Each club in Jakarta says it is the best: Best in value, best in the atmosphere, best crowd, best design, etc... Actually, you've probably read a couple of those magazine rankings about the Best bars, the Best Clubs, the Best lounge or the Best restaurant in Jakarta. But how can you trust them?
My advice: Don't believe anything you read: Magazines get their money from those same bars, clubs, lounges and restaurants, and it's only natural that those who pay the most reach the top spots.
Thanks to internet though, we have a very easy way to check which venues are actually the hottest in the city.
It's very simple: I looked on three websites (Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare) how many fans each venue had.
On Facebook, I took the total number of fans/friends/group members.
On Twitter, I took the number of followers.
On Foursquare (a website used to tell you’re friends where you are), I took the total number of people who checked-in the venue.
The results are not perfect: Girly bars do not appear so popular, because people don’t say on facebook they go there. Also, some clubs are very active on the internet but it doesn’t always mean they are popular. Yet, I think it gives an very good picture of the trends of Jakarta nightlife scene,.
Here are the 2011 Most Popular Bars & Clubs in Jakarta on the web (click on the name of the venue to read more about it from jakarta100bars.com):
The 4th floor of Stadium Jakarta
1) Stadium (Total score: 73,853 fans): This is what I call a cult following! Stadium is number one, way above the rest of the competition. The most popular nightclub in Jakarta.
2) X2 (51,832) was renovated and re-launched after Ramadhan 2010. The biggest club in South and Central Jakarta, it can have 2,500 clubbers at the same time in one of their 4 themed rooms. A bit pretentious for me, and their DJs are playing too much commercial tracks.
http://twitter.com/#!/_X2_ (5 352)
3) Immigrant (14,179) is a club popular with expats and executives. It is more sophisticated and stylish than the huge majority of Jakarta’s nightlife spots. A good alternative to Dragonfly.
4) Social House (13,797): Very trendy restaurant and lounge. Visit Social House if you enjoy being surrounded by glamorous people. Some young expats.
5) Dragonfly (Total score: 13,467 fans) has set itself as the coolest place to hang out in Jakarta for young expats and celebrities, partly due to their prestigious DJ events. The place to be if you want to hang out with the Jakarta’s elite.
6) New Musro Jakarta (13,326) has been around for ages. It wasn’t so popular a few years ago but after being renovated, it is back on track. Big room full of a mostly Indo crowd.
7) Barcode (10,549) is the biggest club in Kemang, it has a nice rooftop area. Less expensive than similar clubs in Central Jakarta, but with a younger crowd.
8) Centro (10,351): One of the most popular disco in Jakarta, currently under renovation. The crowd was mostly made of young Indonesian students. Popular with gays too. CLOSED.
9) Kampus (9,852):
The “underground” nightclub of Central Jakarta. Expensive and luxurious, but dark and full of drugs. Same owner than Stadium, they also share some of the DJs. CLOSED.
10) De Hooi (9,688) is a friendly expat bar, also popular with locals. There is always something happening there. Recommended if you leave nearby.
11) Blowfish (9,641) is not as hip as it used to be, especially after a brawl in the club killed 3 people. Still very popular though, especially for special events, but with a younger crowd than Dragonfly.
12) Indochine (9,146) was designed and marketed to be a huge hit, but it is rarely crowded, or at least not enough for a venue this size. Check for their special events though, usually happening.
13) Golden Crown (8,247): Huge one-stop entertainment in Glodok (North Jakarta). Very popular among Indonesians but very few expats go there.
14) Segarra (7,697) is a bit hard to reach, especially if you leave in South Jakarta and/or if you don’t have a car. Worth checking if you happen to be in the area though, or even better, for the Sundaze parties (once a year or so).
If you are interested in Jakarta’s darker side, Malioboro spa and the Malio Club should be on your list. The 2 places are part of a big luxury complex, where a lot of things that are illegal in Indonesia can be found: Striptease, massage parlours, prostitution, etc. I hope you have a big bank account though.
16) Hard Rock Café (6792): One of the oldest live music venues in Jakarta, Hard Rock Café is not as hip as it used to be, but it stills has a lot of fans, especially with visitors from Asia. Many famous bands played here, but on a regular night it isn’t better than any other places. It’s just more expensive.
