Indie hangout spots in Jakarta
So the long-awaited weekend has finally come and you don’t want to spend it at the mall again. Don’t worry because Jakarta has some hip indie hangout spots that are ready to welcome you with open arms.
Maybe you’ll finally get a hold of that vinyl record or novel you’ve been looking for a while, or maybe you’ll even find a new community or a new hobby.
Here are more Jakarta-centric articles to check out:
1. Aksara Kemang – literature, music, film, and photography
Image credit: @m_azriansyah
Those of you who have multiple hobbies and prefer convenience should definitely put the Aksara compound in Kemang on the top of your list. It’s a one-stop indie central that caters to literature, film, music, and film photography enthusiasts. It also hosts discussions, workshops, and music events. For upcoming shows, you can go to Aksara’s Instagram account.
Image credit: @aksarakemang
The Aksara bookstore has a selection of titles from local and international publishers, and unlike chain bookstores in Jakarta, the books there aren’t wrapped in plastic so you can read more than the synopsis before you make a purchase. You can even buy a cup of coffee at Ruang Seduh while you browse through the books.
Besides the bookstore, it also has a little movie screening place, Kinosaurus, that celebrates arthouse films, as well as a small record shop called La-La Records. Those who are into analog photography and want to get your 35mm film developed can also stop by (Lab) Rana.
Address: Jalan Kemang Raya #8B, Bangka, Mampang Prapatan, South Jakarta 12730
Opening hours: Mon – Fri 10AM-9PM | Sat – Sun 10AM-10PM
2. Dia.Lo.Gue Artspace – exhibitions, fairs, coffee, and cute merch
Image credit: @itjeher
If you happen to be in Kemang, and you’re more into the arts compared to literature, swing by Dia.Lo.Gue. The name implies inclusivity by its clever play on the word “dialogue” that, when read in Indonesian, is dia (he/she), lo (you) and gue (I/me).
Image credit: @musotrees
It frequently showcases the work of up-and-coming artists, as well as more seasoned ones. But apart from displaying art, it also hosts fairs and art markets where you can buy merchandise by local artists and chat with them in person. Dia.Lo.Gue also hosts discussions and talk shows about the creative industry, as well as intimate music shows.
Image credit: @robbianto23
Even on days when there are no events, you can spend some time at the cafe or buy artsy stuff at the shop. For example, a cute pin would cost Rp. 35,000 (~USD2.51).
Address: Jalan Kemang Selatan #99A, Bangka, Mampang Prapatan, South Jakarta 12730
Opening hours: Mon – Thurs 9:30AM-6PM | Fri 9:30AM-9PM | Sat – Sun 9AM-9PM
3. Reading Room – a space for bookworms open till midnight
Image credit: @cindynugraha
It’s easy to lose count of all the cafes, restaurants and bars in South Jakarta’s Kemang neighborhood, but there’s only one place that has shelves of books that aren’t just for decoration. The name Reading Room speaks for itself: it’s where you can spend hours reading while having coffee and a snack.
Reading Room offers a wide selection of non-fiction and fiction books, partly from the private collection of the cafe’s owner, writer and director Richard Oh. Some of the books are for sale so if you’re lucky, you can get copies that aren’t easy to find anywhere else in Jakarta for a pretty good price.
Compared to other places in Kemang, Reading Room is open until late, so you can even go there after getting off work. It also hosts events such as book discussions and poetry readings from time to time.
Address: Jalan Kemang Timur #57, Bangka, Mampang Prapatan, South Jakarta 12730
Opening hours: 10AM-12AM, Daily
4. POST Bookshop – indie bookstore and community
Image credit: @post_santa
Diversify your bookshelf by picking up some alternative reads and make Post Bookshop your next stop. Located on the upper floor of Pasar Santa, or the Santa Modern Market, this charming little bookstore has an excellent curation of books, zines, and journals in both Indonesian and English.
Since it opened in 2014, the shop has grown in size over the years and been nurturing an independent literary community of readers, writers, and poets. Bored people looking for kindred spirits will love hanging out here because you’ll get to strike up a conversation with these friendly customers, as well as the chatty shop owners and clerks, who will be happy to guide anyone who needs recommendations.
Post hosts events ranging from engaging book launches, book discussions, and occasional workshops. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the number of friends you can make there – it really is a small place with a big heart.
Address: Pasar Santa Upper Floor, Jalan Cisanggiri II #6, Petogogan, Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta 12170
Opening hours: Fri – Sun 3PM-8PM | Closed Mon – Thu
5. Baca Di Halaman – a small library in Cilandak
Image credit: @bacadihalaman
It’s unfortunate that accessible libraries have yet to become a thing in Jakarta, a fact that the people behind Baca Di Halaman try to tackle. This small space in Cilandak is worth checking out on days when you want to read while enjoying the soft afternoon breeze.
Image credit: @bacadihalaman
At the moment, it has a growing collection of over 300 books that include Indonesian classic and contemporary literature, as well as imported books. To see what’s available, you can browse this catalog.
You can apply for a membership to borrow books there, starting from Rp. 150,000 (~USD10.72) per three months. Those of you just want to borrow a specific book can take it home with you for up to 10 days, for a fee ranging from Rp. 15,000 (~USD1.07) to Rp. 35,000 (~USD2.50), depending on the title.
