Why Jalan Benda is Jakarta’s new bohemian hub

While the popular Kemang stretch continues to pack the crowds, a quieter street just adjacent to it has become a draw in its own right. Bookmark these gems to explore before you go.

Dia.lo.gue Art Space, Jalan Benda, Jakarta
  • Serene Lim
  • January 2019

In recent years, the quiet neighbourhood of Jalan Benda has been slowly changing. Old properties are being replaced by hip shopfronts that support a collective of vintage stores, cute cafes and small businesses. It’s a nice change from the sprawling malls you’d usually find in Jakarta so head here for a leisurely afternoon, and be sure to check out these spots.

1. Dia.lo.gue Art Space

There is always something new to explore at Dia.lo.gue Art Space that’s designed by noted Indonesian architect Andra Matin. It plays host to a gamut of programmes from workshops by design firms to artist exhibitions. You won’t be able to resist lingering here, especially over coffee at its breezy café. Do your souvenir shopping at its gift store, which stocks locally designed items, posters and quirky goods for kids.

Baconerie Kitchen + Bakery, Jalan Benda, Jakarta
Doesn’t bacon make everything taste better? Photo: @baconerie_cafe.

2. Baconerie Kitchen + Bakery

Breakfast lovers looking for house-cured American-styled bacon, ham, sausages — or even freshly baked bacon scones and bacon-maple syrup to go with pancakes — need look no further than Baconerie Kitchen + Bakery. Prices are fair and portions good-sized. The only downside? It’s constantly crowded so be sure to head over early.

Jakarta Vintage, Jalan Benda, Jakarta
Be sure to check out the range of wallpapers, tableware and cushions at Jakarta Vintage. Photo: @jakartavintageindonesia.

3. Jakarta Vintage

There are a bunch of furniture stores on Jalan Benda but Jakarta Vintage opens in new window is one of the newest on the block, having moved here from Darmawangsa Square last September. This is your chance to ogle at the brand’s famed mid-century teak chairs upholstered in unique modern prints.

Beer Garden Kemang, Jalan Benda, Jakarta
Other than great food and affordable beers, Beer Garden Kemang also has live music featuring handpicked local bands from 9pm daily. Photo: @beergardenjkt.

4. Beer Garden Kemang

Kick back at this neighbourhood institution, which is as convivial and unpretentious as its name suggests. While the range of beers isn’t hugely extensive, you can count on staples such as Hoegaarden and Hitachino Nest Beer to go with delish dishes like Nasi Gila, butter fried rice with meatballs, chicken satay and beef sausage, and Oxtail Soup.

5. Living Room

Go from stylish furnishings to wallet-friendly threads at Living Room. Pick up bargains from brands such as DKNY, Gap and J. Crew at this outlet store. Besides clothes, it also offers accessories like jewellery and bags. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about spending too much time here — there’s an in-house café to deposit weary partners and kids.

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