KL & Surrounds
Having a great night out is easy in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur. The city comes to life with neon lights at sundown and offers a plethora of options. Whether you love a pint at a laidback pub or cocktails and whisky in a thumping discotheque, you’ll be able to find it in our listings. Though venues are undeniably clustered around the hotspots of Changkat Bukit Bintang and Bangsar, malls and hotels in other areas tend to sport decent bars and clubs too.
42 Lorong Rahim Kajai 14, TTDI, KL (03 7725 5688/www.facebook. com/42East).
There is a certain suburban charm about this bar. For a neighbourhood bar, it has an impressive wine list. Old and new world wines mingle on the menu and their prices will soothe your purse and tease your palate. 42East’s bartenders have also come up with some creative cocktails such as Root Beer Float, Cream Sandwich and East Cosmo. Sun–Thu, 4pm–1am; Fri–Sat, 4pm–2am.
AfterWerk G-2 & G-3, The Scott Garden, 289 Jalan Klang Lama, KL (03 7982 0700/www.facebook.com/AfterWerk).
AfterWerk is a massive space (7,000 sq ft to be exact) that provides a few different spots for patrons to enjoy a cool sip of beer. The outdoor seating area, which has a retractable roof for those blazing afternoons, contains plush red sofas for large groups to experience a more comfortable and luxurious drinking experience. The bar area is the centrepiece of the establishment while there are also private stalls situated indoors. However the space between the tables may feel a tad cramped.
Ales & Lagers D1-G4-6, Solaris Dutamas, 1 Jalan Dutamas 1, KL (03 6419 0328/www. facebook.com/AlesLagers).
First things first, this is not a bar. This is a bottle shop. And it has more than 58 different types of craft beers and ciders and the variety is quickly expanding. You can even enjoy a beer tasting here since there are a couple of tables and barstools. Really, the bottle shop is a brew enthusiast’s dream come true. Go, it’s time to find out about some less commercial beers.
Alexis Bistro Ampang & Upstairs @ Alexis Telawi Lot 10 & 11, Great Eastern Mall, 303 Jalan Ampang, KL (03 4260 2288); 29A Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar, KL (03 2284 2880); The Gardens, Mid Valley City, KL (03 2287 2281); Lot 15A, 1st floor, BSC, KL (03 2287 1388/www. alexis.com.my).
At Alexis, there’s booze everywhere; jazz everywhere; treats everywhere. Sounds like joy nowadays? The food is satisfactory at best, but we have high regard for the cakes and desserts. Grab a mud cake and relish the live international and local jazz/fusion acts.
Pork-free. Child friendly. Mon–Thu, 12noon–12midnight; Fri–Sat, 12noon–late; Sun, 10am–12midnight. $$$ The Apartment Restaurant & Bar First floor, Suria KLCC, KL (03 2166 2257/www.atheapartment.com).
The Apartment outlets are really lofts, which we reckon are excellent for beer and cocktails. Urbanites populate this joint to unwind with the extensive menu of alcoholic beverages. The KLCC outlet hosts live acoustic sessions by local performers. Happy Hour goes from 2pm to 5pm with prices starting from RM10. Pricey non-alcoholic beverages.
Pork-free. Daily, 11am–10pm.
Back to Skool D5-G3-3, Publika, Solaris Dutamas, Jalan Dutamas 1, KL (03 6206 4228/ Facebook: Back to Skool).
With an exercise-book-like menu, two huge blackboards (we’re not sure if you can scribble on them) and ample seating, post-work yuppies come here and sip cheap draught beers and cocktails with somewhat kinky names like Naughty Girl, Bad Boy and shooters like Discipline Teacher. Live bands enhance the quirky ambience on Friday and Saturday nights. Take advantage of the venue, throw a ‘back to school’ themed party and come dressed in uniforms. If only every classroom looked like this, we’d be more than happy to go back to school again.
Backyard Pub and Grill 26, 28 & 30 Jalan Sri Hartamas 8, KL (03 6201 0318/www.backyardpub.com).
