Whether you prefer to chill out with a cocktail by the beach or dance all night under neon lights, Penang’s bar scene offers something for everyone. Most bars, clubs, and pubs on the island are clustered around George Town, Straits Quay, and Batu Ferringhi; bargoers on the mainland can head to the multifaceted Auto-City, where opportunities to drink, dine, and dance abound.
92 Lebuh Gereja, George Town (04 263 7144/Facebook: B@92 Eat & Drink Penang) You’re likely to spot this family-run bar by chance. If you do, you’ll leave the place feeling impressed with the hospitality of owners Aleksandar and June. Decorated in the style of an old English pub with drinks to match its unassuming ambience, the bar plays refreshing, non-mainstream music during the day (you won’t hear anything by Justin Bieber) and serves a humble selection of cold beers.
NEW Baba Bar Seven Terraces, Lorong Stewart, George Town (04 264 2333/ www.7terraces.com). Baba Bar may be tucked away in a corner in Seven Terraces but this lounge certainly holds its own with a collection of specially selected wines, beers and cocktails. Baba Bar gets its name from Seven Terraces's refined Peranakan (also known as Baba-Nyonya) architecture, which also inspired its signature drinks, the Gallefort Special (a mix of lime, lychee, passion fruit syrup, brown sugar and vodka) and the George Town cooler (a stir-up of nutmeg juice, lime, grenadine, Bombay sapphire gin and longan topped with soda). If you're feeling particularly famished, try the pork mau tou stuffed with sous vide soy pork and pickled vegetables.
NEW Bacchus Cellars 124F Jalan Burma, George Town (04 685 2731/www.facebook.com/ bacchuscellars). Named after the mythical god of wine and merrymaking, Bacchus Cellars is brimming with imported wines categorised by country of origin. If you can't tell your Chardonnay from your Sauvignon Blanc, the experts here are ready to help. This wine place organises wine-pairing dinners and also offers happy-hour deals on a special selection of red and white wines.
Batubar Lone Pine Hotel, 97 Jalan Batu Ferringhi, Batu Ferringhi (04 866 8577/www.facebook.com/batubarlph). The name is a reference to its location by pristine Batu Ferringhi. The interesting mix of retro chairs, colourful printed pillows, the dark polished floor and the enormous wooden couch combines to a charming effect. Half of Batubar’s space opens up to the nearby beach, allowing the lovely sea breeze to make its way around the room. It feels like you’re out by the shore, but without the sand stuck between your toes.
Open daily, 10am–1am.
Beach Blanket Babylon 32 Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, George Town (04 261 0289/Facebook: Beach Blanket Babylon Penang). Just around the corner from Eastern & Oriental Hotel, Beach Blanket Babylon is within close proximity of 32 at the Mansion. Draped with white translucent curtains and inviting tables by the sea, this alfresco café and lounge offers an extensive portfolio of wine and cigars in addition to beers and inventive cocktails. Complimentary parking is easily available but if it gets crowded, steer your wheels to the nearby Penang Bowl car park. Child friendly. Daily, 12noon–2.30pm, 7pm–10.30pm. $$
BED 368-01-08 Bellisa Row, Jalan Burma (04 227 2725); 01-01-07, E-Gate LVH, Tunku 2, Gelugor (04 656 6526/www.bed.com.my). Glammed up with golden light fixtures and modern furniture, a BED outlet is the kind of place where you can enjoy a cappuccino and a cocktail in one seating. Every outlet is equipped with WiFi access (handy if you’re there for a business meeting or in need of an answer to a trivia quandary) and the clientele covers a mix of young urbanites and the post-work crowd. There’s even karaoke equipment to let your vocals soar.
Berlin's Bier Houz Bay Avenue, G-1-1 Lorong Bayan Indah, Bayan Lepas (04 644 8887); Straits Quay, 3E-G-3B Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang, Tanjung Tokong (04 899 8887/www.fnblibrary.com). Berlin’s Bier Houz sets its sights on serving Penangites with distinctive German and European fare. So, look forward to a full-fledged German menu of beer bites like German meat balls, bacon ham canapés, German roast pork and pork knuckle to accompany your pint. While it offers a staggering 43 brands of beer, you should note that this is primarily an eatery as opposed to a bar. Open Mon–Thu, 11.30am–1am; Fri–Sat, 11.30am–2am; Sun, 11.30am–1am.