17) Millenium (5,660)
Enormous one-stop entertainment, with a disco the size of a football stadium and a smaller one, with western music, than is very similar to the small room of Mille’s. Lots of Chinese customers. The music is really loud and 90% of the customers are high on ecstasy.
18) Tribeca (5,578)
NYC style bar and club. A good place to listen to RnB.
19) Red Square (5,415) is where all the young expats go. They raised the prices and introduced an entrance fee, but it’s more packed than ever. On weekends it is almost unbearable. The key to this success? Lots of girls, many of them flirting with prostitution, and wild parties where everyone ends up dancing on the tables.
20) Luv's bar (5,283) is still a discreet club, but it has the potential of becoming more popular. Fridays and Saturdays are the best nights for a visit since it can be quiet during the week. Very similar to Red Square for the concept.
21) Club 36 (4963): Very famous and crowded gogo bar in the Jayakarta Hotel. Always full and lively.
22) Loewy (4,962): Similar to Potato Head, this partly-French restaurant is expensive and popular with expats and socialites.
23) Potato Head (4,889) is outrageously expensive in my opinion, but it serves good food. If you want to be surrounded by chic people, among them many expats, this is the place to go.
24) Bin17 (4,751): Wine lounge and restaurant serving Italian/Indo food. Nice outdoor area. CLOSED.
25) 365 Eco Bar (4,585): Alternative bar in Kemang with a great musical variety: Live bands or DJs depending on the evening.
26) Portico (4,503) Poshy restaurant and lounge. For my taste, it is too “bling bling” as we say in France.
26) Decanter: (4,233): A stylish and expensive wine lounge. It holds wine tasting and table manner classes regularly. Live music, jazz or acoustic, on weekends.
27) V2 (4,163) is hot and a cheaper, but still costly alternative to Hotel Alexis and Malioboro.
28) Melly's Garden (4,042): Very crowded and cheap beer garden, one of the best drinking joints near Jalan Jaksa.
29) 2nd Floor
Second Floor (3,826) is a success story in Kemang: It started as a cheap drinking hole, then upgraded into a modern lounge, and since the beginning of 2011 they even have a club named SF Club.
30) Poste Kitchen and Bar (3,585): Chic restaurant that has live acoustic music on Fridays and Saturdays.
31) Rolling Stone Café (3,424): Quite recently opened live music venue, good bands but average food.
32) Domain (3289):
Trendy urban lounge, restaurant and bar with busy parties on weekends. Good DJs.
The infamous Hotel Alexis (3,266), where you can find the 4Play club and the Bathhouse spa, is still one of the hottest clubs in Jakarta, but it is becoming a victim of its own popularity. The prices have skyrocketed beyond reason, and it has seen many of its clients shift to other quieter spots.
34) Bibliotheque (3265): Elegant bar and restaurant, impressively decorated as an old library. You have a live DJ on Friday and Saturday nights.
35) Grand Manhattan Club (3228): Bar of the Borobudur Hotel, recently renovated. The crowd may be a bit old.
36) The Green (3124): Electronic night club in Kemang with affordable prices and a lot of students.
37) Nu China (3,071): Very popular club in Kemang, it can be pretentious at times, especially if you aren't a regular.
38) Triple Nine (2,998) is a large club in Kemang. Crowded on weekends, the music is electronic and not too commercial. Average prices.
39) Black Cat (2,793) is the most famous jazz club in Jakarta. I’m not a jazz fan but people don’t seem to complain about it. Expensive food and beverages.
40) Brewhouse (2,780) is an upmarket beer joint located in Senayan City. Fine for those who like hanging out in malls.
41) Minus 2 (2,756): Comfortable bar with house music on the speakers. The outside area is great for looking at people walking by in FX mall.
42) Beer Garden Kemang (2,656) is a little bit more upmarket than most of the drinking joints in Kemang, while being affordable. The main reason for going there is that everyone else does.
43) Paulaner brauhaus (2,612)
German restaurant and upmarket beer house, the most authentic you will find in Jakarta. Rather expensive and full of expats.
44) Palladium (2,597)
Nightclub of the Hotel Kaisar. Not really on the map of Jakarta nightlife. Almost only Indonesian customers.
45) SHY Rooftop Kemang (2,553) is a good place to start an evening, especially during cooler months in Jakarta. Good for dates/intimate dinners during the week, it is more crowded on weekends.
