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Jakpost Nightlife: Jakarta’s speakeasy bars

Ni Nyoman Wira
Ni Nyoman Wira

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Fri, September 14, 2018 | 05:06 pm
Jakpost Nightlife: Jakarta’s speakeasy bars

Goldstein is a speakeasy-style bar that fits 40 people and specializes in cocktails. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)

The term “speakeasy” dates back to the Prohibition era (1920 to 1933) in the United States, when people were banned from consuming and selling alcohol. At that time, people drank their booze in hidden, illicit drinking houses that were only open to members and spread through word of mouth, as reported by star2.com.

Jakarta has bars that apply a speakeasy style for those who wish to enjoy their drinks with exclusivity.

Goldstein

Located beneath León, Goldstein is a speakeasy bar that fits 40 people and specializes in cocktails. It has a bar and round tables without a minimum bill, and sofas with minimum bill starting from Rp 3 million (US$202). Reservations in advance are advised. People will usually receive a golden ticket before entering the bar.

Where: Jl. Wijaya I No. 25, Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta. +6221 7221188

Live music is at Goldstein from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. Live music is at Goldstein from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)

Crowd: Young executives and cocktail enthusiasts.

Wear: Smart casual. Shorts are allowed if paired with shoes. No flip-flops.

Music: Live music from Tuesday to Sunday, starting from 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. The genres are usually jazz, pop, RnB or deep house.

Goldstein's smoky autumn leaves, consisting of whiskey, Calvados, sweet Vermouth, Strega and Angostura bitters.  Goldstein's smoky autumn leaves, consisting of whiskey, Calvados, sweet Vermouth, Strega and Angostura bitters. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)

Taste: Goldstein has five best-selling cocktails — the fresh, smooth bergamot sour, which contains homemade earl grey syrup and egg white; the spicy bloody martini, with vodka and Tabasco sauce; smoky autumn leaves, which contains whiskey and Strega; fragrant juniper’s outfit, with gin and Grand Marnier; and the sweet qué padre, which has strawberry-blackpepper shrubs. The friendly bartenders will also give their recommendations based on customers’ preferences.

Quirks: Goldstein has a homey ambiance. They also take their cocktails very seriously.

Average bill: Starting from Rp 300,000 (US$20) per person.

Prohibition Asia

Often recognized as one of the oldest speakeasy bars in town, Prohibition Asia started its operation around four years ago. Set like a bar in the 1920s, it is in the same location as its chophouse. Most people only recognize the entrance through the chophouse; however, the bar actually has another secret door at the back, only for their members. The bar is open from 5 p.m. and closes at 1 a.m. (weekdays) and 2 a.m. (weekends). Private rooms are also available.

Where: Plaza Senayan Arcadia, 2nd floor, Jl. New Delhi No. 9, Pintu 1 Senayan, Central Jakarta. +6221 5790 1295.

Crowd: Young executives and 30-year-old and above businesspeople. Peak hour usually starts at 10 p.m.

Wear: Smart casual. No shorts allowed unless paired with shoes or heels. No flip-flops.

Music: Tuesday through Saturday. They mostly play jazz, especially on Tuesday and Wednesday, but they also have a room for other genres, such as top 40s and pop jazz.

Prohibition Asia mostly plays jazz, especially on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but they also have a room for other genres, such as top 40s and pop jazz. Prohibition Asia mostly plays jazz, especially on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but they also have a room for other genres, such as top 40s and pop jazz. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)

Taste: Their unique bathtub gin is literally served in a bathtub-like bowl, mint julep and nachos for their snack.

Quirks: The bar’s decor may remind you of some Hollywood films.

Average bill: Starting from Rp 2,000,000. Minimum bill on their largest sofa starts at Rp 1,500,000 on weekends; no minimum spending on weekdays.

Read also: Jakpost Nightlife: Mexican-inspired hot spots

The Back Room

People who want to hang out with their friends in a cozy and laid-back atmosphere can opt for The Back Room. The bar is also good for meetings as it is located in Central Jakarta. Said to be the reincarnation of the gentlemen’s club in the capital city, the bar provides light bites and drinks in a wide space. No minimum spending for the bar or sofas.

Where: First floor of Pullman Jakarta Indonesia, Jl. MH Thamrin No. 59, Central Jakarta. +6221 3192 1111.

Crowd: 30-year-old and above businesspeople.

The Back Room is also good for meetings as it is located in Central Jakarta.The Back Room is also good for meetings as it is located in Central Jakarta. (The Back Room/File)

Wear: Smart casual.

Music: Live music is only available on special occasions.

Taste: Debesmama Cocktail. Created by their head mixologist, Dodo Marinoputra, it consists of vodka and raspberry puree.

The Back Room's Debesmama Cocktail. Created by their head mixologist, Dodo Marinoputra, it consists of vodka and raspberry puree. The Back Room's Debesmama Cocktail. Created by their head mixologist, Dodo Marinoputra, it consists of vodka and raspberry puree. (The Back Room/File)

Quirks: The bar is often praised for having warm service. Their Debesmama cocktail has also been listed among the Best Tasting Cocktails at 2018 Belvedere Martini Week.  

Average bill: Starting from Rp 200,000 per person.

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Aside from the aforementioned bars, which tend to be accessible the public, there is still one place that remains strict to members and in-house guests:

Csaba at The Gunawarman

Csaba at The Gunawarman is designed like an exclusive gentlemen’s lounge with wooden walls, armchairs, bookshelves and a bar. It has wall-mounted lockers for their members’ whiskey bottles. Having operated for almost two years, it also provides meeting rooms with private restrooms. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m., reservations in advance are mandatory.

Entrance of Csaba at The Gunawarman. Entrance of Csaba at The Gunawarman. (Csaba at The Gunawarman/File)

Where: The Gunawarman, Jl. Gunawarman No. 3, Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta.

Crowd: Businesspeople, bankers and hotel guests.

Csaba at The Gunawarman's Shepherd Negroni, consisting of Tanqueray, Mancino Rosso, house-made orange cherry and bitters. Csaba at The Gunawarman's Shepherd Negroni, consisting of Tanqueray, Mancino Rosso, house-made orange cherry and bitters. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)

Wear: Formal attire. No T-shirts, short-sleeve shirts, flip-flops or shorts allowed.

Music: Jazz and oldies. Once in a month they hold a members and friends event where they have a jazz band and DJ who plays classic disco.

The tender and juicy 48-hour Angus beef short rib.The tender and juicy 48-hour Angus beef short rib. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)

Taste: Shepherd negroni, consisting of Tanqueray, Mancino Rosso, house-made orange cherry and bitters. Wide array of whiskeys are also available here, namely Hibiki 21 year old, Glenlivet 18 year old, Singleton 18 year old and Macallan 18 year old. For food, it is highly recommended to taste their tender 48-hour Angus beef short rib and the fresh spicy tuna sushi.

Quirks: Their utmost exclusivity and privacy. To enroll as a member, you can contact their marketing manager, Cia, at [email protected]. (kes)

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