NEW The Best Brew Four Points by Sheraton Penang, 505 Jalan Tanjung Bungah, Tanjung Bungah (04 371 8888/www. fourpoints.com/penang). It may as well also be called The Best View – this sharply angled bar sports huge windows that look out onto the north shore. It’s perched at the perfect spot for a visual treat, but location isn’t the only appealing thing about this place: It also stocks a decent range of liquors and beers, and patrons can take their drinks outside to enjoy the explosion of colours as day turns into night. Generously portioned food like burgers, sandwiches, pasta and local favourites are fairly affordable here, as are the bottled beers.
Bora Bora Lot 415, Jalan Batu Ferringhi, Batu Ferringhi (04 885 1313/www.facebook. com/boraborabysunset). Surfboards, fairy lights, tiki huts and various ‘tropical jungle’ paraphernalia are the order of the day in this beachthemed Bora Bora. Here, beers, liquors and cocktails flow copiously and affordably in an area otherwise known as a tourist trap. There are plenty of beach tables and chairs planted by the beach. Unless you prefer to stay close to the stereo system, make your way outdoors and appreciate the Batu Ferringhi scenery with a cold pint of Carlsberg beer. Mon–Fri, 12noon–1am, Sat & Sun, 12noon–3am. $$
Brussels Beer Café 163D-1-33, Gurney Paragon Mall, Persiaran Gurney (04 226 2052). The spirit of beer-drinking lives on at Brussels Beer Café where the rich variety of imported beers, from draft Hoegaarden to Stella Artois and Leffe, flow liberally, fresh off the tap. The authentic Belgian pub grub is also quite a draw. Choices include caramelised pork belly, the beer food platter, potato skins and Brussels meatballs.
The Canteen at ChinaHouse 183-B Lebuh Victoria, George Town (04 263 7299/www.facebook.com/ TheCanteenAtChinaHouse). Once a row of heritage shophouses, ChinaHouse has transformed into one of George Town’s most sought-after night spots. Today, it’s comprised of a fine dining restaurant, a café, an alfresco courtyard and an art gallery. The Canteen in particular buzzes every night with a series of open-mic sessions and jazz nights. It’s occasionally graced by local and international music acts. If
you want to get familiar with our local music scene, you’ll find it all here.
The Cellar 228 Jalan Macalister, George Town (04 228 3888/www.macalistermansion. com). In a fancier part of George Town, The Cellar is a swanky night spot that spins live music and drinks on a daily basis. The red-gold-black interior sharply suggests this is a ‘gentleman’s club’, but ultimately the atmosphere is an inviting one, beckoning the visitor to sit back in a comfy chair, order a glass of wine and a cheese platter, and forget the troubles of daily life. There’s a healthy range of beers on tap as well as over 300 labels of wines from all over the world. An enticing selection is available by the glass from the Enomatic wine storage machine. Despite appearances, The Cellar boasts a well-rounded and affordable menu of snacks. Sun–Thu, 5pm–1am; Fri–Sat, 5pm–2am. $$$
NEW Cocoon Bar 4 Upper Penang Road, Jalan Penang, George Town (016 683 6592/www. facebook.com/cocoon.penang.7). Fitted with a bar and a club under one roof, the interior pretty much resembles a cocoon that encloses – without being too claustrophobic – the nightlife vibe within. At sundown, the bar merges into the club section and morphs into a spacious dance club, complete with state-of-the-art projection mapping as well as local and international DJs helming the decks.
