North Sumatra drinking and nightlife

Pub in Medan


Offering respite from the horrendous traffic is this two-storey pub with an outdoor Astroturf terrace for enjoying cocktails and cold beers (including frozen varieties and Guinness on tap). Inside is more of a sport…
Rooftop Bar in Medan

Level 02

Channelling a hip Jakarta rooftop bar is this vibrant open-air space that's a great spot for a balmy evening with Balinese craft beers, wine and well-priced cocktails. The food's a highlight, with the likes of crab …
Coffee in Berastagi

Biji Hitam

Pull up a rugged bar stool and enjoy a strong coffee (12,000Rp to 25,000Rp) and the hum of locals in conversation. There's plenty of choice, from filter pour-over coffee and espresso to Nutella latte, along with sev…
Bar in Danau Toba

Brando’s Blues Bar

One of a handful of genuine bars in Tuk Tuk, with pool tables and occasional live bands, that gets particularly lively on weekends. Happy hour is a civilised 6pm to 10pm and you can take to the small dance floor dur…
Bar in Medan

The View

Head up to the top floor of the Grand Swiss five-star hotel for cocktails (from 97,000Rp), beers (48,000Rp) and shimmering city views. There's live music most nights from 10pm, including a traditional Batak band on …
Coffee in Bukit Lawang

Cafeteria Gua Lawang

For something different, check out this cafe that's built within a natural grotto, with murals on the walls and strong Gayo Aceh coffee and cheap beers. It also does local and international food if you're peckish.
Coffee in Berastagi

Kopi Ta Kopikaro

This cool little cafe plays local indie music and serves excellent coffee using beans sourced locally (and from across Indonesia), made by friendly baristas who know their stuff. It also does simple local meals.
Cocktail Bar in Medan


With its long and glamorous list of cocktails (135,000Rp) and equally glamorous people, swanky Traders is the place to be seen in Medan. There are cold beers on tap, along with a semi-decent wine list.
Coffee in Medan

SS Coffee

If you happen to be in the neighbourhood, this intimate 24-hour coffee house does fantastic pour-overs, AeroPress, espresso and tubruk (unfiltered) brews using beans from across Indonesia.
Coffee in Medan

Macehat Coffee

Not only does it roast its own beans, this cafe is a magnet for connoisseurs wanting to sample some of Sumatra’s best – single-origin Mandheling Arabica from the Danau Toba area. For something more unusual, try the …