The Prohibition: New Chophouse & Speakeasy Bar in Town

April 21, 2015 Ellyna Tjohnardi
Jakarta, despite being the capital city of Indonesia, the largest Muslim population in a country, is a relatively liberal and metropolis city that is open to foreign culture. Unlike in, let's say Brunei, bars, pubs, clubs are allowed to operate legally here. So, the concept of a 'speakeasy' has been quite unthinkable until recent years. Right until this moment, I can name two places in Jakarta that is built around the speakeasy and American Prohibition era, one of them is, The Prohibition.

The Prohibition Chophouse & Speakeasy Bar Jakarta (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Flash back to the past, dress up in a gatsby costume and you will fit in perfectly here!
Basically, Prohibition is that era in the modern American history, when alcohol was once banned and thus, its distribution was prohibited. That situation seeded the rise of secret bars and since breweries were illegal, they had to make do with limited utensils to craft the illegal 'stuff'. While I'm not quite sure which one appeals to the crowd here, whether it is the exclusivity of entering through a secret passageway, or reliving the golden gatsby era (thanks to the movie, everything that happened in 1920s has got to be gatsby related). Of course, it would be fancy to go to a bar that only a handful can enter through a hidden door!

There are 2 parts of The Prohibition, the first one, with access from the main entrance visible to the public, is the restaurant / bar / chophouse. The space recreates the vintage feeling of the classic 1920s-30s art deco era, from the furniture, floor fittings, to the paraphernalia adorning the wall. It's a beautiful space indeed, and I especially love the wall treatment, which is somewhat like raw cement, but with a slight bronze-y tint to it. Oh, all the amazing photos I would be able to capture here if only the area has real windows!
The Prohibition Chophouse & Speakeasy Bar Jakarta (www.culinarybonanza.com)
The bar at the restaurant
The Prohibition Chophouse & Speakeasy Bar Jakarta (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Classic American-themed wall ornaments
The Prohibition Chophouse & Speakeasy Bar Jakarta (www.culinarybonanza.com)
The main dining area

And the other part of the place, accessible via a special 'door' located somewhere in the building (hint: it's on the 2nd floor too). This secret passage is accessible to the members who are given access by scanning their fingerprints. At the end of the dark passage, you'll find yourself in a bigger space, like a pub, with leather sofas and chairs, a well-stocked bar at one side, and a stage at the far end of the room. That's where live bands would be playing classic ragtime and swing jazz, as well as special Burlesque and Cabaret show on Saturday nights.
The Prohibition Chophouse & Speakeasy Bar Jakarta (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Left: The secret wall that opens access to the speakeasy bar
Right: a glimpse into the speakeasy bar
The Prohibition Chophouse & Speakeasy Bar Jakarta (www.culinarybonanza.com)
true indeed...

Cocktails here are supposedly crafted to recreate Prohibition Era concoctions, which, as described by the head Mixologist, is somewhat raw, and not as palatable as the modern day cocktail. Reason being, simply because during that era, access to alcoholic beverage was limited, so people had to make do with mediocre and even dodgy home brews. But worry not, here at The Prohibition, the cocktails can be fine-tuned to your personal and preference, simply ask for the head mixologist, who will gladly concoct something for you (if he's around). We sampled a few drinks, such as Whisky Sour, which was really sour by the way (makes a good aperitif drink).
Cocktails at The Prohibition Chophouse & Speakeasy Bar Jakarta (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Left: Naked Julep IDR 40,000
Right: (in silver chalice) Prohibition Mint Julep IDR 90,000 | (in glass) Whiskey Sour IDR 120,000
We also tried a real wicked drink (I didn't pay attention to the name), but it was basically very high in its percentage of alcohol and it burns the mouth just as it touches the lips. Drink this at your own risk! The beverage menu alone is 13 pages long, there's simply nothing you can't find here, from alcoholic one even until milkshakes.
Cocktails at The Prohibition Chophouse & Speakeasy Bar Jakarta (www.culinarybonanza.com)

Now, back at the chophouse, The Prohibition serves 'food fit for gangsters'. I was not quite sure what this promise will turn out like. But I imagine the kind of feast served at Al Capone's secretive meetings with his gang of street thugs. What would they be eating? A huge mound of jus-dripping steak? burgers and chips? Sandwiches? and what would they be drinking? Cheap beer, spoilt whiskey or ciders?

Well, my curiosity was immediately answered as the dishes started arriving at the table...
The Prohibition Chophouse & Speakeasy Bar Jakarta (www.culinarybonanza.com)

The menus are very elaborate, from the design, the type fonts used, material and it even contains snippets of the history at every turn of the pages. When I was done admiring the leather bound menu book, I combed through every pages to search for dishes that aroused my curiosity. The menu are a cross of american and french, with a major emphasize on the steak and seafood such as the fresh Cold Oysters...
Salmon Tartlet - smoked salmon & salmon gravlax with sour cream, chives & shallots (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Salmon Tartlet - smoked salmon & salmon gravlax with sour cream, chives & shallots IDR 75,000
Cold Oysters - served chilled with lemon, shallot vinegar and bread basket (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Cold Oysters - served chilled with lemon, shallot vinegar and bread basket IDR 425,000 / 575,000 / 750,000 (6 / 9 / 12 pcs)
Angel Hair with scallops, eggplant and pesto sauce (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Angel Hair with scallops, eggplant and pesto sauce IDR 139,000
Left: Chicago Spicy Pumpkin Soup - served with pumpkin seeds & whipped cream | Right: angel hair (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Left: Chicago Spicy Pumpkin Soup - served with pumpkin seeds & whipped cream IDR 55,000
Right: angel hair (close up)
Papilote of The Sea - mixed seafood & vegetables with green butter, baked in pastry paper (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Papilote of The Sea - mixed seafood & vegetables with green butter, baked in pastry paper, served with angel hair or mash potatoes IDR 129,000
200gr US Beef Striploin (www.culinarybonanza.com)
200gr US Beef Striploin (comes served with 1 Side Dish & 1 Sauce) IDR 249,000
200gr US Beef Striploin (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Left: Apple Banana Cranberry Crumble | Right: Chocolate Devil Cake (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Left: Apple Banana Cranberry Crumble IDR 45,000
Right: Chocolate Devil Cake IDR 45,000
Would the speakeasy and prohibition era concept of The Prohibition prove to the crowd here that it's more than just a gimmick? Let time and you be the judge...

Open Hours
- Restaurant: Lunch 11.30am-3.30pm | Dinner 5pm - 11.30pm
- Speakeasy Bar: weekdays 5pm - 1am | Fri, Sat & eve of public holiday 5pm - 2am

*) Prices are subject to Service Charge & Government Tax

The Prohibition Chophouse & Speakeasy Bar
Plaza Senayan Arcadia Units X215-217 (2nd Floor)
Jl. New Delhi No. 9, Pintu 1, Senayan
South Jakarta 10270
Ph: +6221 57901295
Click to open in Maps
www.prohibition.asia
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