Cuvée Precinct 10, Jalan Tanjung Tokong, George Town (012 421 8486/ Facebook: Cuvee). Using psychedelic lights and funky retro furniture to its strength, every corner of this nightspot is distinctively furnished and makes every visit far from dull. Cuvée regulars usually opt for a beer tower session by the DJ deck while others hide away for a classy rendezvous at the wine room. Local DJs perform their upbeat spins here, so dance away with your newfound groove. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 3pm–3am. $$$$
NEW Dadz Pub 98 Jalan Muntri, George Town (013 435 9840/www.facebook.com/dadzpub). Hardly aiming to impress, Dadz Pub is the sort of sports bar you’ll find with basic furnishing and brawny men cheering on whatever match is on the sports channel. Make your way to this testosterone-filled bar if you’re looking to spend some time away from the missus. It’s mainly frequented by football fans and screens live coverage of Barclays Premier League, Bundesliga and The Champions League on a regular basis. Control of the remote is by majority rule, so you might want to bring a group of friends along if you want to have a say in what’s on the screen. There are dartboards and a pool table, so you won’t be short on ways to occupy yourself.
The Den 228 Jalan Macalister, George Town (04 228 3888/www.macalistermansion. com). Hardly a place to tap into your wild side, The Den is a quiet lounge strictly for the connoisseurs of Cuban and Dominican cigars as well as scotch whiskies. The dimly lit bar exudes mystery and intimacy, which is great for those who prefer to hide away rather than get caught in the spotlight. If you’re a newbie to the whisky-cigar pairing, nudge the wait staff for a brief 101. Mon–Thu & Sun, 5pm–1am; Fri & Sat, 5pm–2am.
El Faro 231 Jalan Burma, George Town (04 227 2310/www.facebook.com/ elfarotapasbar). El Faro is a Spanish entry in the Penang bar scene and it’s been winning praises for its authenticity and creative plating. The entrées and tapas are absolutely scrumptious, thanks to part-proprietor and menu architect Chef Jack Yap. Jack’s Dessert on The Table is a real crowd-pleaser – a cool novelty dessert painstakingly and artistically assembled right on your table. Pair it with ice-cold dry white wine or a strong house wine. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 3pm–11.30pm.
Euro Deli Biergarten Unit 170-G-37/37A, Ground floor, Gurney Plaza, Persiaran Gurney (04 227 2771/www.eurodeli.com.my). Right smack on Gurney Drive, this bar and restaurant sits at the entrance of Gurney Plaza overlooking the sea. It offers a menu of Swiss-German delights and satisfying pub grub. The imported draft beers include Hoegaarden, Leffe Blonde and Franziskaner and the bar holds regular promotions on these and other imports. To soak up the generous amounts of alcohol on offer, you’ll want to try the specialty dishes, which include Hungarian Beef Goulash with mashed potato and salad, barbecued pork ribs, pork knuckles, ribs and belly roast. We recommend ordering a couple of these dishes to share among four people; the portions here are rather hefty and tasty. Besides food and drink, what Euro Deli also offers is a relaxed, friendly ambience. It's almost as if you're stepping into a neighbourhood pub. It's no wonder that this place is popular with the after-work crowd and those looking for a breather from a day of shopping at Gurney Plaza with family. Sun–Thurs, 10.00am–1.00am; Fri, Sat and eve of public holidays, 10.00am–2.00am.
Farquhar’s Bar E&O Hotel, 10 Lebuh Farquhar, George Town (04 222 2000/www. eohotels.com).
A modish British pub that many recommend as being one of Penang’s best, Farquhar’s Bar (located in the swanky E&O Hotel) serves excellent food to pair with a respectable range of drinks. The atmosphere and traditional oak smell gives this place real character. With what they charge for drinks, you’d expect it to.
Feringgi Bar Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa, Rasa Wing Lobby, Mezzanine Level, Jalan Batu Ferringhi, Batu Ferringhi (04 888 8888/www.shangrila.com/penang/rasasayangresort). Leather club chairs, a neatly stocked bar and a classy piano – you can tell this is a bar as old as wine the moment you walk in and marvel at its rustic ambience. It’s sometimes overlooked in favour of its more frequented sibling, the Feringgi Grill restaurant; this one chiefly boasts a good selection of cocktails and champagne. Its cosy, intimate interior is an advantage to those who prefer a conversation over the cacophony of chatter and loud music.
Five27 357 Lebuh Chulia, George Town (04 261 3809/www.five27.asia). Following its recent relocation and a change of menu (switching from Swedish to general Western fare), Five27 is a lounge and restaurant with great happy-hour deals and lively music floating across the room. Perfect for get-togethers, the drinks menu covers everything: cocktails, beers and wines. If you haven't heard, the lounge has also hosted hip hop icons Ludacris and Busta Rhymes during their visit to Penang in 2013.
