So nestled in a leafy area in Cipete/Kemang that it is hardly visible from the road, Yesterday Backyard is at once a trip down memory lane and a trendy hangout for Jakarta’s creative types. And for those, like me, looking for deals on cold beer and good food wherever and whenever.

If you had to describe the place in one word, “funky” would come to mind. The place has such a chilled vibe, yet there is also a lot going on. On the ground floor, under the main restaurant and bar is a full music-recording center, a photography studio, meeting areas and a busy garage fixing up vintage cars and motorcycles. In one room there is a fantastic collection of classic motorcycles and autos that are all in excellent condition and worth a mint, I’m sure. And all around are transport related artifacts; including gas pump lights, hubcaps, steering wheels etc. from the 50s and 60s, the golden era of road travel in the USA. In fact, much of the look of Yesterday Backyard harks back to when Route 66 was the most famous road in America and a time of legend to this day.

In the same complex is an open garden area where a peacock in full regalia greeted us with other wildlife including a mouse deer, the smallest type of deer in the world, found normally in northern Kalimantan. In the same area were lots of kids enjoying themselves that gave the place the feeling of a creative commune. So did the statues of animals and humanoid creatures made of automotive parts. Some of the furniture is also made from engine blocks, gear boxes and the like. But perhaps what impressed me the most is the extensive collection of baseball photos lining the entrance and walls to the men’s room. Most of them b/w and if not originals at least copies of photos from as long ago as 60+ years. Baseball nut heaven.

After a quick look around, it was time for some food and beverage, mostly the latter, on the outdoor patio near the comfortable lounge. The menu is as varied as the décor. I was not hungry, just thirsty, but my friends enjoyed their salmon, pizza and desserts. There is a full list of western and Asian favourites and I’ll come back to give those a try. We did find the beverage menu to be easier on the wallet than most places in town. A bottle of vodka was ordered and consumed with alacrity.

A friend of the family used to say about restaurants that the food is all that matters and, “You can’t eat the atmosphere.” But in Yesterday’s case you sure can be surprised by it and even learn a bit from bygone eras. (WW).

Yesterday Backyard
Jl. Pangeran Antasari 36
(Left side, just north of SOS International clinic)
T: +62-21 759 09383