Yogyakarta, for all its deep cultural links to Javanese traditions, its close ties to the Sultanate and a large Muslim population has somewhat of a controlled bar scene. Nonetheless, it is not without a vibrant nightlife or completely lacking in bars of every personality. It can however be a challenge to find one that suits your taste. Live band? Quite and calm? Funky? Hipster? Yogyakarta has it all. In our own quest to explore Jogja’s watering holes, we’ve come across some pretty cool places to get a drink. Thus, we though a Backstreet guide to the best bars in Yogyakarta was only natural to share with our readers.
1. Oxen Free
Located on the eastern end of Sosrowijayan Street, a stone’s throw away from the famed (or otherwise) Malioboro street is Oxen Free. Now this place has takes on a different vibe each time we visited. Weekends are largely crowded where a DJ gets the crowd grooving and the atmosphere is lively and energetic! On other nights the ambiance is quieter and its open air and dimly lit lounge makes for perfect a inner city hideaway far from the bustle of nearby Malioboro. A good spot to check out if you’re accommodation is in the area.
An institution among Yogyakarta’s expat and locals, Asmara certainly has the crowd’s heart. Apart from being popular in the community, Asmara is also popular for hosting a live band every night of the week where a different band takes to the stage between 9 – 11 pm. The bands are generally good and know how to work a crowd. The crowdat Asmara is largely a mix of local arts community, expats and travelers who live at nearby Prawirotaman, thus making it a interesting place to meet different people, local or otherwise and typically, the conversation is lively and enjoyable.
3. Lucifer Bar
Lucifer Bar is another on the list that is popular among Yogaykarta’s young and hippie crowd. It is also located on the western end of Sosrowijayan Street thus attracting travelers who are in the area. The venue is tucked away on the corner of Sosrowijayan and Gandekan in a smallish yet inviting space that has all the makings of a bar worth visiting. Lucifer also hosts a live band almost every night with different genre of music to add some measure of variation to the evenings. The line up (subject to change) for the week: Jazz on Sundays, reggae on Saturdays and Mondays, top 40’s on Tuesdays, classic rock on Thursdays, and R&B on Friday. The bar also offers international and local cuisine.
Address: Jalan Sosrowijayan 71 Yogyakarta
EasyGoIn, located on Prawirotaman is a slightly different venue. A restaurant and bar in equal parts, EasyGoIn offers a wide range of food and drinks on their menu. Their menu highlights food from the grill, Mexican specials and local food. Happy hour is also offered everyday and lasts until 7 pm and as it goes with most establishments in Yogyakarta, they too stage a live band every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
5. Beatles Pub
The Beatles Pub in Jalan Parangritis as the name suggests is a Beatles themed pub. For fans this bar would make for a nice atmosphere to soak in the legendary band’s global influence. The live band will actually rock to some of the greatest hits of The Beatles thus making it a popular spot for Beatles fans. The beer is chilled, the staff are friendly and the menu offers decent international and local fare. You can’t go wrong with The Beatles.
So there you have it, the backstreet guide to the best bars in Yogyakarta. If you think we’re missing a venue that should be on the list, let us know 🙂