I spent a few nights in Medan in April 2015, unfortunately on weekdays only. I had the opportunity to try a few clubs there but most weren't too busy and I imagine it is more lively on weekends.

If you need to book a hotel in Medan, I recommend Grand Delta Hotel, which belongs to the Delta Spa group.

As you would expect, Medan is far from being a party town. It is more conservative than many other Indonesian cities and there are also very few tourists. Most foreigners living there are Singaporean and Malaysian businessmen with a small community of expat english teachers.

As I wrote on the review Spa and Massage Parlours in Medan, the police is active in controlling nightlife activities, in particular when it comes to drugs. Last February, the Lee Garden club was shut down after ecstasy pills were found (Diskotik Lee Garden Tutup). In spite of this, recreative drugs do not seem difficult to find and clubs such as Tobasa, XXX3 or Retrospective are known to be popular with users. I strongly recommend you not to take anything illegal as you have no idea where you could end up if you get caught.

In spite of being Indonesia's third largest city, the number of decent clubs in Medan is incredibly low. To do a top 5 of the best nightlife in Medan, I had to include some underground clubs that most people wouldn't feel comfortable visiting. For this reason, if you are a "normal" clubber, I would only recommend trying the first two venues listed below:

1) Entrance
Located in Grand Aston Hotel, Entrance is the favorite club for expats in Medan. If you are a westerner, that's probably the first place you should visit. It is open everyday but you can expect it to be crowded only on weekends. They have more foreign DJs and the crowd is less static than in Retrospective (see below).

Check their events on Facebook Entrance Music Temple Medan or Twitter: Entrance Club

Entrance Medan
Grand Aston Hotel
Jalan Balai Kota No 1 Medan, Sumatera
Phone number: +62 (0) 61 4573 900 - HP +62 (0) 87867551188
Email: marcom@entrancemusictemple.com

2) Retrospective

If you are ready to spend a little money, another decent club to try is Retrospective, in Capital Building. Also nicknamed "Retro", it is located not far from the city center.

Nearby landmarks include the train station, the Marriott Hotel and the Grand Aston. Also in the vicinity is the Merdeka Walk, a string of restaurants which is one of the most lively areas in town in the evening. I would recommend to go there for a food-court type dinner.

Retrospective is a bar, nightclub and live music venue. The best events are almost exclusively on Fridays and Saturdays: You have a "big" performance once a week, either from a local celebrity band/singer, or from a special guest DJ. Guest DJs are usually coming from Jakarta, but they also had foreign ones. They seem to love female DJs and sexy dancers.

Check their events on their facebook page Retro Medan or twitter: Retrospective. There is also a high end KTV in Capital Building and SoHo lounge on 2nd Floor.

Capital Building 6th Floor
Jalan Putri Hijau No. 1A, Medan, Indonesia
Phone number: +62 (0) 61 4555 933 or +62 (0) 81375213828

3) 4) 5) Tobasa Medan, XXX3 and New Zone

Tobasa Club Medan
Sexy clubbers in Tobasa
Tobasa is an underground club which is part of the Danau Toba International Hotel. The place looks quite run-down and it is very dark. The music is typical funky house (listen below) unless they have a special event. It seems to be gay-friendly.

I also put XX3 and New Zone in the same category. Those places are very local and cater mostly to hardcore clubbers using drugs.

Tobasa Medan
Facebook: Tobasa Club Medan
Danau Toba International Hotel
Jl.Imam Bonjol No.17 Medan
Phone number: +62 61 8440717

XXX3 club
Twitter: XXX3 Medan
Yang Lim Plaza 6th Floor (Jl. Emas No.10), Medan, Sumatra
Phone number: +62 (0) 617351771 or +62 (0) 617333879
XXX3 Medan

New Zone Disko
Facebook: KTV New Zone Medan
Jalan Mangkubumi No 789, Medan
Phone number: +62 877-9901 9185
New Zone Medan

Bars and lounges:

If you are only looking for a place to listen to live music or to have a drink, I recommend you one of the 3 following options:

Prime Bar is the live music venue of the JW Marriott Hotel.
JW Marriott Hotel Medan
Jalan Putri Hijau No. 10  Medan  20111  Indonesia
Website: Prime Bar
For reservation : +62 61 4100 6500
Prime Bar in Marriott

Social House Medan (SoHo) is the trendy place in Medan for hanging out. It is in the same building as Retrospective. DJs or Live Music occasionally.
Facebook: SoHo Medan
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SohoClub06
Jalan Putri Hijau No.1A Capital Building 2nd Floor
Phone number: +62 (0) 61 4555677 / +62 (0) 812-6330-5080 / BB PIN: 29DEFC0A
SoHo Lounge Medan

Marin Lounge & Resto is the lounge of Karibia Hotel. I went there for a drink and the atmosphere was lively.
Website: Marin Lounge
Komplek Center Point, Jalan Timor Blok I No. I-IV, 6th floor of Karibia Boutique Hotel
Phone number: +62 (0) 61 8050-1933
Email marketing@marinlounge.com
Marin Lounge Medan
Photo credit: All photos were taken on the facebook pages of the venues, including the ones below (Retrospective):

3 comments to '' Medan Nightlife: Top 5 Nightclubs & Bars "

  1. I guess they don't have much competition at Entrance...but the charges are rediculous: 300k door fee (you get a Radler or coke for free...NO long drink included), small water 50k.
    Haven't seen prices like that since going out in Paris and London.
    Most people come for the Karaoke I guess (which I didn't try but have heard Jakarta style things about it).

  2. ...and after having been ripped off at an almost empty Entrance (on a Saturday night) went on to Retro...thank god! It changed my picture of Medan! Packed with a rather young but seriously partying mixed crowd; and that is something you'll have a hard time finding even in Jakarta - especially after Stadium was closed. MUCH more reasonably priced too.

  3. Level 02 is a nice rooftop bar as well for pre-drinks... You should check it out...