On the weekends, one’s chance to snag a table at Spill and Still without prior booking is pretty slim. Perched atop GIOI Menteng, the hidden bar is petite, fitting only 25 guests within its moody, L-shaped room. Inside, a mix of regulars—suited workers from neighbouring embassies to folks dressed down as if visiting a friend’s home—intermingle with curious first-timers by the bar’s lounge, whose informal interior makes for such easy exchanges.
Dodging the smokes and mirrors that colour much of the nightlife scene, Spill and Still goes back to basics and does it well. In other words, classics are kept unembellished, and the atmosphere friendly without trying too much.
Upon each visit, customers can expect to find founder and bartender Kenny Soetomo behind the bar, casually shaking cocktails mid-conversation. Ditching a menu altogether, Kenny intuitively makes drink recommendations off the basis of simple get-to-know-you questions, a discipline he developed over his years clocking in and out of bartender competitions back in Perth, where he spent a good chunk of his years.
“A good cocktail is not about the gimmicks, but hitting the flavour right and pairing the right drinks to the right people,” he vouched — a mentality he then applied to the bar’s varied offerings. Going by ‘there is something for everyone’ ethos, here, flavour and mood are key. Be it the smooth Negroni or Old Fashioned, a multi-layered signature Smokey’s (peated scotch and lapsang souchong tea, brightened with agave), or perhaps an Amber (dry gin, suze, dry vermouth, palo santo, and orinoco bitters), drinks are tailored to one’s fancy.
Add to that, they have also nailed their sorbet flavours: Gin and Tonic Peach or Negroni for a refreshing after-work buzz. For bar snacks, the range stretches from the dependable duo of Korean cup noodle and spam, a bag of crisps, to unusual picks like the Jangkrik Goreng (fried crickets), a favourite amongst regulars.
Whichever the order, don’t expect it to be served in frilly glasses or flashy display, for what remains the bar’s draw is the no-fuss simplicity it offers, mixed with reliable flavours and an easygoing vibe. The fun isn’t contained in their Menteng home, however, with the bar regularly hosting pop-ups and bar takeovers alongside customer-turned-friends from Ageless Galaxy.
With more up their sleeve this year, whether out at an event or under their roof in Menteng, drinks go down easy at Spill and Still and before you know it, it’s the last call. Bottom’s up!