Daily, 11am–1am. $$$
G Lounge G Hotel, Ground floor, 168A, Persiaran Gurney (04 238 0000/www. ghotel.com.my). Occupying an impressive space in the lobby of G Hotel, this softly illuminated lounge offers plenty of peoplewatching opportunities while you wait to check into the hotel. You can sip your drink at the bar or while lounging on the couch; whichever you choose, we recommend you try the signature Malaysian Dream cocktail. Since access to the bar isn’t restricted to hotel guests, Penangites find themselves kicking back here too, along with anyone else who’s eager to chill out at the longest hotel bar in Penang.
G Spot G Hotel, Level one, 168A, Persiaran Gurney (04 238 0000/www.ghotel. com.my). Styled with a contemporary jazz appeal, G Spot is where live jazz and even livelier DJ spins take the stage. This modish nocturnal retreat serves a medley of signature martinis, cocktails, liquors, wines and beers to accompany the soulful in-house jazz performance. The bar is dressed in black and illuminated with soft blueand-red lights, and it’s furnished with leather furniture to invoke an intimate atmosphere. Mon–Thu, 8pm–1am; Fri–Sat, 8pm–2am.
Hard Rock Café Hard Rock Hotel Penang, Jalan Batu Ferringhi, Batu Ferringhi (04 886 8050/ penang.hardrockhotels.net). Wherever its location may be, Hard Rock Café’s reputation is backed by a menu full of authentic American cuisine with a hint of Southern flair. Stick to dishes like the Hard Rock nachos, grilled chicken quesadillas, apple cobbler and the legendary 10oz burger. Staying true to the Hard Rock eccentricity, the Café is furnished with comfortable seats and rock music paraphernalia from around the world. The best bit? Most of the cocktails and beers are served in souvenir glasses, which you can take home for a little extra. For recommendations, go wild with the Hurricane (a blend of orange, mango and pineapple infused with rum) or enjoy an ‘Alternative Rock’ like an alcohol-free Groupie Grind (mango puree, piña colada mix and pineapple juice blended with a strawberry swirl). Halal. Child friendly. Kids’ menu. Credit cards accepted. Sun–Thu, 11.30am–2am; Fri, Sat and eve of public holiday, 11.30am–2.30am. $$$
Healy Mac’s Irish Bar & Restaurant
3A-G-9, Ground floor, Straits Quay, Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang, Tanjung Tokong (04 890 3477/www. healymacspg.com).
You won’t find any green leprechauns here, but Healy Mac’s does keep its Irish roots close to heart with a splash of Irish green amidst its bare interior. The pub is traditionally known for its excellent beer and generous servings, so go for a Guinness draught or a lovely ale. The sports channel dominates every TV screen, which makes this an ideal spot for when you want to catch live sports.
Child friendly. Daily, 11am–late. $$$
Jammin’ Via Pre, Second floor, 5 Pengkalan Weld, George Town (04 261 9800/ www.facebook.com/jamminpenang). You’ll find this bar and lounge one floor above the Italian restaurant Via Pre. The interior is largely composed of dark wood furnishing, with a small bar and a stage that has hosted various live DJs and music bands in recent months. The balcony overlooks Weld Quay with tables for couples who want a bit of privacy. Jammin’s drinks menu ranges from gourmet Italian beers and earthy Italian wines to cocktails and coffees.
Open Wed–Sun, 5pm–late. $$
NEW Living Room Café Bar & Gallery 43-C Jalan Batu Ferringhi, Batu Ferringhi (017 477 2148/012 589 9136/ Facebook: Living Room Café Bar & Gallery). Two friendly locals, affectionately known as Amy and Ben, run the day and night shifts of this Asian-themed café and bar. Keen-eyed drinkers would usually settle for a bucket of beer or a glass of wine, but this simple beach café offers lip-smacking barbecue pork ribs, beef rendang, salt-and-pepper squid and other Asian and Western trimmings. Living Room shifts to a more spirited tempo in the evenings, when the live music starts playing. Thu–Tue, 10am–3pm & 6.45pm– 10pm.