46) Pastis (2,320) is a chic restaurant and bar with upmarket prices. It specializes in Mediterranean food (so-so) and is also recommended for its wine list.
47) Amor café and club (2,121)
Club and café opened 24 hours. Starting to be a bit old for Kemang...
48) Illigals (2,099) is the most promising nightclub in North Jakarta. It is very new (end of December 2010) but it’s already drawing regulars in its lounge and karaoke. Not so many expatriates but that could change since the music is western.
49) Little Baghdad (2,054):
Shisha smoking night spot in Kemang, no alcohol served.
50) Elbow room Gastro Pub (2,048):
Relaxed restaurant/pub with good European dishes and live bands on weekends.
51) Vin+ (2,022):
Wine lounge and shop. Well-designed and cosy but expensive, just as any wine lounges in Jakarta.
52) Backstage Beach Café (1,918) is a venue in Ancol to listen to live concerts. Too pricey.
53) Mistere (1,901): One of my favourite hotel bars in Jakarta because it has two rooms: One quiet with salsa dancing twice a week, and one live music stage with a great sound system.
54) Marley bar (1,886) is becoming more and more popular, especially with NGO/Embassy/journalist/teacher expatriates. Simple and relaxed atmosphere, with an eclectic music selection.
55) Flirt Bar
Flirt Bar (1,642) in Fashion Hotel is famous for having sexy dancers shows and pumping house music. A bit expensive.
56) Eastern Promise (1,624): One of the most popular expat bar in Jakarta, ideal if you just arrived in the city.
57) Mad Dogs: Expat bar in Cilandak, many regulars (1290). I lowered the number of fans of facebook to a reasonable level, on par with the Foursquare figures because I believed their account had too many fake fans.
58) Bremer Beer Garden Kemang:(1,204) A popular beer garden in Kemang. Average prices for Kemang.
59) Oscar Pub Jakarta (1,252) is a bit old-fashion and brings a crowd of regulars, some expats and some Indonesians. Not really a girly bar. Live music.
60) The Pub Kemang (1140) is an entertaining venue with beer-drinking, sports-watching, live music and pool as the main occupations. Very friendly. I lowered the number of fans of facebook to a reasonable level, on par with the Foursquare figures because I believed their account had too many fake fans.
61) Cazbar(1,130): Expat bar, a good place to meet new people in Central Jakarta. A lot of sports on TV.
62) Tabac (1,121): Good place to go to grab a beer after work. CLOSED.
63) Capocaccia (1,109): Restaurants and bar with live music on occasion. A bit posh. It could make you uncomfortable to get drunk there.
64) Only One Club (1080)
Pretty nightclub, not so happening except on weekends.
65) Ninety Nine (1,072) is mostly a restaurant, but it is also a popular hangout place among the Jakarta’s socialites. A bit overrated.
66) No2 Café (1339)
Student café in Kemang, previously known as Embrio club. CLOSED.
67) My Bar (991)
Hostess bars with lots and lots of girls from all types and all ages. Fun when you're drunk.
68) Niteflight (987) is a small club with mostly regulars and groups of friends. Tiny dancefloor and progressive music.
69) The Venue (920): Lounge and bar turning occasionally into a night club. Nice outdoor area. Popular with rich kids (high school and college) in South Jakarta.
70) Murphy's Irish Pub (908): Authentic Irish pub, recently opened (2010).
71) Bloeming (869):
Beer house specializing in flavoured beer of all kind. Reasonable prices for a mall.
72) Tiga Puluh (760) is not very popular anymore, only with some older expats and the clients of Le Meridien. Live music and working girls are the main attraction here.
73) Revo8 (737)
Themed-bar about WWII. Famous for its Fuhrer Nachos, SS Fries, Panzer Macaroni or the Eva Braun mocktail.
74) Apollo (727):
One of the few gay clubs in Jakarta.
75) Everest (720):
Friendly Blok M bar with mostly regular clients (expats and locals).
76) Sun City (708):
Excellent night club in North Jakarta. It is surprising there aren’t many expats there because it has the standards of a western club. Except for the prostitutes though.
77) Pitstop (657):
Bar with a modern design located in the Sari Pan Pacific Hotel. It has live music and it is not very crowded.
78) Phoenix (650)
Phoenix replaces the Nine Muses club. It is still very new but it intends to attract the same crowd with a nice garden and soft live music.