This friendly neighbourhood pub is a hidden gem in Hartamas, with a cosy and laidback feel that’s hard to beat for an evening drink. Formerly catering to a sports crowd, they now focus more on live music, with bands playing throughout the week and the annual Jairus music festival every October and November.
Daily, 4pm–1.30am. $$
Bakita 33 Jalan Berangan, KL (03 2141 7733/www.facebook.com/pages/ bakita/271659652303).
Bakita is both casual and sophisticated. It has taken over the failure known as La Terrace, practically an eyesore on the baby Changkat of Jalan Berangan, and turned it into the coolest space in the area. They have a great array of specialty beers, all served in a walk-in meat locker type cooler. Wait until you see what they have launched up top – a beautiful cocktail space that’s going to town with good music and vibes. Mon–Thu, 4pm–2am; Fri–Sat, 5pm–3am; Sun, 5pm–2am.
NEW The Balcony Bar & Grill 241–B Lorong Nibong, Off Jalan Ampang, KL (018 388 6183/www. thebalcony.com.my).
The Balcony is really just that – a balcony located on the second floor of a bungalow on Jalan Ampang. You can take refuge at this neighbourhood terrace bar when everyone flocks to the bars downtown. The Balcony mainly serves grilled food but who cares about dining when you have quirky cocktails such as Superheroes, Bangkok Dangerous and Chuck Norris on the menu?
The Bar The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur, 5 Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin, KL (03 2785 8000/www.majestickl.com/ the-bar.html).
Handsome and decked out with dark panels, mirrors and brass and a gold-leafed domed ceiling, The Bar is a very classy, gentlemanly spot without pretension. Some of their standouts from the drinks menu include Stengah,
Gin Pahit and Sling. After dark, The Bar hosts a live music session featuring the descendants of the famed Maestro Alfonso Soliano, whose family is well known for their musical talents in the local circuit.
Bar Art @ The Warehouse Jalan Tun H.S. Lee, KL (03 2022 0528/www.facebook.com/ thewarehousegallerycafe).
Bar Art reminds us of the now sadly defunct Palate Palette, especially with its quirky seating, kooky designs and kitschy art decor (it’s an art gallery too). Located right in the middle of Chinatown, one might mistake the bar for some kind of tourist trap. But the café by day and bar by night is actually a hip place to hang out. The crowd is mainly a rotating mix of bumbling tourists and well-to-do locals. The bar also throws special themed nights like ‘Open-Mic-Night’ and art events.
Barfly K-1-12, Soho KL, Jalan Solaris, KL (012 610 2624/www.facebook.com/ BarflySohoKL).
More than your average gentrified bar, Barfly exudes a relaxed and grown-up atmosphere. As for the interior, it’s easy to see what they are going for here: a contemporary, industrial and minimalistic look incorporating recycled items. Despite all the modern minimalistic touches, there’s a real local bar feel here. And perhaps that’s why most patrons here prefer to order beers. A pint of Tiger is priced at RM10nett and a pint of Guinness/Kilkenny is RM13nett – all day, all week. The selection of drinks might not be spectacular but the prices definitely make up for it. Also, if you are drinking a pint of cold beer, don’t forget to order the ikan bilis chilli onion to go with it. Sun–Thu, 4pm–1am; Fri–Sat, 4pm–2.30am.
NEW Barlai 3 Jalan Sin Chew Kee, Bukit Bintang, KL (03 2141 7850/www.thebiggroup. co).
With Hit & Mrs and Mr Brooks under its well-decorated belt, The BIG Group knocks it out of the park again with Barlai, a (watering) hole-in-the-wall that screams ‘hidden gem’. The scruffy nook takes over the ground floor of Ng Sek San’s eco-friendly Sekeping Sin Chew Kee, but retains his trademark raw, stone-heavy vibe. Bamboo blinds, naked bulbs, white panes and old road signs on the wall contribute to the bar’s charming old-world feel, only enhanced by a Milo cocktail or a pandan-infused piña colada. If you have a visiting backpacker to impress, Barlai will do the job for you.
Fri, 4pm–2am; Sat–Sun, 11am– 12midnight.