NEW Monkey Bar 3E, Upper Penang Road, Jalan Penang, George Town (04 261 8262/ www.facebook.com/monkeybar.penang). Smack-bang in the middle of Upper Penang Road, Monkey Bar is somewhere between an old European hostelry and a stifling bar with purple neon lights. Beers, stout, cocktails and tuak are all served at a competitive price point. Food-wise, the menu leans towards a favourable Thai and Western menu. After a pint of two, try your hand at the dartboards and then sit outdoors to catch a session of live football. Best of all, it’s open till late.
Daily, 5pm till late.
Nueve 10-B-02, Precinct 10, Jalan Tanjung Tokong, Tanjung Tokong (012 421 8286/www.facebook.com/Nueveplace). With a name derived from the Spanish word for ‘nine’, this boldly-logoed locale makes it a point to have something
special installed for its guests every night. We applaud its goal to keep us entertained, from happy-hour deals and drinking competitions to live DJ performances. It’s all about the weekend here; Friday nights are typically ushered in with drink deals that will give you more reason not to remember your pending workload.
NEW Patio Bar de Tapas 49F Pengkalan Weld, George Town (012 311 0442/www.facebook.com/ patiopenang). This newly opened tapas bar has got Spanish influences written all over its wall. Patio is patterned in such a way that you can enjoy a cocktail from the bar first before sauntering to your table in the courtyard, which is dotted with stick trees and wooden furnishing backed by rustic, brick walls. Enjoy a menu full of Spanish dishes, such as paellas, gambas and bombas, while soothing Ibizian music plays in the background. Credit cards accepted. Sun–Thu, 5pm–1.30am; Fri–Sat, 5pm–2.30am. $$$
NEW The Press 2 Lebuh Chulia, George Town (012 581 1891/www.facebook.com/ presspenang). This rooftop bar and club is housed in the long, roomy space of the old Kong Hwa Yit Poh building on the corner of Chulia Street and Weld Quay. Wood seems to be the presiding theme here, along with really long happy hours. Make your way up the circular staircase to the rooftop seating area for some nightlife with a view. Here, elegant couches are surrounded by white cotton cloths gently flapping in the sea breeze from the quay. Aside from the drinks, we recommend you try the seafood paella with its succulent mix of chorizo, clams and prawns.
Credit cards accepted. Daily, 5pm–3am.
QEII Church Street Pier, 8A Pengkalan Weld, George Town (04 263 3331). Thanks to the steady stilts, QEII sits over the water, perched next to the Penang jetty overlooking the marina. It’s a fine dining restaurant by day; by night, it transforms into a spacious alfresco nightclub. On most nights, vivacious House and Dance music play on a loop. The best part about the QEII experience is the dancing and drinking session accompanied by the cool breeze sweeping through your hair, and the sound of waves rolling over the shore. This makes a night out at QEII quite literally a party on the sea. Daily, 12noon–midnight (dining); 12noon–3am (entertainment).
Reggae Club 361 Lebuh Chulia, George Town (012 485 8333). It’s hard to believe that Reggae Club opened a decade ago; the same wooden walls covered with pictures of Bob Marley are still there. There’s a dancefloor for those who want to sway to reggae beats from Black Uhuru, Shabba Ranks or Jimmy Cliff. And if you feel like blending in, you can get your own reggae kit from the club itself, which includes clothes, scarves and hats. This reggae bar is fairly notorious for live music and cheap beers.
Sand Bar Hard Rock Hotel Penang, Jalan Batu Ferringhi, Batu Ferringhi (04 881 1711/penang.hardrockhotels.net). One of the few beach bars in Batu Ferringhi with a massive tiki hut, the Sand Bar is fairly new to the Hard Rock family and in recent years has done a fine job keeping beachcombers hydrated. Cocktails here may cost you more than usual but the Sandyjager (a mix of Jagermeister, grenadine syrup and orange juice) is a stellar signature, as is the Illusion (a blend of Midori, vodka, lemon, lime and sweet and sour). Sand Bar is located by the beach, so don’t bother strapping on your heels.