79) CJ’s (631) is similar to BATS: An entertaining hotel bar with live music and a lot of ladies looking for an expat “friend”.
80) Cork & Screw (625):
Upmarket restaurant, bar and wine lounge. Chic, yet casual atmosphere.
81) Chameleon (617):
Simple and relaxed restaurant and bar with reasonable prices. Sports on TV everyday and live singer on Saturday nights. CLOSED.
82) Rajamas (614)
One stop entertainment in Kota. Gloomy from the outside, but not too bad inside. The music is some kind of hardcore techno almost unbearable to human ears.
83) Comedy Café (570):
They imported in Indonesia the concept of stand-up comedy bars, and turned it into a laid-back café with all kind of performances: Singing, comedy, dancing, etc. Many gays and lesbians.
84) Mille’s is a big nightclub (473), popular among the wilder expats for its little dark room, a haven for hardcore clubbers, open non-stop on weekends. Currently under renovation (January 2011).
85) One Tree bar (473):
one of the few non-girlie bars in Jalan Falatehan. CLOSED.
86) MnB (462)
Live music and striptease (sexy dancers) in this little bar of the Sparks Hotel.
87) K7 (450):
Very big one stop entertainment, in the middle of Jakarta's old colonial center. Rarely too crowded but good DJs though. One room, huge, has "funky house", and the other, smaller, has progressive.
88) Tartine (429):
Expensive restaurant with average food, but the general atmosphere is relaxing, especially when they have live music (jazz/soft rock).
89) Burgundy (408) is one of the finest hotel bars in Jakarta. There is live jazzy music every night so it doesn’t really get crazy. Good for talking and relaxing.
90) Blu Martini (364):
Chic bar of the 5-star JW Marriott Hotel.
91) Satu Lagi (342):
Expat bar and restaurant, located in the Hotel Kristal. Rather quiet, but it has its fans. One common facebook for Hotel Kristal, I gave 100 fans.
http://www.facebook.com/hotelkristaljkt?v=info (1852 for Hotel Krystal)
92) MO bar (341) is the latest happening bar in the city. Located in Mandarin Oriental hotel, it draws a smart crowd of wealthy locals and expats. Renowned ladies’ night on Tuesdays.
Facebook estimated to 300 fans.
http://www.facebook.com/MandarinOrientalJakarta (approximative 300 cz more one group
for all Mandarin Hotel)
93) Cocktail & Friends (294):
Popular café with an outdoor terrace. Located in Jalan Jaksa, it is cheap but not classy.
94) Sydney 2000 (284)
Hardcore Techno Kota in this big night club of North Jakarta. A bit dodgy: I call it the ectasy factory.
95) Tipsy (268):
Cheap bar in Kemang, some expats.
96) Mambo Caribbean Bistro (265):
More of a restaurant, but they have salsa dancing and live bands on a regular basis.
97) D’s place (230):
The hottest place in Blok M: They have pole dancing, wet t-shirt competition, and lots of working girls. Clients are mostly expatriates.
98) Liquid Exchange (221):
The originality with this bar is that the prices of the drinks fluctuate depending on the demand, just like in a trading room. Cool design too.
99) Stix (219)
Small hotel bar of the Park Lane Hotel. Famous for its steak, for which you can get interesting bargain during the week. Live music and some working girls.
100) BATS (184) is almost always full, even on a Monday night. It has a bad reputation among expat wives since most guys go there to do improper business with fun ladies. Very entertaining though. The low scores comes from the fact that few peoples brag on facebook about how they love going to BATS.
And 5 more venues as a bonus for reading the whole ranking of Jakarta nightlife 2011’s best bars and best nightclubs:
101) Highway to Elle (183)
Hostess bar in Blok M.
102) King Cross (174):
Men's club with strippers on stage, less expensive than Club 36 or Malioboro.
103) Zen (161):
Small high-class strip club and karaoke.
104) Flanagan’s (128):
The first Irish pub in Jakarta, inside Sari Pan Pacific Hotel.
105)Top Gun (99):
It is not well ranked here, but it is the most happening bar in Blok M. Many freelance working girls and expats from all ages. They also have live music and pool.
Soon to come, a ranking of the best restaurants in Jakarta. If you have any remark, or if you find one mistake, please leave a comment.