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A Retrospective: 8 Cocktail Bar Newcomers in 2019 You Might Have Missed

As we prepare ourselves for what 2020 has to offer, we look back at 2019’s newcomers in the cocktail bar scene. 2019 was an exciting year with a variety of new concepts of cocktail bars opening, offering an array of drinking experiences to the citizens of Jakarta. This new year is the best time to make a trip to the bars on the list below, as last year they were only just warming up!

1. A/A Bar

One of the only few speakeasies in Jakarta, A/A Bar first opened its doors in March 2019. Hidden behind a bookshelf, customers can gain entry into the elusive cocktail bar by pushing the correct book on the shelf. Boasting a unique 16 cocktail menu that is based around the four themes of flora, herbs, spice, and fructus, A/A Bar brought an authentic cocktail bar experience to the South Jakarta crowd. Their menu focused on highlighting exciting flavors, such as chrysanthemum, curry, and seaweed, instead of pointing towards the spirits they used. A breath of fresh air amongst the cocktail scene in Jakarta, A/A Bar has kept its promise of focusing on building the cocktail culture of the city through their impressive menu.

Favorite Cocktail: As you dive into the interestingly laid out menu, you’ll find a cocktail for everyone, from the virgin drinkers ready to take their first steps, to the daring and experienced looking for new adventurous flavors. Our favorite of their menu can be found in the “fructus” section. The Fig cocktail is a crowd favorite as the two-layered cocktail provides customers a unique experience. The warm sweet cream cheese espuma top layer of the tipple pairs deliciously well with the bitter notes of the homemade fig cognac that fills the bottom layer. Customers that make their way through the two contrasting layers will be pleasantly rewarded with a cream cheese mustache.

Highlight of 2019: Throughout the year, A/A Bar has hosted multiple visits from world-renowned bartenders. However, it was their hosting of the Jakarta Culinary Festival After Party, which was the cream of the crop. The final event of 2019’s city-wide culinary event, A/A Bar, had the largest bartender takeover of any Jakarta bar in history. A total of 9 bartenders, a collaboration of local and foreign talents, took turns at the bar serving 27 different cocktails throughout the night. An event like that could only be a sign of greater things to come.

What to Look Forward to: This year A/A Bar will be launching a new menu that will further delve into exotic ingredients, pushing the boundaries and further exciting our palates as they’ve done throughout last year.

A/A Bar Jl. Gunawarman No. 79, Jakarta Selatan P: +62 85921582888 IG: aa__bar

2. Arrack & Spice

With a promise of a unique journey into Indonesian flavors, Arrack & Spice opened their doors officially in early 2019 to present to the Jakarta public a bar that plays on the nostalgia of the local Jakartans. Connected to their main restaurant is their beautifully laid out cocktail bar with their framed signature “A & S” logo made of rubber bands as the centerpiece. Adorned with jars of local spices and bottles filled with homemade infused spirits, Arrack & Spice take their name literally in their design. Their regularly evolving cocktail menu features tipples inspired by local and traditional dishes. Using a lot of homemade infused spirits in their drinks, customers can expect exciting flavors such as secangwood, coco pandan, and tamarind highlighted in their cocktails. Arrack & Spice is the perfect place for those looking for an adventure into the authentic taste of Indonesia.

Favorite Cocktail: Of their flamboyant menu, their Es Pisang Ijo cocktail plays heavily on nostalgia. A boozy take on the local dessert dish, their version uses homemade pisang ijoarrack, banana yogurt, clarified citrus, and pisang ambonsyrup in its build. Garnished with actual pisang ijo, banana coated in green rice flour. A delicious dessert cocktail, you’d be tricked into thinking that you’re eating the traditional dessert.

Highlight of 2019: Towards the end of 2019, Arrack & Spice began collaborating with local baristas to blend the vibrant and emerging modern coffee culture of Indonesia with their bar philosophy. Working with the likes of accomplished baristas such as Muhammad Aga, Angeline Evelyn, and Otniel Christofer, to develop a unique coffee cocktail program for their menu. This collaboration manifested into two very successful events across October and December, drawing droves of coffee and cocktail lovers to their bar.

What to Look Forward to: Arrack & Spice are looking forward to further collaborations this year with local talents and industries. Looking to blend different cultures with their philosophies, they planning for many more exciting events.

Arrack & Spice Menara Rajawali, Jl. Dr. Ide Anak Agung Gde Agung, Jakarta Selatan P: +6221 5761436 IG: arrackandspice

3. Djournal House

The first of its kind in Jakarta, Djournal House, is the beautiful love child of coffee and cocktails. The older and boozy brother of the Ismaya Group’s Djournal Coffee brand, Djournal House, caters to the casual coffee drinker and brunch goer, in which many Indonesians can relate. However, taking their motto of “coffee by day and cocktails by night” quite literally, the bar also serves up an impressive coffee twisted classic cocktails for even the most casual of drinkers. Situated on the Senopati strip, Djournal house is filled regularly with customers from the early morning to the late hours of the night. A casual neighborhood hangout spot and live music venue, it’s a new concept that is pioneering a coffee cocktail movement.

