Historic Perak doesn’t seem like a great place to party but rest assured, a host of new bars and clubs have transformed nightlife here in recent years. Whether you want to dance all night, chomp on pork knuckles in a German bierhouz, or guzzle Budweiser, you can do it in Perak’s capital, Ipoh.
131 Jalan Sultan Abdul Jalil, Greentown (05 255 1311/www. facebook.com/Barracuda131). This refurbished bungalow restaurant and bar was opened by three Ipoh locals who couldn’t find a watering hole to suit their wishes. Interestingly, they serve affordable spicy Indian curry dishes during lunch hours (don’t worry, there’s air conditioning). But come evening, Bar Racuda transforms into a laidback bar with pool tables and live bands on the weekends. Credit cards accepted. Free parking. Mon–Thu, 12noon–12.30am, Fri–Sat, 12noon–1.30am. $$$
Barbeza 50 Jalan Medan Ipoh Baru 4, Bandar Baru Medan (014 901 0706/www. facebook.com/barbeza/timeline). The team behind Barbeza understands that the essence of a good bar lies in its service. Since its early days, Barbeza has cultivated a constant stream of regulars that come for the great Italian and premium cocktails. Moreover, Barbeza seems to get the nicest bands around. As families come in for dinner in the early evenings, realisation dawns upon us: whatever customers want, these guys do ‘get it’.
Credit cards accepted. Daily, 5pm–2am.
Berlin’s Bier Houz 12 Persiaran Greentown 4, Greentown Business Centre (05 241 8118/www. fnblibrary.com). When Berlin’s Bier Houz opened four years ago, occupying a space on the bustling Greentown district, the concept was unheard of. What’s a German-themed bar doing touting pork knuckles and wheat lagers in Ipoh? However, four years on, Berlin’s has proven their worth with beer-starved Ipoh residents embracing the concept wholeheartedly and even going on to open two other successful outlets in Penang. Lowenbrau is the beer to try here. Tip: parking can be difficult, so do come early if possible. . Child friendly. Credit cards accepted. Free parking. Sun–Thu, 11.30am– 1am, Fri–Sat, 11.30am–2am.
Bricks & Barrels 28-30 Jalan Lau Ek Ching, Kampung Jawa, Ipoh (05 253 8558/www. facebook.com/BricksAndBarrels).. Exposed brickwork, cement floors, dim illumination from hanging bulbs – Bricks & Barrels decor is pretty evident, given the name. Housed in an 80-year-old building, the delightful gastropub sports some good-sized tables, comfortable seats and a cobblestoned courtyard. We like the live band but if music isn’t your thing, there’s a pool table upstairs. International beers are the order of the day here and keep an eye out for their pretty good drinks promotions. As a gastropub they offer a variety of main courses ranging from pizzas to roasted pork and ratatouille. Prepare to queue during the weekends. Child friendly. Credit cards accepted. Free parking. Sun-Thu, 4pm-1am, Fri-Sat, 4pm-2am. $$$
NEW Buddies Bistro 9 Persiaran Greentown 8, Greentown Business Centre (05 241 0050/www. facebook.com/budweiserbuddiesbistro). If you’re craving the greatest selling beer in America on your travels, Buddies Bistro will probably satiate you. With exposed brick wall exteriors and a wooden door, Buddies Bistro is the very first Budweiser concept bar in Malaysia. The atmosphere is pretty chill with dim lighting. Muster up some courage after a few pints and give the karaoke machine a try. Credit cards accepted. Free parking. Daily, 4pm–1am.
Euro House 49-51 Jalan Hussein, Ipoh (05 255 5532/www.facebook.com/ EuroHousePage). If you are looking to down a few pints of premium beers in Ipoh, this is where you go. They serve imported beers like Kronenbourg, Erdinger and such aside from liquors, wine and champagne. Euro House serves substantial portions of Western dishes; try the Euro Pork Burger with succulent pork patty and Portobello mushroom. Stamping ground for the college set, it can get extremely crowded on weekends. Something worth mentioning is their impressive entertainment arsenal of Xbox Kinect, pool tables, LCD TVs as well as karaoke machines. .
Free parking. Daily, 3pm–1am.
