east music. Many freelance working girls on venues. Transport using car, it's too far to reach one by one by foot. Not hip, you can try them if you have not much money, bored to be surrounded by 'socialite', or just wanna try new ambience.

    2.Kelapa Gading area, mostly massage parlors (plus-plus and clean), bars, and billiards. Famous hangout route for upper to middle class Chinese people. I never tried here, too far from my house.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi, I love your website! I'd like to add a humble addition to your list, the Taman Rasuna/Pasar Festival/Epicentrum experience in Kuningan. Lots of bars and nightspots have recently opened up here, all clustered together

    Liquid Exchange - Decent drinks and crowd, nice food
    Moodz - Too purple and neon, but not too bad inside, good music
    E-Corner - More a restaurant (nice food) but also has bar and good selection of drinks
    Allegre - New bar, feels to me like a bad Lowey's clone, connected with a new KTV just opened there too
    Alex Pizza n Pasta - Really nice new Italian place, great food, decent drinks and wine
    Otel Lounge: Cool setting, dark and elegant, food I tried was quite good, drinks were meh
    Bluegrass: Great American comfort food and cool bar
    Aphrodite: Oldie but still goodie, one of the best sports bars in Jakarta
    Dim Sum Inc: Open 24 hours, dim sum is great and cheap, surprisingly good beer selection, excellent place to end the night

    and all of that is within a few steps of each other. It's also a 5 min taxi drive to Megakuningan and Jackrabbit.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dear Sir.

    Ispen 2 weeks in Jakarta during a business trip on Jan-Feb 2012.
    I find your web site & personal recomedation perfect & super usefully.
    Here are my best recomedations:

    Pullman Hotel for staying, spa & executive lounge.
    Red Squre Club.
    MO Mandarin

    Batts Sha-Ngrilha
    Social Hous.
    Immigrate.
    Hard rock Caffe
    The D-Bar at Sanghyang Inda Spa & Resort Anyer.

    Thanks for everything! You are 10!

    Gonny USA

    ReplyDelete
  5. I like blues/southern rock even if i am not an american. Can you say if there is any good blues/rock clubs out there. I will be going to Jakarta in december.

    ReplyDelete
  6. just been to MTR @ Pen-J, few bars w loud music and each had 30+ girls and like 5-10 customers (Fri night @ 8pm) Was approached by mamasan, and went upstairs in like 5min w nice 18yo cute chick with the best english in the bar... however she was not very experienced, had too many rules, like how to fuck her and how to cum, no bbbj. She was hot but not sexy if you know what I mean..... :( paid 300k for girl and 30k for a beer (didnt have to and also was not cold enough when arrived) was asked for tip , but sorry not for that...
    :(

    overall - very good for a quickie, but dont pick a girl according to her english skills like me ;)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Another incredible experience is to hang out in the Guntur area : Between the Cafe Queen (Jalan Halimun Raya), Pasar Manggis techno rooms, and Pasar Rumput dangdut bars and karaokes. Very low-class venues, but between them you can walk in the very nice Guntur restidential area...

    SZ

    ReplyDelete
  8. Now all Bars in Pangeran jayakarta like MTR, Royal, LA and SA is much better in term of the place it has been re new recently,

    Royal : good striptease dance twice every night, girls are not so good now (according to me) but prize is good between 300 to 350 K / hours

    LA : Good place with a lot of good looking girls prize is the same with royal try Cindy from Bandung

    Sari Ayu : same like LA a lot of girls to choose try Imel (the best service you can get)

    Happy hunting guys

    BTW Beers is arround 50K/bottle

    ReplyDelete
  9. Lokasari Plaza: How is the Situatio there now. can you find girls there? How about Olympic Hotel?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Pen Jay e.g. SA, LA, etc. -I have been going here for over ten years and like the locals that have been hanging out here for the last thirty years. if one has never heard of these bars, then they dont know about them; if they have heard of them, then they hear things like best whore house in the world. However, the locals, who come here to drink, dont go with these girls. not cheap and poor service is generally the norm; but one might find their favorite squeeze. after a number of duds and one that was a disaster, i was going at it with the mgr in SA over that one bad situation; finally i got my money back. interesting place to see and very few foriegners but not where i go whoring; dark area but never had a single problem on the streets. friendly people.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Summary from 2011 -->STILL RELEVANT?

    i like this kind of short list of view.
    i am interested at north jakarta (lokosari, hayam wuruk and mangga besar)

    is this summary still relevant? Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  12. surprisingly yes, most of it is still up to date... for north jakarta, the places that have closed are Stadium, Millenium, Mnb, Super, Nuansa Permai

    ReplyDelete
  13. Ok, then i will sum ub the info about lokasari/mangga besar and hayam wuruk) for my night:

    start at

    Golden Crown at 10 pm and move to Diamond Club (live music and working girls) then
    Sun City from midnight to 1am (Many foreigners from other Asian countries) next i will walkt to Super Club or Nuansa Permai, both on Jalan Labu, next stop would be
    Club 36 ( sexy dancers non-stop) after that the next stop could be
    Sierra ( between Jalan Mangga Besar and Jalan Hayam Wuruk -10min walk from club 36) next
    Mille's at lokasara plaza

    what you say?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i think it would be better to go to golden crown after sun city... cancel super club (closed down)

      Delete
    2. i see, like that:
      sun city -->Golden Crown-->Nuansa Permai-->Diamond Club-->Club 36-->Sierra-->Mille's

      Delete