Favorite Cocktails: Twisted classics with a significant emphasis on coffee, the Djournal House cocktail menu features easy-to-drink tipples for just about every coffee lover. A crowd favorite is the AeroPress Negroni that is a coffee twist on the bittersweet classic Negroni cocktail. A lovely combination of coffee flavors in their homemade infusions, the cocktail is served up using a coffee AeroPress for some dramatic flair.

Highlight of 2019: Despite their casual take on the coffee cocktails, Djournal House takes their craft quite seriously. In August last year, the bar was taken over by world-renowned bartender David Ong. Owner of two awarded cocktail bars in the Philippines, he is known for his endeavors in the craft of coffee cocktails. For one night, he brought over a special menu of coffee tipples as part of the Jakarta Culinary Festival.

What to Look Forward to: Without giving too much away, Djournal House will continue to bring to great vibes, great coffee, great cocktails, and great music to the patrons of Senopati strip this 2020.

Djournal House Jl. Gunawarman No. 11A, Jakarta Selatan P: +6221 27516939 IG:

4. Double Chin Restaurant & Bar

Early in 2019, the ARTOTEL Thamrin had major renovations to complete a much-needed facelift. One of the most significant changes was the completion of the Double Chin Restaurant & Bar, located in the lobby of the artsy hotel. Symbolizing good fortune and happy relationships, the pan-Asian themed restaurant provides for an exciting modern dining experience. Opening earlier in the year, the beautiful lobby bar carries fun and classy cocktail program, invigorating the quiet cocktail culture of the neighborhood.

Favorite Cocktails: The extensive cocktail menu of Double Chin makes it challenging to pick a favorite. However, the Let Me In.K has proven to be the favorite from day one. An elegant and totally Instagrammable cocktail; this tipple is a twist on the classic Aviation cocktail in the most elegant manner. The garnish is a drop of their homemade edible violet ink, which swirls in the drink in the most mesmerizing way. Have your camera ready when you order this cocktail!

Highlight of 2019: Filling up their calendar last year with a string of bar takeovers by bartenders from Indonesia and abroad, Double Chin can take pride in their focus on supporting local talent. With local favorites such as Elva Buana Agung, Laura Prabowo, Anggie Lawalata, Demitria Paramita, Mirwansyah “Bule,” and Santos gracing the Double Chin lobby bar, they are leading the push for local pride behind the bar in the city of Jakarta.

What to Look Forward to: Both restaurant and bar will be making extensive changes to their menus as they progress into the new year. Creating exciting changes to inject more color into the food and drink culture available in their neighborhood.

Double Chin Restaurant & Bar ARTOTEL Thamrin Jl. Sunda, Jakarta Pusat P: +62 8558112233 IG: doublechin_jkt

5. Gunpowder Kitchen & Bar

A venture into exotic flavors, Gunpowder Kitchen & Bar does just that with their Indian cuisine. A new addition to the multitude of eateries and bars around the Bunderan HI neighborhood, this establishment does something entirely unfamiliar for the Jakarta public, they serve Indian inspired cocktails. Interestingly different, this Ismaya Group establishment has taken a bold venture into unusual territory with their cocktail menu. The entire restaurant and bar are decorated beautifully with Indian trinkets, colors, and patterns. Mandala patterns adorn the bar top creating a magnificent backdrop for every cocktail served by their skilled bartenders. One of a kind in Jakarta, Gunpowder, is for those looking for entirely new experiences.

Favorite Cocktails: Amongst their signature cocktails menu, is their most popular drink thus far, The Gunpowder, named after the restaurant. An expertly made clarified cocktail infused with a potpourri of Indian flavors culminating into a smooth and delicious sip packed with a little punch. Presented under a glass bell jar with smoke for dramatic effect and taste. The Gunpowder cocktail is one to remember.

Highlight of 2019: In October 2019, Gunpowder Kitchen & Bar hosted not just one, but two world-class bartenders behind their bar. Part of the various bar events of last year’s Jakarta Culinary Festival, the guest shifts of Mario Calderone from Hong Kong, and Sean Halse from Vietnam marked three electrifyingly boozy nights at Gunpowder.

What to Look Forward to: Taking on the famous line “New Year, New You,” Gunpowder Kitchen & Bar will be changing up their current selection of signature cocktails. Looking to expand and explore new flavor combinations in their drinks, it’s exciting to see what they can come up with next!

Gunpowder Kitchen & Bar Plaza Indonesia, Jl. M.H. Thamrin, Jakarta Pusat P: +6221 50861550 IG: gunpowder.kitchenbar

6. Hakkasan Jakarta

Nestled on the 25th floor of the newly opened Alila SCBD hotel, Hakkasan Jakarta serves a unique fine dining experience overlooking the central business district. The international Cantonese restaurant brand opened its doors to the public for the first time in Jakarta early in 2019. Their nearly 360° impressively built bar sits in the middle of the restaurant, serving a nonstop array of cocktails from their expert mixologists. The bar top glows a dramatic blue making this bar unmistakably iconic amongst the numerous bars in the city. Serving Hakkasan specialty cocktails inspired by the restaurant’s modern Cantonese menu, the local talents have also injected some Indonesian flair in the offerings. Iconic and exciting, patrons of Hakkasan Jakarta can enjoy a lovely plate of dim sum while sipping a delectable drink overlooking the Capital.

