East Malaysia

Time Out Malaysia Eating and Drinking Guide - - CONTENTS -

The states of East Malaysia present a sur­pris­ingly good and var­ied list of nightlife op­tions but Sabah’s cap­i­tal, Kota Kin­a­balu, ar­guably has the best with any­thing from salsa danc­ing and pub grub to wine tast­ing and a lively, young LGBT scene.


Kota Kin­a­balu


The Water­front, Jalan Tun Fuad Stephen, Kota Kin­a­balu. Live bands and DJs seem to be a win­ning combo in KK’s nightlife scene. And B.E.D. (Best En­ter­tain­ment Des­ti­na­tion) cer­tainly does it very well. Party-go­ers come out to play on week­ends and pack the large dance floor while down­ing bot­tles of whiskey. It is ar­guably the city’s big­gest club and has a thump­ing crowd go­ing till late. Prices are pretty stan­dard.

Credit cards ac­cepted. Daily, 6pm-late.

Cock & Bull Lot 3, The Water­front, Jalan Tun Fuad Stephen, Kota Kin­a­balu (08 823 9848/08 823 9848/cockn­bull­bistro. com). Sit­u­ated at the water­front, Cock & Bull is a chilled out place to en­joy the cool breeze while sip­ping cock­tails or draught beer. Their two huge screens en­sure that you catch the foot­ball ac­tion of the night. Cock & Bull has been a strong­hold in the KK night scene since The Water­front strip opened and they have even opened a sec­ond out­let at Jes­sel­ton Point. The bar has friendly wait­resses and a pool ta­ble.

Cow­boy Bar Asia City, Kota Kin­a­balu (016 830 6828/cow­boy­barkk.blogspot.com). Right in the mid­dle of Asia City, find the lit­tle food court and Cow­boy Bar is hid­den be­hind it. With a rep­u­ta­tion for the un­der­ground scene, the place is a se­cret amongst in­sid­ers. Skep­tics, rest as­sured that the live bands are pretty good.

El Cen­tro 32 Jalan Haji Saman, Kota Kin­a­balu (08 825 1427/ el­cen­tro.my). A café and bar with an open con­cept and lots of wooden decor. We like the so­cial vibes at El Cen­tro. Owner Katie is the face of the café and uses her pre­vi­ous bar­tend­ing stints to in­tro­duce some cre­ative cock­tails. The menu in­cludes ta­cos, sal­ads, hum­mus, and pizza. This place gets a lit­tle hot and stuffy when it’s crowded and has high for­eigner ap­peal. The café closes at 10 but the bar is open un­til much later. It’s usu­ally closed on Mon­days but oc­ca­sion­ally you’ll find it open for salsa.

Tue–Sun, 12noon-12mid­night.

Hunter Ter­race Best Western Kin­a­balu Daya Ho­tel, Lot 3 & 4, Block 9 Jalan Pan­tai (08 824 0000/www.kk­daya­ho­tel.com). Have a cold beer or a cof­fee in the mid­dle of night and peo­ple watch as you sit on the ter­race of Best Western Kin­a­balu Daya Ho­tel. Worth know­ing that scuba divers pick up spe­cial priv­i­leges here. There is a pool ta­ble just next door as well.

Jar­rod & Rawl­ins Block E-29 G & E-30 G, Times Square, Off Coastal High­way (08 823 1890/860/jar­rod-rawl­ins.com). This popular chain from KL has now landed in KK too. The for­mula they throw in here is sim­i­lar to the out­lets in KL: su­perb food in­clud­ing pork knuckle and sausages, solid choice of beer and wine, and a lively am­biance of KK’s who’s who. Prices might be on the higher side, but it is def­i­nitely worth the money.

PLU­tonic G-40-1, Block G, KK Times Square (019 812 0030). One of the few LGBT-friendly pubs in KK, Plu­tonic is a new kid on the block. The lay­out is straight­for­ward with a min­i­mal­is­tic and in­dus­trial theme run­ning across the pub. This isn’t a huge space, so it fills up quickly on Fri­day and Satur­day nights and most ev­ery­one knows each other. It has im­promptu karaoke nights and some of the best cock­tails in KK to keep the crowd go­ing. Credit cards ac­cepted. Mon–Thu, 6pm–1am; Fri–Sat, 6am–2am. $$$

Q Bar 15 Gaya Street, Kota Kin­a­balu (016 847 3085). The des­ig­nated gay bar so you’re guar­an­teed some fun times here. De­signed in a round shape (sort of Q-like), this bar lo­cated to the north of town plays easy lounge mu­sic till 10pm when things start to heat up. Friendly and bois­ter­ous crowd, wide choice of drinks, pool ta­bles, and they take pride in their clean bath­rooms. Clean bath­rooms get top marks in our books. Credit cards ac­cepted. Tue–Thu, 9pm–1.30am; Fri, 9pm–3am; Sat, 9pm–3.30am; Mon–Sun, 9pm–1am. $$

Sham­rock Ir­ish Bar 6 An­jung Sa­mu­dra, The Water­front, Jalan Tun Fuad Stephen (08 824 9829). Stay­ing true to the vein of Ir­ish es­tab­lish­ments, here you can find Ir­ish beers, whiskeys and a beef burger that is said to be the best in town. It is no won­der Sham­rock is a favourite spot among lo­cals, tourists and ex­pats alike. Also, you can find Kilkenny on draught and its one of the few places that plays Rugby. Sun–Thu, 12noon–1am; Fri–Sat, 12noon–2am.

Shenani­gan’s Fun Pub Hy­att Re­gency Kin­a­balu, Jalan Datuk Salleh Sulong (08 822 1234/www. kin­a­balu.re­gency.hy­att.com). Ev­ery­one knows Shenani­gan’s. This es­tab­lished nightspot is most def­i­nitely the long­est sur­viv­ing in the city and has held its own against the newer, mod­ern clubs. Ex­pect to pay a bit more for your drinks here as it’s a ho­tel pub. The mu­sic line-up gives you a whole new rea­son to party and dance your feet sore. There are live per­for­mances daily ex­cept on Sun­day. Mon–Thu, 5pm–1am; Fri–Sat, 5pm–2am.

Sully’s Bar Lot 12, Block B, KK Times Square (08 844 7107/sullys.com.my). Own­ers John and Jane Sul­li­van fell in love with Sabah and de­cided to re­lo­cate here per­ma­nently. You can’t miss their bright green and red neon signs. With a live jazz and blues band three nights a week, Sully’s aims to pro­vide a dif­fer­ent night scene with their qui­eter mu­sic rang­ing from jazz to the ’70s. We ac­tu­ally like this place a lot. En­joy a good range of sin­gle malt whiskies, fine wines and cock­tails. Credit cards ac­cepted. Mon–Sat, 5pm–1.30am; Sun, 6pm–12.30am.

Vino Vino J-57, ground floor, KK Times Square, KK (08 848 6363). Call­ing them­selves a cof­fee, cigar, and wine lounge, it’s no won­der that Vino Vino has the widest se­lec­tion of fine wines in town. Wine bot­tles line the red brick walls with dark wooden beams, and the am­biance is all clink­ing classes and hushed con­ver­sa­tions. Add to that

B.E.D at the Water­front

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