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.
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.
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 secang wood, 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.
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 ijo arrack, banana yogurt, clarified citrus, and pisang ambon syrup 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.