Sixth floor, Pavilion KL, Jalan Bukit Bintang, KL (012 258 6549/www. bedroomkl.my).
Chintz, cosy and lush perhaps best sum up this ‘club in the mall’. From the glow-in-the-dark bar countertop to the framed pictures of Persian rugs on the ceiling, the interior is done particularly well. But the cocktails are the real point here and the list is imaginative. These days, it's only open for private events and functions. Sun–Thu, 5pm–1am; Fri–Sat, 5pm–3am.
The Bee 36B Level G2, Publika, Solaris Dutamas, Jalan Dutamas 1, KL (03 6201 8577/www.thebee.com.my).
The Bee is not just about coffee, The Last Polka (Guinness-flavoured ice cream, anyone?), and open-mic nights; the cosy outlets also possess a decent wine list and bottled beer options. Mon–Thu, 9am–11pm; Fri, 9am– 12midnight; Sat, 10am–12midnight; Sun, 10am–10pm.
The Beer Factory 1-46, The Scott Garden, 289 Jalan Klang Lama, KL (03 7982 1381); E-01-09, Ground Floor, StarParc Point, Jalan Taman Ibu Kota, off Jalan Genting Kelang, KL (010 899 3535/ www.the-beer-factory.com).
Some bars and pubs exude class and others appeal to a rowdier crowd. Somehow, The Beer Factory caters to both. It achieves the perfect balance between chilling out and partying hard with cheap beers, a solid selection of drinks and super chic industrial decor. On weeknights, beer chuggers are often seen nursing drinks at the concourse level, surrounded by artificial pipes and starkly concrete walls, as if they are drinking in a beer processing factory. Sun–Thu, 4pm–2am; Fri–Sat, 4pm–3am.
Bentley’s Pub 165 Jalan Ampang, KL (03 2782 6268/www.intercontinental–kl.com.my/ dining/bentleys–pub).
Bentley’s Pub comes off as a classy venue, a trait characterised by its shades of maroon and mahogany; the paintings on the walls of women with reflective, brown skin and bright red lips by Sandra Knuyt directly echo the glossy timbre of the furniture. As a result, the mood in Bentley’s hearkens back to that of a 19th-century British gentlemen’s club – part exclusive, part decadent indulgence. The majority of the crowd is, naturally, composed of working people, relaxing after work, enjoying the half-priced beers during happy hours. Besides the usual snacks accompanying your beer, Bentley’s also offers a few main dishes, like the pub burger, fettuccini seafood marinara and currywurst. Mon–Fri, 12noon–12midnight; Sat, 4pm–12midnight.
Bridge Bar 28th floor, GTower, 199 Jalan Tun Razak, KL (03 2168 1899/www. gtowerhotel.com).
The Bridge Bar is an exclusive, tidy little nook at G Tower. By exclusive, we mean free entry for the hotel guests and a whopping RM50 for the general public just to step in. The door fee is more than what most places in KL charge, but since it includes one drink, the blow is softened. Thumbs up for the stylishly decorated interior; chic furniture and bar area, glossy wooden flooring, and the main attraction – a glass platform that allows you to step on and take a downward view. It’s up to you to cringe or approve of this one.
Brotzeit German Bier Bar & Restaurant Ground Floor, Bangsar Shopping Centre, 285 Jalan Maarof, Bukit Bandaraya, Bangsar, KL (03 2282 9516); Ground external floor, Mid Valley Megamall, Lingkaran Syed Putra, KL (03 2287 5516/www. brotzeit.co).
Brotzeit’s premier outlet in KL will see the chain offering a wide range of the Paulaner family of beers. Brotzeit offers the four major beers from Paulaner Munich on tap: Weissbier, Weissbier Dunkel, Original Münchner Urtyp and Original Munich Lager Dunkel, as well as a variety of specialty bottled beers under Paulaner such as the Hacker-Pschorr Kellerbier Anno 1417 and Hacker-Pschorr Münchner Gold. Brotzeit also offers seasonal draft specials like the Paulaner Salvator double bock (Paulaner’s first historic beer) and the original Oktoberfestbier in conjunction with the annual Oktoberfest celebrations.
