Tucked away upstairs right in the middle of old-style Blok M, is a great little bar/restaurant that flies in the face of any alcohol snobbery, and flies the flag of the national producers of beer, wine and spirits. Its apt name is Lokaholik and it is a little gem in the ageing crown of Jakarta’s long-established entertainment district.
Blok M has been around for 50 years, an ‘anything goes’ area back then, built around the bus station with 2 or 3 streets lined with the bars that created the reputation for Jakarta as an expat bachelor haven. It has smartened up over the last two decades and morphed into a dining district with some very popular Japanese restaurants and “members only” karaoke bars hitting the scene. Finally, it’s now time to look after the locals!
Lokaholic presents a modest face to the street, just an entrance and stairs up to the first floor where you are greeted by a small retail area, and immediately you get the idea, all the beverages on sale are locally made, and there is a good selection. Step inside and you are in a cool little bar area with hectic bartenders making some mean mixes, and this is where Locaholik’s magic lies.
Lokaholic owner, and tourism expert, Joshua and his mixologists have concocted some mighty mixes to keep the customers happy. There’s ‘Daramuda’ (young blood!) an arak based cocktail with mint and air nira (palm wine); there’s the ‘Cipinang Blockbuster’ (named after the local prison), arak based again with jackfruit and Cap Tikus arak, luak berries and Bani Scrub. Are you beginning to get the idea? This is the Loka team having fun, using local ingredients and just making and taking the p**s at the same time. Bravo!
The beers are all local and getting to full international quality now: Kura Kura, Padiluwik Lager, Island Brewing, Black Sand, Stark and so on. The wines are the same: Plaga, Two Islands, Hatten and Isola. And the spirits are all locally produced too: Kaja, Nord, Iwak, Walsh Sab and a whole raft of interesting araks. You really can’t go wrong, unless you have too many of course (we tried four different cocktails that were suitably impressed and blessed with a good buzz).
Of course, you need to have some good dishes to counteract the intake and Lokaholic makes exactly the right stomach liners. A whole range of Mie dishes (noodles), a great Nachos, a well-presented Rendang and an interesting Crispy Jamur (mushrooms). So, there’s no excuse for not balancing out your local booze tasters.
So far those who haven’t tried the local brews, here is your chance. The place is neat, comfortable, organised and fun. There’s music on some nights and the staff will look after you well. Time to try something and support the local flavours — and economy! Open Monday to Saturday.
Melawai, Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta
@lokaholik.id on Instagram