The Jakarta Post
A comfortable, captivating vibe drifts down the steps of Umbra Bar & Lounge and leads you up the raw cement stairs to the second floor. The somewhat stoic entrance to this casual, after-dinner bar and lounge, is warmed by low lights and green leaves.
Upstairs the outdoor Parasol Bar is to the right, or turn left for the Umbrella Lounge.
Either way, the simple decor mimics faux-European architecture of the 1920s. There is plenty of dark wood, leather, wooden railings with exposed cement pillars and floors, which give a masculine flavor to the whole room, in the Umbrella Lounge at least.
“The name Umbra means ‘shadow’ in Latin, which gives us ‘umbrella’ in English. We’d like to think we create an intimate atmosphere for customers looking for comfort and fun,” said owner Alexander Lukman during the recent launch party.
Like many bars and lounges, Umbra offers various genres of live music in the evening, including local indie progressive rock group Mike’s Apartment, and Jethro with their sing-a-long performances of 1990s classics. As the night progresses, the sounds transmogrify into R&B DJ mash ups.
The live performances run from Wednesday to Saturday, starting at 8 p.m. On Tuesday, DJ Melon chills the whole venue, casting a laidback lounge spell all night long.
The food in Umbra retains the 1920s feel: it’s not very modern or revolutionary. The menu consists mainly of burgers, steak and the kind of pastas you can find almost anywhere these days.
“Umbra Melt, our signature dish of toasted wheat bread with a beef patty and cheddar cheese plus thousand islands is served with sweet potato fries. It’s is a perfect combo for a group. If you want something more healthy, you can try our Grilled Tuna Steak served with ratatouille,” said Alex.
Alex understands that some local people will not feel full enough without a rice dish for dinner. “So, we also have Nasi Goreng Kampung and Bakmi Tek-tek,” he said. The Indonesian food choices of fried rice and noodles are taste commonly associated with street vendors around Jakarta.
If you want to try something new, give “1920s” a try. It’s a tequila cocktail with mango syrup decanted into a bottle and wrapped up in brown paper.
“In the States in the 1920s and 30s, liquor was forbidden and people used to wrap their bottles of alcohol in brown paper bags. We love bringing such a quirky atmosphere into Umbra. Tequila and mango is a special combination and all our visitors should try the 1920s,” said Alex.
Umbra also provides a standard menu of cocktails, whiskeys, cognac, wines and beers.
For the adventurous, Umbra has a number of signature cocktails you won’t find anywhere else. Ladies might enjoy the creamy vodka-based Snow White with the hazelnut taste of an enchanted forest. And Old Smokey is a real man’s drink of eight kinds of whiskey and herbal liqueur, with a cigar aroma, which captures the all atmosphere of the Umbrella Lounge in a tall glass.
Besides a casual after-hours hang-out spot, Umbra is available for private parties. The venue can host a maximum of 400 people. “Those in private parties can sing along with our performers or get a birthday song from them. Such things build good memories, and that is all we want for our customers,” said Alex.
Umbra Bar & Lounge
Jl. Taman Kemang 1 No. 6, Kemang, South Jakarta
Tuesday to Saturday
8 p.m. until you drop
— Photos courtesy of Umbra Bar & Lounge