The respected reputation of The St. Regis, since it first officially opened in 1904 in New York City, is clearly undisputed. History buffs will revel in the stories of the hotel’s founder, John Jacob Astor IV as well as his influential socialite mother, Caroline Astor who famously selected only 400 of New York’s top elites to attend her lavish parties on Fifth Avenue. Still, it’s not as if The St. Regis needed to rely on the storied life of its founder and history to charm its guests. Since its conception, The St. Regis has been the harbinger of taste and sophistication, dispensing first-rate service that has won over guests across the world.
Of course, equally distinguished is the iconic King Cole Bar that is housed under The St. Regis New York, famous for inventing Bloody Mary back in 1934 and being the favourite haunt of cultural bigwigs that include Salvador Dali, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and John Lennon.
The St. Regis Bar Jakarta, which began its operations in late 2022, may not be host to such luminaries compared to its New York counterpart yet, but it certainly is an exceptional place to indulge in an exquisite drinking experience in the heart of the city.
With its sleek and elegant décor, The St. Regis Bar Jakarta offers an inviting atmosphere that combines a contemporary feel with classic sophistication. Right from the entrance, guests pass through a hallway that immediately directs their attention straight to the commanding bar, with the silhouette of bartenders against the stunning lighting fixture that takes inspiration from the modern trumpet.
It goes without saying that the menu boasts a wide selection of drinks, including signature cocktails, fine spirits and wines. If the extensive drink list appears overwhelming, one would do well to pick from their signature cocktails that were inspired by various neighbourhoods of New York. There’s Capitan’s Cure (vodka, fino sherry, dry vermouth, mint and lime cordial) that epitomises midtown New York. Elsewhere, the smooth Montauk Dreaming (reposado tequila, dry sherry, banana liqueur and sweet vermouth) drew inspiration from the eclectic East Side.
One of the highlights of the cocktail menu is no doubt Jakarta’s very own version of Bloody Mary, aptly named Batavia Mary which is infused with local ingredients, such as locally-made arak and sambal oelek, topped with rempeyek (deep-fried Javanese peanut cracker) to capture the singular characteristics of The Big Durian.
While the extensive drink menu is impressive, it is also the superb service that encourages one to return time and time again. The attentive staff move briskly, sometimes attending to your needs even before you requested it. Don’t be surprised if the bartenders have already committed your favourite drinks to their memories by your second visit.
Guests arriving at dusk will be in for a treat in the form of violet hour. Part of a longstanding ritual that takes place in every St. Regis bar, the bartender discreetly wheels a mini bar cart and serves a mini glass of Violet Hour Martini to kick off the evening; the latter is also a symbolic transition that marks the shift from the working day to usher in a relaxed drinking experience.
Perhaps owing to the reputation of the establishment, the bar often sees executives entertaining their clients or close-knit groups who are simply looking for a discreet drinking session away from prying eyes. At moments like this, solitary hotel guests who are enjoying a nightcap might just wish for the company of friends. But as the night goes on and the energetic live jazz performance turns into a satisfying buzz, they can down cocktails with the knowing confidence that they can relive the exquisite drinking experience again the next night.