Favorite Cocktails: An original tipple from the opening bar menu of Hakkasan Jakarta, this drink is a crowd favorite. The Corn & Pepper cocktail gets its name from two key ingredients, American Bourbon Whiskey, which is made from corn, and the Szechuan pepper, a staple in Chinese cooking. This combination creates for a smooth cocktail with the distinctive flavors of the Szechuan pepper minus the spicy burn. A must-try for any avid cocktail enthusiasts, the drink will tickle your senses.

Highlight of 2019: Late last year, Hakkasan Jakarta opened up their Hakkasan Rooftop right above the existing restaurant. This open-air rooftop bar and lounge provide a dramatic view of the Jakarta skyline and a completely new experience in the Jakarta SCBD area. Since first opening in November 2019, the Hakkasan Rooftop has had an impressive response from the Jakarta community.

What to Look Forward to: 2020 will no doubt be an exciting year for Hakkasan Jakarta, with its new rooftop extension fully operational. Stepping up their game in the Jakarta nightlife, it’s thrilling to see the Hakkasan Rooftop flourish.

Hakkasan Jakarta Alila SCBD, Jl. Jend. Sudirman, Jakarta Selatan P: +6221 50808766 IG: hakkasanjakarta

7. Pantja

Senopati’s newest addition to the bar and restaurant scene, Pantja brings about a new standard and experience to the Jakarta food and beverage industry. Co-owned by former Diageo Reserve Brand Ambassador Kabir Suharan and Chef Rapha Menchacha, these two know their craft and first opened their doors in October 2019. Since their first seating, reservations for the restaurant have been in high demand, with customers needing to make their bookings way in advance. Not surprising, as patrons have responded very well to the delicious menu formulated around Pantja’s three pillars of “Grain, Fire, and Farm.” Those looking for a drink can head upstairs to find a majestic bar welcoming you as you climb up the stairs. Their cocktail menu is a mix of classics and twists, offering different drinking experiences to their customers with every drink.

Favorite Cocktails: Currently, the Pantja cocktail menu features different styles of drinks from punches to sours & fixes. Inspired by cocktail classics as early as the 19th century, one of their tipples on the menu has proven to be very popular among the local crowd, the Kafir Lime Gimlet. Pantja utilizes the kaffir lime, also known as jeruk purut, which is a staple in Indonesian cooking, to create a refreshing local twist to the classic Gimlet cocktail.

Highlight of 2019: Pantja has a lot to be proud of in the first few months of opening to the public. A couple of bar takeovers has followed a successful launch, featuring international bar industry talents. The latest of whom is Colin Chia, an industry legend with over two decades of experience. The owner and founder of award-winning bars Nutmeg & Clove and #FindTheLockerRoom, brought some of his best cocktails to Jakarta.

What to Look Forward to: Speaking of exciting things to come, looking into 2020, Pantja will be launching a new and expanded menu for the bar. The talented team behind the bar also plans to start developing their homemade liqueurs, to inject their signature flair and creativity into the cocktail menu.

Pantja Jl. Senopati No.37, Jakarta Selatan P: +6221 5213010 IG:

8. Social Garden

A perfect getaway from the concrete jungle that is Jakarta, Social Garden, is a much needed green oasis for the city folk. Decorated with a vast array of plants and other greenery, stepping into the establishment nearly feels like walking into a real garden. As you delve deeper, you’ll come across the bar overlooking the restaurant’s stepped patio with booths surrounded by greenery, giving off Hanging Gardens of Babylon vibes. The cocktail menu itself looks like it was handpicked from a magical garden, with refreshing tipples perfect for the scenery. Stunning presentation matched with delicious flavors, the Social Garden bar offers patrons a breath of fresh air in the middle of the big city.

Favorite Cocktails: The cocktail menu, illustrated with artistic images of the drinks, gives customers a little visual taste of the tipples before ordering. One of their specialties is flamboyantly named the Carribean Potion of Youth. This rum-based mystical combination of coconut, mesoyi wood, and clarified milk protein draws in tropical and earthy flavors into one drink. Bright and bold, this signature drink has made it a trademark cocktail of the Social Garden bar.

Highlight of 2019: During last year’s Jakarta Culinary Festival festivities, Social Garden hosted several world-class bartenders behind their garden bar. It also became the venue for various workshops and seminars contributed by industry leaders. The events drew industry people from all across the city. A week of non-stop bar action was a perfect way for the Social Garden to stamp its place among the Jakarta bar scene.

What to Look Forward to: With a year of possibility ahead, it’ll be no surprise to expect a further expansion of their current menu and exciting events.

Social Garden Senayan City, Jl. Asia Afrika, Jakarta Pusat P: +6221 72781516 IG:

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