Bartele Santema

Oct 30th, 2008, in News, by

Bugils bar owner Bartele Santema, a Barack Obama coffee shop, and the Wall Street Journal.

Jakarta bar owner Bartele Santema has managed a fine media coup, with an article in the Wall Street Journal, entitled “Jakarta Businessman Plans ‘Sweet Home Obama’“, detailing how Mr Bart hopes to buy the Jakarta childhood home of US pre-president Barack Obama, and turn it into:

a Dutch-style coffee house festooned with Obama memorabilia, such as photos of “Barry” [Obama]

It wouldn’t be a typical Bugils type venue though:

It’s not a place we’d get drunk and drink beer.

Instead Mr Bart would sell:

Barack Blend coffeeโ€”a mix of Kenyan and Indonesian beans.

Bartele Santema, right, outside Barry's old house
Bartele Santema, right, outside “Barry’s” old house.

Your scribe doesn’t know Mr Bart and has never been in one of his 5 bars/pubs in Jakarta, in which no doubt much high spirited fun goes on, they being:

  • BuGils
  • Cazbar
  • De Hooi
  • Eastern Promise
  • One Tree

and now one in Bali (Mr Ross may have first hand information on this latter) – but has long been favourably disposed to him, as on his websites, and now, he regularly links to Indonesia Matters articles.

Bartele Santema is, as well as being an entertainment venue tycoon, a published author, writer of Bule Gila, Tales of a Dutch Barman in Jakarta, available at Amazon.

Bule Gila
Bule Gila.

As of time of writing there is just one reader comment on the piece about Mr Bart and Obama at Wall Street Journal, a very uncharitable:

OK. Help me understand why this is news?

The WSJ piece is authored by one Tom Wright, who may even be a regular at one of Mr Bart’s bars, and Yayu Yuniar. Full article at WSJ.

15 Comments on “Bartele Santema”

  1. timdog says:

    I’ve never been in one of his bars either, though for some reason I keep getting his monthly news emails; I can’t imagine why or when i ever signed up to recieve them – unless I have been in one of his bars and simply don’t remember it…

    He’s going to be screwed if it all goes wrong on tuesday though ain’t he?
    Perhaps he’ll be able to rename it “Palin’ into insignificance”…
    “Beyond the Palin”…?
    Dammit, can’t think of any McCain ones…

  2. Purba Negoro says:

    Entertainment entreprenuer…
    like Stringfellows and Spearmint Rhino et al…

    Sounds like Santema is typical Blok M wasp, avoid his little pricker at all costs- you can catch a nasty rash from such nasty garbage dwelling wasp.

    If he is Dutch- he cannot own land. He may own the business but not the land nor building upon it.
    He must have an Indonesian partner.

  3. Berlian Biru says:

    I highly recommend One Tree, the most civilised bar in Jalan Falatehan (now when’s the last time you saw “civilised” and “Jalan Falatehan” in the same sentence?). It serves excellent food, has lovely staff and their wine selection is superb. And no, the kupu-kupu malam don’t frequent it.

  4. kinch says:

    @PN: I seem to recall in some of his newsletters, Bartele referring to ‘The General’ as being his fixit man.

    Might be one of your ex-superiors taking care of the ‘garbage’, no?

  5. Finally Woken says:

    PN: Cazbar is in Mega Kuningan. Eastern Promise is in Kemang. De Hooi is in Pondok Indah. And from the locations only you could tell what sort of customers who visit the bars.

  6. Jonathan says:

    Wow – you all seem a pretty bitter crowd. I don’t know the guy either, and I barely ever frequent his bars, but compared to many of the city’s less savory nocturnal establishments, his venues are pretty decent and are certainly not crawling with whores. Characterizing him as a typical Blok M wasp seems unfair. And Purba, before you jump all over the land ownership issue, if you read the article you’ll notice that he is asking to RENT the house, not buy it.