Sigi’s Bar and Grill on the Beach Shangri-La’s Golden Sands Resort, Jalan Batu Ferringhi, Batu Ferringhi (04 886 1852/www.shangri-la.com/ penang/goldensandsresort). Covered by a white triangular tarpaulin, Sigi’s location is nearly close to perfection. The renovated space now has a sprawling patio and an upper deck that allows for a full view of the sweeping beach and the sea. Drinkswise, Sigi’s love affair with the island’s balmy, breezy evenings comes out in its colourful and intoxicating cocktails, such as the classic Sex on the Beach and the ever-popular Mojito. If you’re entirely food-focused, the menu also expands to carpaccio, steaks, paellas and pastas. Child friendly. Kids’ menu. Daily, 11am–midnight. $$$
Slippery Senoritas The Garage, 2 Jalan Penang, George Town (04 263 6868/www. slipperysenoritas.com). Penang’s prime party venue is also one of its most long-lived. It’s divided into a salsa club and a restaurant, and is located in The Garage enclave just opposite the E&O. When the heat is turned up in Slippery Senoritas, the bartenders pull off some flaming moves at the Island bar and the live cover band fires off some great tunes, packing the dancefloor to the brim.
Soho Free House 50 Jalan Penang, George Town (04 263 3331/www.sohopenang.com). Soho Free House can get exceptionally crowded on weekends, so come early and secure a good seat for you and your pint of beer. It’s fast becoming one of the town’s favourite watering holes – regulars normally consist of expats, tourists and a fair share of locals. Good pub grub brings in the lunchtime crowds, but when night falls, people come to shoot pool, have a pint or dance to House music on the small dancefloor.
Daily, 12noon–midnight. $$
Soho Gastropub Precinct 10, Jalan Tanjung Tokong, Tanjung Tokong (04 263 3331/www. sohopenang.com). Just as lively as its sister outlets in the popular Soho Penang family, the Gastropub gets quite crowded on most weekends. It’s a great place for a drink and a bite to eat – a fact that
contributes to the casual, easy-going ambience. Expect to find plenty of young ones flocking here for the happy-hour offers and a fun night out
Soju Room B2, Entertainment City, Penang Times Square, Jalan Dato Keramat, George Town (012 556 5876/04 210 3082). Graduating from its former Soju Club moniker, the establishment is nestled within its current home at Penang Times Square. Boasting a futuristic circular stage, laser lights and an ultramodern bar, Soju Room is constantly reinventing itself. It’s proving to be a promising nocturnal retreat in George Town, with live DJ sessions taking up most nights of the week armed with clubbing hits and the best of EDM. Child friendly. Kids’ menu. Daily, Mon–Sat, 9pm–3am.
NEW Storm 1 Lorong Drury (off Lebuh Campbell), George Town (019 494 5585/www. storm.com.my). You need to make yourself presentable when you hang out in nightspots like Storm. Deeply futuristic with laser beams that move with the music, this nightclub is located off Lebuh Campbell. On most nights they’ll host different DJs to man the decks, mostly with EDM playlists up their sleeves. High chairs and tables are sprawled neatly by the stage area, leaving little room for wild dance moves but just enough for a jiggy at your table.
NEW Talk Talk Wine Bar & Lounge 2-G-3 & 2-G-4, Pekaka Square, Bangunan Lip Sin, Lebuh Pekaka Satu, Gelugor (016 414 6797/www. facebook.com/TalkTalkwinebar). This fairly new wine bar is tucked away within the unassuming Sungai Dua neighbourhood in the east part of the island. Decorated in a rustic chic manner, the huge space is structurally divided into two floors without giving off a claustrophobic vibe. The ground floor houses a manic arrangement of wooden tables and bar stools whereas the open space above is filled with comfortable couches. The bar boasts an admirable list of wines and cocktails, and live bands appear midweek to help you ease into the weekend. If you’re more food-focused, Thai food is available for lunch and dinner at Talk Talk’s adjacent sibling, Tok Tok Cuisine.