Brussels Beer Café Menara Hap Seng, Jalan P Ramlee (03 2034 1800); Solaris Mont Kiara (03 6205 2999); 4 & 6 Jalan 1/67B, off Jalan Mengkudu Ampang (03 4251 2888/www.brusselsbeercafe.com).
Brussels Beer Café is a popular den for savvy urbanites to kick off their shoes and simply have a good time. There's a huge range of imported beers, including draft Hoegaarden, Stella Artois and Leffe fresh off the tap in generous fivepint glasses. Beer food and authentic Belgian cooking is within reach to accompany your beverages. We have only one complaint – the slow service. Entirely understandable given how busy a typical weekend is.
Child friendly. Daily, 11am–1am. $$$
Bulldog 31 Jalan Sri Hartamas 7, Taman Sri
Hartamas, KL (03 6201 4484/www. bulldog.com.my).
Bulldog is a British pub. And, a wonderful replica of the real deal too, right smack in the middle of Desa Sri Hartamas. The choice tipple here is beer and the prices are standard. If you’re more of the cocktail kind, go for the classics on the menu. Just don’t expect a Bulldogtini or anything. No pretentiousness, just good food, cold beer and no fuss. Bulldog is everything a pub should be. And with nasi lemak on the menu, we even think it’s a little bit more.
Daily, 12noon–2am. $$$
Casbah Mandarin Oriental, Jalan Pinang, KL (03 2179 8888/03 2380 8888/www. facebook.com/casbahkl).
With cocktails like spicy mango chelada and opiate, Casbah has the best cocktails in town, hands down. Looking to kick off your night? Go with the relatively harmless Spanish lemon drop, served in a martini glass, or even the guava cosmo. We are in awe of the glorious magic mo’kool berry bliss, made of cotton candy floss (you read that right), fresh lemon, Absolut mandarin vodka and cranberry juice. With upbeat Arabian influenced lounge music coursing through the audio system, it is exactly the sort of place you can easily lose a few hours in.
Cellar Door The Intermark, 182 Jalan Tun Razak, KL (03 2172 7272/www.doubletree3. hilton.com).
Part of the luxury accommodation and dining complex at DoubleTree by Hilton, Cellar Door is a low-lit, sophisticated wine bar where you can indulge your inner connoisseur. With a range of new world and old world labels, this is where you can find all the fine wines your heart could desire. They also serve international beers and spirits.
The Ceylon Bar 20-2 Changkat Bukit Bintang, KL (03 2145 7689/www.ceylonbar.com).
The long-running Ceylon Bar has evolved and grown in tandem with the iconic Changkat Bukit Bintang. Ceylon’s relaxed vibe is adorned with a kitschy interior and staffed with a friendly bunch. Order a drink at the Terrace, plop on a bar stool, and immerse yourself in the football matches. Give the board games in the lounge a go or sample the range of finger food. Draws mostly a mature crowd. Mon–Sat, 4pm–2am; Sun, 11am– 12midnight.
Ciccio 15 Changkat Bukit Bintang, KL (03 2141 8605/www.ciccio.com.my).
One of the earliest establishments along Changkat Bukit Bintang, Ciccio is a charming restaurant and bar that attracts expats and locals alike. The bar is manned by good mixologists and the mojitos are crowd-pleasers.
Pork-free. Daily, 5pm–12midnight.
Claret Wine Bar Level 23A, Tower B, The Troika, 19 Persiaran KLCC, KL (03 2162 0886/ www.troikaskydining.com).
Walking into Troika Sky Dining, you’ll first discover Claret Wine Bar – a classy, sophisticated bar paired with a gorgeous view of KL’s skyline. As the name suggests, this is a brilliant wine bar, with an amazing selection to choose from. If you need more privacy, there’s the secluded room beside the wine racks while cosy one seater sofas by the grand piano are made for music lovers. But for us, the alfresco area overlooking the city is the best place to be during sunset hours.
