Up in the air at the Sky
Bar on Jl. Thamrin

JAKARTA (JP): Nice view. Really nice view. Yeah, look at the view. That sums up the Sky Bar. Drop by, look out the windows and then get out, fast, before some waiter attaches to you and starts making like you're best friends.

Sky Bar is hard to figure, like its slogan: funky way to the sky. It's way up on the 28th floor, in a nice location next to the Mandarin Oriental and across the street from the Hyatt (though Hotel Indonesia is nearby, which no doubt drives down property prices in the neighborhood), and yet the place doesn't work.

The term terminally hip comes to mind, though the Sky Bar is not really hip no matter how it tries. It may be terminal though.

Location: Sky Bar is located high up on the 28th floor of Wisma Nusantara at Jl. Thamrin 59. It's next to Hotel President and across the traffic circle from the Hyatt. Phone them at 390-0909, ext. 7646.

Hours: Sky Bar is open Sunday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 a.m. Happy Hour is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., with all alcoholic drinks 50 percent off. There is live music on Friday and Saturday from 9 p.m. to midnight.

What's it got: The Sky Bar, being a bar, has all those things that bars have. That is beer, draught and bottled, spirits, cocktails and juices, and soft drinks for those who are driving or just for those who choose not to drink (often a sign that someone has just recently suffered from a dreadful hangover and has sworn off alcohol forever, or at least for the night).

There is also food. Mexican, Italian, Indonesian, including two kinds of oxtail soup, as the friendly waiter informed me during one of our many conversations.

Bill, please: Standard pricing for nicer establishments or establishments that are trying to be nicer. Tequila Sunrise Rp 32,500, Jack Daniels Rp 35,000 and Gin and pineapple juice Rp 32,500 for a total, including tax, of Rp 121,000. Certainly not cheap but also not extraordinary.

Here's looking at you: Looking out the windows of the Sky Bar, the city is laid out before you, a constellation of lights like precious jewels strewn at your feet. It's that view again.

In front of the windows lining one wall of the bar are comfortable curved couches and chairs, where you can lean back and gaze out the windows at your back or out in front of you at the bar and dance floor.

When you come in the door, there is a stage on your right and a small dance floor. Around the dance floor are a number of chairs and some high stools a little further back. I walked in and saw a group of people seated in front of the stage like they were watching a show, making me do a double take to see what was happening. There was no show, just a few kids dancing and a DJ playing music. Everyone was just seated like they were at a show.

Walk past the dance floor and you step up to the area where the bar is located, plus a few chairs and tables in the middle of the floor and the seating arrangements in front of the windows. The bar is a curved affair with a number of stools, largely empty this night.

The music being played was of the boom, boom, boom type, leaving you shouting ""What, what"" when trying to talk to someone. Conversation is overrated anyway, though don't tell that to the waiters here.

Odds and ends: The crowd at the Sky Bar on Wednesday night was young; it was like a post-prom party.

The waiters at the Sky Bar tend to cross the line between friendliness and obnoxiousness. It can be considered as friendly when they shake hands with you and introduce themselves. Some people may think it nice that they seem genuinely interested in what you do for a living, where you live, etc. But personally, I think the line has been crossed when they pull up a bar stool next to you and start chewing the fat. Maybe I'm wrong and people like that, but I find it overly familiar.

Last call: Sky Bar has a nice view of the city. The waiters are friendly and the crowd is young. You'll probably want to go somewhere else for your drinks and fun. (Penn Dawson)

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