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A peek into Jakarta's nightlife; B.A.T.S. JAKARTA - From Aphrodite in Taman Rasuna we took an 'Express' taxi which brought us to the lobby of the five-star Shangri-La Hotel in just a matter of minutes - all of a sudden it went quick because of a lack of vehicles on the protocol-roads of Jakarta. I was happy that I dressed myself decently and also brought enough clothes for the coming days, however an extra blouse with long sleeves would be welcome, but that was something to be taken care of later on.

Upon arrival we were ordered to pass through the metal-detector gate in front of the main entrance. My hand phone did not even set of any signal. That is not how it should work, but maybe that is just how it should be. Both young ladies had to show the contents of their bags - just a short peek inside was more than enough - before we could continue. Night clubs of this class are quite safe places in Indonesia, however you should always be aware of drugs, because you will find them everywhere, here is no exception.

A number of other seemingly young women was to be found in the lobby, sitting or standing. They were either waiting for something or making phone calls. No ladies night here tonight, so all of them were obliged to pay the 80.000 Rupiah cover fee to get in. For that money you will get your first drink - beer or soft drink - for free and you are able to spend the entire evening here without being disturbed too much. The prices are similar to other places of the same class in Jakarta and drinks also cost about the same. That might be a slight shock if you are from Jogja, but you pay for what you get obviously.

The almost cozy club is built in the theme of a New York basement. Rough construction and brick-like walls indeed create a warm atmosphere in which it always looks there are enough people to have a nice evening, even when the doors have just opened. We arrived there around eleven, which seems to be a reasonable time to start your evening, for what Indonesian night life is concerned.

The main bar seemed to be populated generally by a fixed group of 'expat' men that tried to hide their beer bellies with their ties, but without result obviously. The baldies were already enjoying their huge glasses of beer - and near them were some women SMS-ing or chit-chatting with each other. The evening clearly didn't take off yet. Those who would kick-start the evening were about to go on stage; a complete band of bule.

The DJ that often plays here has outfitted himself with a 1970's look; Afro hairstyle on an Indonesian head. Fake or not I never dared asking him. The DJ plays well and also does a good thing in handing over the music to the band, which starts the evening nice and slowly with Golden Oldies, among that also music from the 1990's, so that was a nice addition to my evening there.

When the band has played a number of songs already - which they do in their own style completely, but with lots of taste as well - the crowd has grown bigger here. It is generally Caucasian expats that are looking for some late night excitement in the form of alcoholic drinks and possibly someone to spend the night with, since most wives are left behind at home, but that is for later at night. For now it is just some basa-basi ('introduction chats') and drinking alcohol in all kinds of tastes.

After midnight the dance floor and other spaces of the club are filled up with people that seem to enjoy themselves pretty well. You should not call it dancing however. The restaurant of the club - yes for real! - has now changed into something like a 'first date area' where men and women can learn a little bit about each other while having a beer from the entrance cover fee or an expensive cocktail paid for by the male person at the table. The music now pounds heavily, properly built up from the start of the evening, but in one way or another that does not seem the main reason to be here anymore.

Address
Shangri-La Hotel
JL. Jend. Sudirman Kav. 1
10220 Jakarta
T: +62 21 570 7440
F: +62 21 570 3530
W: website


Tags: nightlife, jakarta, bats, night, life, bar, nightlife


Posted in Nightlife @ 15 April 2009 by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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