Fame Club 58 Jalan Sultan Idris Shah (012 538 3068/www.facebook.com/ fameclubpage). In the exact location which used to house House Music Club, Fame Club is now open for the college crowd. We think it’s probably the beer buffet deals that did the trick, but the live bands and guest DJs are actually quite good. Credit cards accepted. Mon–Sun, 7pm–3am.
Gossip Jazz Blues Lounge 6, ground floor, Persiaran Greentown, Avenue 8, Greentown Business Centre (05 241 3173/www.facebook.com/ Gossipjazzbistro). With a western menu filled with steaks, pastas and pizzas, Gossip Jazz Blues Lounge is more of a restaurant than a bar. However, the futuristic white and blue interiors serve as an interesting backdrop to the live jazz bands on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. For non-drinkers, the illy coffee should be a good option for your after work gossip session. Credit cards accepted. Mon–Fri, 4pm–12midnight, Sat, 4pm–1am. $$$
Healy Mac’s 2, ground floor, Persiaran Greentown 4, Greentown Avenue (05 249 3627/ www.healymacs.com.my). For the hungry ale hunters, Healy Mac’s is definitely good news. This Irish bar serves up the usual pub grub and promising mains, and we recommend the Guinness-marinated organic pork spare ribs. Admittedly, the staff is all dressed up in eyebrowraising bright green outfits but otherwise service is cheerful and drinks are great. Ticks all the boxes in our book. Child friendly. Credit cards accepted. Sun–Thu, 1pm–1am, Fri–Sat, 1pm–2am. $$$
NEW History Bistroz 36 & 38 Jalan Lau Ek Ching, Ipoh (05 255 3836/www.facebook.com/ HistoRyBistRozIpoh). This cavernous pub is the kind of place you’d want to settle into for a long afternoon chat with friends over beers. On the menu you’ll find pub favourites like fish and chips and behind the bar a selection of brews like Tiger, Paulaner, Guinness, and Strongbow. Head to the leafy beer garden out back and relax with a game of pool. Credit cards accepted. Mon–Thu, 4pm–1am; Fri–Sat, 3pm–2am; Sun, 3pm–1pm. $$$$
NEW i Darts Kinetic
32 Jalan Lau Ek Ching, Kampung Jawa, Ipoh (05 243 4557/www.idarts. com.my). Dartslive makes its first debut out of Klang Valley in Ipoh. These electronic darts machines can be strangely satisfying and fun, but the atmosphere can get too loud at times. I Darts also organize regular dart contests, so head here if you want a good challenge. Definitely not for those looking for a relaxing pint.
NEW Mike’s Place 3 Lebuh Satu Greentown, Ipoh (05 241 1976/www.facebook. com/pages/Mikes-Place-atGreentown/138801022868335); Mike’s Place 2.0, 24, Lorong Panglima (Concubine Lane), Ipoh (05 241 1617/ www.facebook.com/MikesPlace2.0). From afar, Mike’s Place looks like it could be someone’s house, which gives it a homey ambience and makes it an excellent place to unwind after work. Decorated in an Old English style, the bar also has large French windows that open up to three small annexed gardens should you choose to dine alfresco. Their music selection of oldies, jazz and blues are played faint enough that you can enjoy chatting with your friends as you sip on imported beers like Budweiser, Kronenbourg and Franziskaner. Located in the historical Panglima Lane, the second outlet of Mike’s Place takes residence in an old building constructed back in 1890’s. This pre-war shophouse has since been refurbished into a cosy bar that still maintains its rustic, vintage decor to reflect the famed image of Ipoh Old Town. Other than imported beers, Mike’s also serve coffee and finger food like butter-garlic drummets and prawn in chilli oil. Wed–Fri, 4.30pm–12.30am; (Mike’s Place 2.0) Free parking. Mon–Fri, 5pm–10pm.
