A Portrait of a Bar: Loewy in Jakarta

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Loewy Jakarta Indonesia restaurant bar
LoewyPhotography by Muhammad Fadli

AnOther Door Opens: In a new series created in partnership with Jameson, AnOther explores bars around the world as spaces for community and creative collaboration

AnOther has teamed up with iconic Irish whiskey brand Jameson for AnOther Door Opens, a celebration of local bars, which have long played a crucial role in creativity and connection – but are currently facing extreme hardship due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Bar-hopping from London to Jakarta to Sydney, we’ll speak to the driving forces behind three small-but-perfectly-formed bars connected by shared values of togetherness and creative collaboration. We’ll spell out a portrait of each venue, discovering how values of community and openness translate to action in the age of social distancing.

“If the bartender can hold great conversations with the guests, if they can tell them stories or make the guests tell their stories, if they can make them laugh and leave their stress from work or home behind, then that’s a good bar,” says Kiki Moka, the charismatic bar leader and head mixologist at Loewy.

One of Jakarta’s most exciting and best loved venues, Loewy started life in 2008 when the owners realised that the capital and largest city in Indonesia could benefit from a place that is open at all times of the day and to all kinds of people. Whether it’s patrons nursing a hangover and looking for a hearty breakfast, or ones looking for a late-night drink at the end of a long day. “An everyday place,” as Moka succinctly puts it. Then and now, Loewy aims to foster a spirit of openness and connection through introducing their customers to “a wide selection of whiskey and spirits that Jakarta has not seen before, as well as to get people comfortable in a bar stool at any time of day”.

Fitted out as a 1940s-inspired bistro, Loewy is filled with intimate booths which foster the type of meaningful conversations that come from a deep sense of mutual connection. And, at the heart of the space is Loewy’s focal point, a 15-metre-long bar serving what ​Moka​ deems “the stiffest drinks in town”. Each and every customer who walks through the doors is warmly welcomed by staff who cultivate a sense of connection and a feeling of festive familiarity for consumers in what, for many, has been the most uncertain year.

Whatever the occasion, the Loewy staff foster a sense of mutuality and familiarity by greeting regular faces by name, offering them their favourite drinks and trying to seat them at their usual table and cultivating a rare sense of safety in an uncertain world. “Loewy has been around for about 12 years now, and we wouldn’t have flourished this long without support from our regulars, suppliers and friends in the industry,” ​Moka remembers. “So for us, connection means interdependence and close relationship with these very, very important individuals.”

Loewy hires bartenders equipped with much more than a working knowledge of how to shake, stir and mix a suitably festive Jameson cocktail. “I think a good local bar is not just about style or concept, and having good cocktails is a secondary factor,” Moka reasons. “What’s the most important is the soul of the bartender.”

As a moment when Covid-19 continues to impact the world in ways too numerous to clearly fathom, Loewy, like many hospitality spaces around the globe, will be running a slightly different festive service this year. But Moka​ remains hopeful that the door to authentic connection remains open. “When the situation is safer, we’ll be able to throw events once more, where our guests can come together over good food, good drinks and good music.”