KUALA LUMPUR is home to almost two million people and it’s a city that never sleeps, and always eats.
Walk for two minutes in any direction and you’ll be sure to find a 24-hour eatery. It comes as no surprise then that bars and swanky pubs have been popping up in the city. Here are a few that you should stop by.
If you’re in the mood for a bit of hide-and-seek, this is the place to go. The cat is out of the bag for many, but there are still a few oblivious to this hidden lounge and bar situated above shop lots and restaurants in an increasingly exclusive neighborhood. Once you’re there, the blue light that shines on the pavement is your giveaway. Must-try drinks are the titular vodka cocktails or single-malt whiskeys which you can flush down with some popcorn from the machine that offers four exotic flavors, such as curry or peanut butter. For a heartier option, order Sri Lankan food from neighboring restaurant A Li Yaa.
Looking to savor some South American delights with your cocktails and trying not to break the bank in the same process? Look no further than this bar located a mere 10-minute drive from the iconic Petronas Twin Towers within the city’s clubbing district Changkat Bukit Bintang. The establishment, deriving its name from a Peruvian brandy, stays true to its namesake by offering its signature cocktail ‘Pisco Sour’ and killer ceviches or empanadas if fried food is your best friend. So, ignore the I-want-to-be-environmentally-friendly move on having metal buckets as lamp shades and focus instead on the fusion food and drinks.
Omakase + Appreciate
This tiny speakeasy has been titled as one of the best bars in Asia, and there’s every reason for it. Helmed by master mixologists Shawn Chong and Karl Too, the bar’s inconspicuous entrance may be misleading, but push past the no-entry sign for what’s one of the best secrets of Kuala Lumpur. Cocktails are bespoke, and made on a whim for each customer, so best to state your preferences to the boys before placing your order. Bear in mind that this space is very tiny, but all the better for an intimate night out.
Locals say this is the place for you if you’re a simpleton with an edge. It’s a place if you’re in the mood for comfort dishes and drinks with, you guessed it, a slight twist. Signature drinks are Milo Kaw which consists of Milo cocoa powder, Irish whiskey and hazelnut liquor or try their Pina Colada with a touch of ‘pandan’ syrup. Easily accessible via public transportation, hop off the Hang Tuah monorail train station, walk for about ten minutes and it’s located right behind a police station, nestled in a heritage building within the quieter and often forgotten part of downtown KL.
Hyde at 53M
This is where we cheat a little. Technically, this swanky 1920s speakeasy bar sits in the neighboring state of Selangor. However, since both Kuala Lumpur and Selangor often intertwine over several overlapping townships including Damansara, where this bar is located, I’m going to insist that this place makes the cut as one of the city’s cool joints. Hyde features rosewood furniture, leather lounge chairs, brass décor, artisanal cocktails served on a marble-topped bar, and a smooth selection of old classics on a continuous loop. If that does not make you feel classy, we don’t know what will.
By Punitha Kumar