    What’s wrong – another bule gets some light-hearted media attention so the rest of you can’t handle it? This puts Jakarta on the map in a fun way, nothing wrong with that.

  7. Rob says:

    Dear All…

    PN is not always a fair man ๐Ÿ˜€

    The crowd at IM is not all twisted and bitter.


    You could always unsubscribe ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Yeah, it would not have the same appeal as a “presidential” coffee shop. Although there are plenty of hoops to jump through yet. Apparently there is a USD 3 million offer on the whole property and in the event Obama scores the big one then this is expected to jump a little higher.

    If I am not mistaken the Santema offer is to rent just the “Obama house” (there are two living establishments on the property) for about USD 500 a month. This seems a little on the low side for Menteng anyways and with an alleged offer of 3 million on the table, this would seem to be far from a done deal.


    The general that is a regular visitor to one of the Santema establishments if Try Soetrisno and the establishment is the Mega Kuningan venue, the Caz Bar.


    You probably need to pull your head in on this one, as by just about all accounts Santema treats his staff well, very well according to some. He employs a lot of Indonesians and he is contributing in positive ways the overall economy.


    Concur on the One Tree. Only been there a couple of times. Great food and they sell Bali Storm ๐Ÿ˜€

    Good luck to the fella. Why begrudge a man his success when he seems to have worked hard for it?

  8. Ross says:

    I did indeed attend the formal opening of Bugil’s Bali and enjoyed the free beer (now there’s an opening for Achmad to have a go at me as a free-loading lounge lizard!)
    And I often drop by One-Tree for a mild libation after work. I’ve met Bartele and he’s a pleasant, polite chap. He meets lots of folk, no doubt, so wouldn’t likely remember me.
    It is a great shame that the original Bugil’s at Taman Ria Senayan is closing. It was a prime location, with the little lake nearby.

  9. kinch says:

    @Rob: I was aware from Bartele’s newsletter that Try Sutrisno’s office is upstairs in same bulding as Caz Bar and he drops in from time to time… but stories of some general being fixit man pre-date Caz Bar, so might or might not be Sutrisno.

    Totally agree that Bartele is a jolly good fellow and long may he prosper.

    At least he’s not a tosser like PN.

  10. Parvita says:

    @PN: most of the visitors are expats. It’s sort of like neighbourhood bar, where you don’t have to dress up for drinks. Read this, maybe you will get a little view on Jakarta, and places to hang out.

  11. Purba Negoro says:

    you can be sure the one who does use Bartele makes sure he never soils his hands.

    No- it’s not Sutrisno- someone else also very high.
    I hear Bartele is part Spanish?

    Parvita- I know these places well and why they are where they are.
    Handy little earners.

    Long may their clientele continue enjoying themselves in absolute safety- and enjoy the Jakarta high life.

  12. endjie says:

    Hi I used to work at Bugil’s Cafe and now I’ve been travel around but I am still thinking about that cafe and Bart, he is the BEST boss that I ever been working with. I am happy that I found this site from google and I hope that Bart read this.
    So many good memories to work in that place with such a good owner and team work..the best, the best and the best I will never forget you guys.

  13. Mike Oxblack says:

    No- itโ€™s not Sutrisno- someone else also very high.

    It is Sutrisno actually.

    Bart’s a very nice chap and his bars are not sleaze pits, although they are full of absolute splash heads and turps nudgers. Nothing wrong with a wee dram though.

    Bart is also very fair and generous with his staff as the above lady has testified.

  14. Pakmantri says:


    Why don’t you visit Bugil’s web site here.
    It is under construction/upgrading now though, will be up soon.


  15. Belanda Gila? says:

    @Purba Negoro

    Bartele Spanish? I don’t think so…

    All his pubs are very nice places to visit tahu? Only one of them in jalan falatehan and even there tidak ada “ayam”.

    Almost all his staff is Indonesian, only the pub managers are bule, now is that a problem?

    He is doing good stuff in Jakarta…

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