That Little Wine Bar 54 Jalan Chow Thye (04 226 8182/ www.thatlittlewinebar.com). A number of words come to mind when describing this high-calibre bar and restaurant, but ‘little’ isn’t one of them. The wine list features more than 50 labels, and the food menu covers an impressive span of tapas, salads, soups, main courses and desserts, with the mushroom quiche and the seared coriander fish being standouts. Drop by for one of the regular wine tastings, or else for a baguette that, so they claim, is the best in Penang. Child friendly. Disabled friendly. Free parking. Mon–Sat, 5pm–midnight. $$$
Three Sixty° Revolving Restaurant & Sky Bar Revolving Restaurant and Skybar, Level 17, Bayview Hotel, 25A Lebuh Farquhar, George Town (04 263 3161/www.bayviewhotels.com/ georgetown). We certainly have a soft spot for bars with scenic views and this one is high on our list. Backed by the sweeping landscape of George Town, this is Penang’s first sky bar of its kind. It’s quite an experience to savour a strong cocktail from the top of the Bayview Hotel. The drinks menu is fairly extensive, from wines to cocktails and beers. As the night progresses, House music fills up the space and that’s when the younger crowds start pouring in.
Daily, 4pm–1am. $$$
NEW Timbar One Precinct, Lorong Mayang Pasir, Bandar Bayan Baru, Bayan Lepas (04 611 9677/ www.facebook.com/timbar. penang). Shaking up old English appeal with a timber-decorated bar, Timbar is an all-in-one bar, restaurant and lounge tucked away in Bayan Baru. The atmosphere is lively and deals chiefly with the post-work crowd and old friends looking for a brief catch-up. Paulaner, Tiger, Guinness Draught and Heineken comprise the beers; also note that scotch whiskies and red wine are served with style here as well. The food menu is extensive and can go as far as French, Mediterranean and Italian. Mon–Thu, 11am–12midnight; Fri, 11am–2am; Sat, 3pm–2am
NEW Traffic 6B Lebuh Bishop, George Town (04 250 0666/www.facebook.com/ TrafficLogan); 18 Persiaran Bayan Indah, Bayan Bay, Bayan Lepas (012 433 6112/www.facebook.com/traffic. my). For those looking to hole up at Logan Heritage to escape rush-hour traffic, this aptly named gastropub is your go-to spot. It consists of a kitchen, a bar and a music room. Beer and cocktails are served from early evening to late at night. Mind you, you’ll have to limit your partying to just six days a week here, because Sunday is a rest day for these folks. If it gets too crowded, you can party at their second outlet in Bayan Lepas.
Vino Vino Bistro Block H-10-3, Lorong Bayan Indah 2, Bay Avenue, Bayan Lepas (04 645 9922/ Facebook: Vino Vino Penang). A brand hailing from Kota Kinabalu, Vino Vino has since opened two new outlets under its name: one in Penang and another in Johor. It’s a bistro, a wine bar, a whisky bar and a coffee bar rolled into one. Known for devising a unique, innovative method of serving its wine and whisky, Vino Vino has a prepaid dispensing system that keeps the drinks at optimum temperature. Drinks are dispensed like a vending machine; you get the option of a tasting, a half-glass or a full glass. The convenience of sampling new wine and whisky aside, Vino Vino also serves food, with its speciality being the Japanese grill menu. Daily, 12noon–midnight; Sat, 12noon–1am; Sun, 4pm–midnight. $$$
Weissbräu German Bar & Bistro Straits Quay, Lot 3C-G-1, Jalan Sri
Tanjung Pinang, Tanjung Tokong (04 890 1808/www.weissbrau.com.my). The name means ‘white beer’ in German. With a modern, cosy interior, this place aims to please with an extensive portfolio of authentic German delicacies, imported draught and bottled beer. The interior is modern, cosy and sprawled with wooden booths for privacy. Mon–Fri, 11.30am–1am; Sat–Sun, 11.30am–2am.