Address: Jalan Intan Ujung #11, West Cilandak, Cilandak, South Jakarta 12430
Opening hours: Mon – Tue & Thu – Fri 9AM-5PM | Sat-Sun 12PM-8PM | Closed on Wednesdays
6. Subtitles – 4,000 movie titles and private viewing rooms
Image credit: @stephanyjosephine
With over 4,000 movies to choose from, Subtitles is the solution to those of you who are tired of watching franchise blockbuster after franchise blockbuster in cinemas.
Unless you’re an absolute movie nerd or live in the area, you might not know that a film paradise like this exists. Existing quietly but proudly in Dharmawangsa Square’s basement since 2004, it’s figuratively and literally underground. There’s a total of 3 viewing rooms, each with a maximum capacity of 6 people.
From Mondays to Thursdays, you can book a room for Rp. 150,000 (~USD10.94) in the first session, and Rp. 185,000 (~USD13.50) for any other time of the day. On the weekends, you’d have to pay Rp. 240,000 (~USD17.51). You can save more money when you go with a group of friends, but of course you can also pay a little extra to enjoy a cozy movie date with your significant other. Snacks and beverages are available to make the experience even better.
To learn more about movies and find new topics to talk about with your cinegang, you can check out Subtitles Group’s video essay channel.
Address: Dharmawangsa Square Basement, Jalan Dharmawangsa IV-IX, Pulo, Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta 12160
Opening hours: 10AM-10PM, Daily
7. M Bloc – South Jakarta’s latest cultural hub
Image credit: @mblocspace
Like Aksara Kemang, M Bloc offers many things at one place. There’s a venue for gigs, a record store called Demajors where you can keep your music knowledge up-to-date, a bar and restaurant like Oeang for those of you looking for a place to drink and dance, and many more cafes and shops.
What makes M Bloc even more exciting is the pop markets and art exhibitions. The Sore Santai Market, for example, is perfect for lovers of thrifting and local brands. Or enjoy artwork on display that isn’t confined to the plain walls of a gallery or museum – you can browse the sketches, installations, and photographs displayed around the space.
This hub is only a 5-minute walk from the Blok M MRT station, so it’s easy to get to by public transport. A rare open-concept mall in the middle of the city, you won’t be subject to an enclosed air-conditioned space, but can actually sit outside and see the sky.
Address: Jalan Panglima Polim #37, Melawai, Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta 12160
Opening hours: Mon – Thurs 7:30AM-11PM | Fri & Sun 7:30AM-12AM | Sat 7:30AM-2AM
8. Blok M Square Basement – a playground for crate-diggers
Image credit: @dindydin
More ambitious music fans who love crate-digging for rare records might find some joy in the many little shops in Blok M Square’s basement. You can spend a whole day rummaging through hoards of vinyl records, CDs, and even cassette tapes here.
Some of the shops specialize in a certain genre, and others sell working vintage turntables and tape players. The way to know which shops are for you is if you actually go around and see for yourself. It can be pretty hard for first-timers because you’d need to have a lot of patience, but nothing beats the feeling of finding a rare second-hand record that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Don’t worry too much about dust as shop owners will be glad to clean the records for you.
You might need to haggle at some of the shops, so those who are new to this should compare prices beforehand or ask a more experienced friend to tag along. To determine whether or not you’re getting your money’s worth, check second-hand vinyl records for scratches and ask if you can have a listen first. Tip: if the record skips a lot, you can ask for a lower price.
Address: Jalan Melawai 5, Melawai, Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta 12160
Opening hours: 10AM-10PM, Daily | Some shops close earlier
9. Paviliun 28 – open-mic nights for the hidden performer in you
Image credit: @marcomarche__
Unleash your inner performer and head over to Paviliun 28. It hosts regular open-mic events for blues and jazz enthusiasts, and karaoke events where you can blow off some steam after weeks or months of working too much. There are also mini music concerts as well as spoken-word poetry nights for the aspiring poets among you.
Beverages are available starting from Rp. 10,000 (~USD0.71) , so you can soothe your throat after singing your heart out. In case you get hungry, you can order food such as Nasi Bakar for Rp. 45,000 (~USD3.22).
Paviliun 28 also screens movies in its small amphitheater that can fit up to 40 people. New events are announced frequently on its Instagram account – follow them so you’ll never miss a fun event.
Address: Jalan Petogogan 1 #25, Pulo, Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta 12170
Opening hours: Tues – Sun 3PM-12AM | Closed on Mondays
10. Kios Ojo Keos – intimate gigs for indie music lovers
Image credit: @vinokarsantini
As you can see in the photo, this space kind of reminds you of NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts – there are very few places these days where you can see your favourite artists perform this close to you.
Kios Ojo Keos, a coffee shop that’s also a gig space, a bookstore, and a record store. Well-known among the indie crowd, this space is managed by the members of one of Jakarta’s most influential bands, Efek Ruma Kaca.
When there are no music shows, open discussions, or open-mic poetry sessions, Kios Ojo Keos is quiet and can be a good place for you to read and get some work done while drinking your choice of coffee. Prices range from Rp. 12,000 (~USD0.86) to Rp. 20,000 (~USD1.43).
Address: Bona Indah Plaza Blok A2 #B11, Jalan Karang Tengah Raya, Lebak Bulus, Cilandak, South Jakarta 12440
Opening hours: Sun – Thurs 10AM-11PM | Fri–Sat 10AM-12AM
Indie hangout spots in Jakarta
This list has hopefully restored your faith in this city: there’s more to Jakarta than malls and run-of-the-mill cafes and restaurants. Have some quality time with your friends, family, or partner, and get to know new people who share your interests.
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