Sky Lounge @ TSG Seventh floor, MH Tower, Jalan Medan Ipoh 1A, Medan Ipoh Bestari, Ipoh (05 548 8777/www.skylounge.my). On the seventh floor of the MH Tower, Sky Lounge is the first rooftop bar in Ipoh, boasting a panoramic view of the Ipoh limestone-dotted horizon. They serve breakfast, lunch, as well as dinner (Western fine-dining and Japanese cuisine) but mostly, it serves as a place for people to mingle and unwind after dinner. As the sun sets and alcohol finds its way into the hands of the diners (beer, cocktails, spirits), the lounge becomes shrouded in a mist of neon blue. After a cocktail or two, try your hand at the dart game machines. Sky Lounge also runs wine tastings and Jagermeister promotions. Pork-free. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 5pm–10pm.
S.O.S Club 15 Jalan Raja Ekram, Ipoh (010 810 8730/www.facebook.com/ SensationOfSound). This former tin mining town’s top night spot – S.O.S (Sensation of Sound) is an unexpectedly dazzling affair. Interiors, gigantic LED screen, sound and lighting system are by STUDIO LIVE, so you should have an idea what to expect. The striking geometric exteriors reminds one of Sephora, and upon entering the club, the top-notch and eclectic programming of DJs pretty much explains their enduring popularity amongst the younger Ipoh set.
Credit cards accepted. Daily, 9pm–3am.
St. Patrick’s Level 1, 60 Jalan Raja Ekram, Ipoh (016 555 4033). Reopened under a new management team since late last year, St Patrick’s has had a revamp. Now the menu features more filling dishes such as pasta, pizzas and pork burgers in addition to the usual bar bites. The live band that St Patrick features is pretty good too. This beer garden is definitely here to stay. Credit cards accepted. Sun–Thu, 4pm–1am, Fri–Sat, 4pm–2am.
Sun Yoon Wah 7 Jalan Bijeh Timah, Ipoh (05 253 9980). Keep in mind that this is not your usual ‘bar’, per se. Visit Sun Yoon Wah for their signature snow beer paired with great Chinese-style seafood. The sign board (in Mandarin) at this outlet says ‘snow beer’, which simply refers to the unique manner in which they serve their signature beer – in chilled glasses that induce the formation of a layer of smooth foam when they pour in the beer. Like an alcoholic slurpee, we think. We recommend the noodles, salt and pepper mantis prawns and stir fried escargot.
Daily, 3.30pm–3am. $$
Tin Ore Bistro & Lounge Kinta Riverfront Hotel & Suites, Jalan Lim Bo Seng (05 245 8888/www. kintariverfront.com.my). The aesthetic of Tin Ore is chic, understated and modern; think sleek, black, wooden chair frames with steel grey cushions and an indiscreet wine rack nesting a number of bottles. In Tin Ore, there are no gratuitous elements – just a simple angular bar, a television in view of all and small lights. Besides the usual offering of cocktails, spirits and beer, Tin Ore also serves meals to temporarily satisfy light appetites. Housed in the Kinta Riverfront Hotel & Suites are also other dining options such as the Great Miner Chinese Cuisine or Palong Cafe that can precede or succeed your visit to the Tin Ore.
Tong Lee Bar 152 Jalan Sultan Iskandar Shah (05 243 6617/016 550 0828). This hidden gem owned by the liquor store next door has only five tables and a walk-in cellar. It is rather whimsical to find a slice of Europe in this urban bar in a predominantly Chinese city. Perfectly secluded place for those who are looking for a soothing atmosphere. Mon & Sat, 10am–8pm, Sun, 12noon–7pm.
U.NION Club 23 Jalan Lau Ek Ching, Ipoh (012 515 5122). This serious DJ and music venue has a dance floor to complement their equally impressive sound system. If your scene leans towards dancing instead of chilling, U.NION is the spot to go. Located right opposite Bricks and Barrels, the raw underground industrial design definitely adds something different to Ipoh’s nightlife circuit. The roof garden is one of their chief attractions. Credit cards accepted. Mon–Sat, 7pm–3am.
World of Darts 2-02 Jalan Medan Ipoh 1, Festival Walk, Ipoh (05 546 1223/www.facebook.com/ WorldDartsIpoh). Hit the electronic bullseye at World of Darts. If you’re craving a game of darts, the folks at World of Darts have brought this to good old Ipoh. Self-proclaimed darts enthusiasts can choose to play with friends or online players, while having some rather good pub fare and snacks.
Credit cards accepted. Daily, 4pm–3am.
Berlin's Bier Houz