The Wine Shop 15 Lintang Burma, George Town (04 226 1824/www.thewineshoppg.com.my). There’s something a little different about The Wine Shop – it’s a wine distributor, catering to a large number of retail and wholesale services. As a result, the wines are slightly cheaper than anywhere else. Apart from housing over 800 wine labels from various vineyards in different countries, this bar-cum-restaurant also sells gourmet meats, sausages and cheeses. The charming bit? You can buy a bottle from the store and hop over to the restaurant to enjoy it minus the corkage fee. Mon–Thu, 9am–12midnight; Fri–Sat, 9am–1am. $$$
1823-G3 & 1824-G1 Jalan Perusahaan Auto-City, North-South Highway, Juru Interchange, Seberang Perai (010 231 1558/www.bed.com.my). Glammed up with golden light fixtures and modern furniture, a BED outlet is the kind of place where you can enjoy a cappuccino and a cocktail in one seating. Yes, at this coffee and lounge, you can have both. Every outlet is equipped with WiFi access (handy if you’re on a business meeting or in need of an answer to a trivia quandary) and the clientele covers a mix of young urbanites and the post-work crowd. There’s even karaoke equipment to let your vocals soar.
NEW Fuel 1681-G1 & 1681-G2, Jalan Perusahaan, Auto-City, North South Highway, Juru Interchange, Seberang Perai (04 502 3835/012 500 8826/ www.502fuel.com). Seeing as Fuel has only been in the clubbing scene for a few years, it’s a rather impressive feat that the bar has cemented itself as a recommended nightspot for live bands. If you're taking the word ‘fuel’ literally, there are two ways for patrons to fill up to keep going through the night: sop up all the booze or snap up Japanese and Asian fare from the buffet table.
The Library 7 & 8, Butterworth Business Centre, Jalan Raja Uda, Butterworth (04 323 9888/www.thelibrary.my). You’ll meet an interesting bunch of expatriates and Penangites mingling at The Library. It boasts the largest selection of vodka and the widest collection of beer in the country, although we have to admit we’re a bit sceptical about this claim. If you trace the course of its history, it also happens to be the first establishment in Malaysia with self-serving beer taps, which make it a fine place for parties.
NEW Oktober Munich Restaurant & Bar 1688-G8 Jalan Perusahaan, AutoCity, North-South Highway, Juru Interchange, Seberang Perai (04 507 1699). A regular staple for Auto-City night owls, this bar opens past midnight with good happy-hour deals to last till the wee hours. Whether you enjoy an airy, alfresco setting or if you’d rather be indoors with a live band, Oktober balances both preferences quite well to ensure a good time no matter where you’re sitting. Our favourite part of Oktober is its electronic darts machine, perfect for letting off some steam.
Credit cards accepted. Daily, 4pm–2am
Room Auto-City 1824-F1, 1825-F1 & 1826-F1, Auto-City, Jalan Perusahaan, NorthSouth Highway, Juru Interchange, Seberang Perai (04 502 2263/www. roompartyhouse.com). There’s only one thing that keeps the patrons at the Room moving on the dancefloor: the on-cue synchronisation between the state-of-the-art laser lights and the music spins from the resident DJs. If you prefer to party like a VIP, there are two luxurious suites complete with better service and a karaoke kit to fit you and your entourage. The club can house close to 700 party goers at a time.
Roxbury Pub & Bistro 20 G/F, Jalan Todak 3, Pusat Bandar Sunway, Seberang Jaya, Perai (012 499 8777/04 399 8285/www. roxbury.4t.com). This charmingly rustic neighbourhood tavern hasn’t changed much since its establishment in 2003, except for the addition of a small dancefloor. Young waitresses flit between the wooden bar tables in teeny skirts, and a Filipino band plays live in the foreground. It’s reputedly the first English and Irish pub to hit Butterworth, and also one of the first bars to serve imported beer on tap.
Mon–Sat, 3pm–3am; Sun, 5pm–3am
NEW Soho English Pub & Restaurant 1832-G1, Jalan Perusahaan, AutoCity North-South Highway, Juru Interchange, Seberang Perai (04 507 0079). Housed in a rustic, old-country exterior, Soho English Pub is ideal for those who prefer an old-school, no-frills drinking experience. You can expect a seriously English vibe as you wander around the premises. With a widescreen television as its centrepiece, join other footy fans and cheer for your favourite team. For an authentic English experience, order a pint of strong, cold brew while you admire the pub’s oak furnishing and wood-panelled bar.
Beach Blanket Babylon
Hard Rock Café
Sigi's Bar and Grill on the Beach