Club Neverland 1 Jalan Kia Peng, KL (012 621 8311/ www.facebook.com/pages/NeverlandKuala-Lumpur/249058265116749).
‘Live performance’ seems to be a hit in KL’s nightlife scene. There’s something about watching girls in skimpy clothes dancing and singing to Chinese (and occasionally Korean and Thai) pop songs that attracts the ‘mature type of crowd’. Drinks are plentiful but most patrons are seen either downing beers or guzzling whisky.
D’Legends Bar 24 Jalan Datuk Sulaiman, TTDI, KL (03 7725 6270/www.facebook.com/ dLegendsbar).
Upon entering the premise, you will find out why the bar is called D’Legends. Abundant portraits of famous legends are all nicely fitted on the wall. We spotted portraits of Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, but opted for a booth beside Jimi Hendrix. This wallet-friendly drinking hole also offers three-for-one beer deals all day every day and similar cocktail deals for the ladies. Add on to that the local food menu. Definitely a decent bar in the TTDI ’hood. Mon–Fri, 4pm–2am; Sat–Sun, 11am–2am.
Daikanyama 42 Changkat Bukit Bintang, KL (1 700 81 6482/www.facebook.com/ Daikanyama).
This is a place you go to when you want to quietly but seriously get drunk. It’s a lovely place to get drunk too, with its soothing music, low lighting, cosy eating area and a zen-type smoking garden. Drinks are plentiful. But rather than regular drinks, there is a long list of weird and wonderful cocktails like Odaiba haemorrhage and Kenny’s appendix. Weird? Wait until you try them. Sun–Thu, 6pm–12.30am; Fri–Sat, 6pm–2.30am.
Frangipani Restaurant & Bar 25 Changkat Bukit Bintang, KL (03 2144 3001/www.frangipani.com.my).
Frangipani requires no introduction. Fine dining by day and club spot by night, the retro/commercial house music sets the tone for the party crowds around the bar on the top floor. Particularly popular with expats and boys who naturally sweat glitter, this is the perfect place for those who are looking for a bit of Kylie to end their week with. Pork-free. Child friendly. Dining: Tue– Sun, 7.30pm–10.30pm; Bar: Tue–Thu & Sun, 6pm–12midnight; Fri–Sat, 6pm–3am. $$$$
Level 23A, Tower B, The Troika, 19
Persiaran KLCC, KL (03 2162 0886/ www.troikaskydining.com).
A new addition to Troika Sky Dining, this alfresco bar opens up to a breathtaking view of KLCC – especially during the sunset. Classic cocktails are given an innovative tweak and served in a delightfully flamboyant presentation, with butter and popcorn-infused rum and smoky margarita served with charcoal-grilled lemon. You could also choose from a list of wines to pair with their exquisite South American-inspired food menu. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 6pm–12midnight. $$$
G Six Club Rooftop, The Gardens, Mid Valley City, KL (012 555 6050/012 307 6616).
Located on the sixth floor of the Gardens with a great inside and outside view of the Mid Valley area, the interior is a stunner, cool and fluid with the perfect sense of style and differentiated cubby holes to hang out in and explore. This place is growing in stature and popularity but is not as trendy and cool as its neighbour.
Mon–Fri, 5pm–3am; Sat, 8am–3am.
The Green Man 40 Changkat Bukit Bintang, KL (03 2141 9924/www.greenman.com.my).
Named after a legendary British character that is said to bring luck, this is one of the most popular local pubs in KL. The Green Man offers a wide range of British pub favourites with many of its ingredients being flown in from around the globe on a weekly basis. And it’s all affordably priced. The old-tavern-like atmosphere will certainly make you stay there longer than you really mean to. Mon–Thu, 10am–1am; Fri–Sun, 10am–2am. $$$
Gridiron 11 & 15 Jalan Telawi 2, Bangsar, KL (03 2201 4820/www.gridiron.com).
It’s the decor that hits you when you enter – a shiny type of glass with lights lining the central bar and 30-odd television screens on the walls like ticker-tape. Happy Hour deals abound on all beers. The menu has its fair share of pasta, burgers and nibbles, typical of a sport joint.