Jakarta's metropolis comes to a different sort of life with a vibrant after hours scene that is rivalling other major capitals of Asia.
Like any big city, Jakarta has an infectious energy that extends well beyond 2AM on a Friday night. Bar the fasting period of Ramadhan, where the city’s nightlife does indeed lay low for a month, Indonesia’s buzzing capital boasts an eclectic nightlife for those looking for a good time. Jakarta’s bustling clubbing culture goes on way after the sun goes down – once one spot turns on the light signalling the end of the night, club-hoppers looking to rack up some serious party-hours need to simply flit off to the next gig for a truly wild weekend. From world-class bars and nightclubs, here’s what goes down in Indonesia’s capital after dark.
For dinner and drinks
Start the night off at Loewy, Kuningan CBD’s go-to watering hole. The casual Parisian-by-way-of-New York style brasserie serves simple bistro fare like the classic organic roast chicken and pommes frites (IDR 105,000) alongside plates of Asian comfort food like their Indonesian grilled short ribs with jasmine rice and sambal (IDR 90,000). While dinner may be straightforward, drinks are anything but. Loewy’s award-winning mixologists roll out innovative cocktails like their signature Poprocks Martini (IDR 90,000) that will have you waxing nostalgic about your childhood, and Chocolate Buddha blend (IDR 110,000), a vodka-based concoction made with cacao liqueur, peanut butter and mascarpone cheese. If you’re lucky, you might even stumble upon one of their secret guestlist-only parties that have seen performances by the likes of Jamie XX.
For cocktails with a view
Next, catch a ride (via Bluebird taxi or Uber) and make a pit stop at Skye Lounge, perched high up on the 56th floor of BCA Tower, one of the tallest bank towers in town. Make sure you’re dressed for the occasion as the lounge does adhere to a strictly-enforced dress code – that means the highest of heels for the ladies. The swanky rooftop lounge has fantastic views that overlook the landmark Selamat Datang welcome statue, and from all the way up Jakarta’s infamous congested traffic actually becomes a pretty attraction of twinkling lights at night. If you’re lucky enough to stroll in on a rare clear night, grab an outdoor lounge seat by the backlit turquoise pool for front and center views of the DJ booth.
For world-class clubbing
Once you’ve had your fill of cocktails, it’s time to hit the clubs. Dragonfly, already an old-time favourite, recently received a stylish reboot that further cemented the club’s reputation as one of the best in town. Most impressive are the establishment’s trippy pulsating light fixtures that cover the walls and ceiling, and move in waves in tune to the beat. The clientele seen here is a combination of the fashionable and design-conscious who flock to the most current bottle-service clubs, and those who really appreciate cutting-edge dance music. Although nights at Dragonfly do tend to be inconsistent with a mixture of legendary tech-house names, deep-house rising stars, and mainstream EDM DJs making the rotation. If you’re planning on spending some serious dough, ask for the VIP table behind DJ booth for awesome behind the deck club views.
For the after-party
Not ready to call it a night? Once the mainstream nightclubs start to thin out, it’s time to hail another cab and head straight for the admittedly dodgier parts of North Jakarta, where internationally recognized super club Colosseum has dedicated punters dancing underneath its massive laser-lit chandelier up until 5AM. The main room, with incredible light shows that in itself is a sight to be seen, regularly hosts big name acts like Gareth Emery, Andrew Rayel and Aly & Fila, while more discerning clubbers are welcome to maneuver the labyrinth of private party rooms to find the well-loved underground techno chamber.
For the after-after-party
While even Colosseum closes soon after the symphony of the city’s first calls to prayer break out at dawn, Illigals is an after, after party spot that is open well past 7AM. You’d be surprised at just how many serious clubbers are still going strong when the next day rolls over. As its name suggests, Illigal’s neon-lit nightclub is a hedonist haven. In fact, the main club area is only just part of the large nightlife compound that also includes an adjoining hotel and spa. Trance legends Markus Schulz, Dash Berlin, and Above & Beyond have all made appearances here.
For post-clubbing eats
All that drinking and dancing is guaranteed to take a toll on your body, so before you head back to your hotel, stop by the open-for-24-hours Bogor Cafe at Hotel Borobudur for a post-clubbing pick-me-up. Join the ranks of disheveled night-owls and early risers for a bowl of the restaurant’s legendary sop buntut, a savoury, brothy Javanese oxtail soup that may just save you from a raging hangover.
Where to stay
You’ll undoubtedly need a crash pad after a heavy night out, and the centrally located Kosenda Hotel is the perfect base for your weekend. The boutique design hotel has a funky hipster aesthetic, with 60 stylish rooms that start at $66 a night. The colorful interiors extend throughout the hotel from to its lush rooftop lounge to its cozy coffee shop.