Live From Club 45 Radio Bar

by Runi Cholid
20th June 2024
Live from Club 45 Radio Bar on Iskandarsyah Raya Street is after-work entertainment in the form of easy tunes and reinvented '90s cocktails.

For the lone driver journeying home through downtown Jakarta on a weekday night, the radio offers a source of entertainment and company amidst the bustling traffic. Club 45 Radio Bar—a dive bar tucked on the quiet side of Iskandarsyah Raya Street—stands as a physical manifestation of this dynamic, carving out a space of solace for the weary travellers of the metropolis.

The ‘radio bar’ title here is a clear hint of what unfolds within. In addition to the bar, Club 45’s gently lit red space comes equipped with a radio station from where streaming service and DJ collective Radio Rumah Oma goes on air, broadcasting their shows and curating tunes for both the listeners at home and on the dance floor.

“‘Fun’ is the keyword [for our music selection], and that can range from eclectic, soul, funk, disco to Latin. Whatever gets you dancing with your head held up high,” shared co-founder Banjo Tasning. But instead of synths and digital remixes, one would have better luck hoping for the DJ to play some classic oldies from their vinyl collection, which blasts through the room the last-century Altec Lansing and JBL speaker sets.

It’s an old-school streak that also pours into the cocktail selection. Here, they reinvent drinks that were popular in the ’90s like the M.E.L.I.G.A. (Make Long Island Great Again), Club 45’s spin on the refreshing Long Island Iced Tea, which adds a layer of egg white or albumin to produce a foam texture reminiscent of actual iced tea. Alternatively, the 45 Colada combines the classic Blue Hawaiian and Piña Colada to introduce a fun, tropical cocktail with a twist of salted cream mango.

The food menu, on the other hand, sticks true to the dive bar experience with options that are unglamorous yet decidedly comforting. From the simple rice, egg and minced chicken dish of Pad Kra Pow! to the ‘guilty’ treat of Deep-Fried Oreo with a dollop of vanilla ice cream, each one makes a quick and fulfilling grub after a night of cocktails and spontaneous sing-alongs.

Settling into one of Club 45’s high tables or plush red sofas, one might initially find the live radio broadcast a curious backdrop for their evening. But soon, the warm analogue sound of vinyl records and the gentle assurance of a sound level metre—keeping the music at just the right volume—begin to work their magic in putting you at ease. Neckties come loose and the thought of work is easily put aside; most clubs aren’t meant for weekday hangs, but this one undoubtedly fits the bill.