The First Chapter Speakeasy

KL is not new to the bar scene – be it drinking holes with lack of signage to trendy bars tucked away in alleys, there are plenty of spots around the city to visit for a nightcap. For cocktail lovers searching for a new bar that crafts unique cocktails and has chilling areas, places like The First Chapter Speakeasy will not disappoint.

This bar, which recently opened in TTDI, is where you can head to for a tipsy night with your friends, sipping cocktails – including a payasam-inspired drink in a cosy space among friendly bartenders.

It takes a bit of searching to locate. But this is all part of the fun of discovering this hidden bar.

A hidden bar behind a bookshelf

The First Chapter Speakeasy is a speakeasy-style bar in the heart of Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. Patrons visiting this bar for the first time will be in for a surprise, as it is discreetly tucked away behind a bookshelf. But first, you’ll have to locate its equally hidden, and lowkey, entrance. 

The First Chapter Speakeasy - doorThe hidden door to The First Chapter Speakeasy that you’d find in any neighbourhood business area.

It’s easy to miss the bar’s entrance. But we’ll let you in on the secret – locate a humble black door, with a red mailbox out front. To enter the bar, you must first make reservations with the bar representatives prior to your visit, as this door is pin-enabled with a password of the day.

You can make a reservation by dropping them a message on their social media accounts.

The First Chapter Speakeasy - chilling area

Once you gain entry and walk up the stairs, you’ll wonder if there’s even a bar inside – there’s nothing but a shelf full of books in a dark hallway. But you’ll soon realise that the bar’s actual entrance is ingeniously carved out within the bookshelf when you manage to find your way in.

Video credit: TheSmartLocal Malaysia

Simply walk to the end of the hall, and pull the bookshelf to enter.

The First Chapter Speakeasy - bookshelf

Exclusive set-up for a cosy drinking nights

The First Chapter Speakeasy - bar

Once you’ve figure out your way inside, you’ll be greeted by a stylish set-up comprising sophisticated furniture such as Chesterfield sofas and leather armchairs, along with classy wall lamps. 

The First Chapter Speakeasy - chairs

The dimly-lit interior of the place adds to the speakeasy ambience that you are meant to experience here.

The First Chapter Speakeasy was founded by two university friends, Ben Nair and Shawn Luke, who had the idea of opening up a secretive speakeasy, combining their passion for drinks and love for books which they have shared since they were students

The First Chapter Speakeasy - couch

Dessert-inspired cocktails & infused gins

Being a one-of-a-kind bar in KL, The First Chapter Speakeasy offers a selection of craft cocktails made with exquisite ingredients, as well as tasty appetisers, for guests.

The First Chapter Signature Rose Infused Gin and Payasam, along with the quirkily-named Regina George and Wake Me The F*ck Up cocktails, are some drinks you’ll find on the menu.

The First Chapter Speakeasy - drinks

During your visit, try out Ben’s Margarita (RM38), which is the bar’s founder’s own version of the classic Margarita that comes with a double shot of Don Julio tequila, Cointreau, fresh lime juice, organic agave, and sea salt.

The First Chapter Speakeasy - payasam

We also recommend the Payasam (RM30), a dessert-based cocktail inspired by the classic Indian dessert payasam that’s perfect for mint lovers with a sweet tooth.

The drink is served with a crunchy coil of Murukku for an added twist.

The First Chapter Speakeasy - drinks

If you want something stronger while you’re here, we’d suggest you go for The First Chapter Signature Rose Infused Gin (RM42) or Regina George (RM38), made from house-infused ingredients such as gin and tincture.

Tuesdays are Ladies’ Nights at The First Chapter Speakeasy, when they serve complimentary red and white wine sangria, as well as other cocktails. So, if you’re planning a night out with your girlfriends in the city, this is the perfect time to drop by this spot.

Bite-sized appetisers to pair with drinks - mushroom
Fried Button Mushrooms
Image credit: The First Chapter Speakeasy

A night at The First Chapter Speakeasy wouldn’t be complete without trying some of their popular bite-sized appetisers. There are Gula Melaka Chicken Cutlets for RM22, and Fried Button Mushrooms served with garlic dipping sauce for RM20.

The First Chapter Speakeasy - sliders
Beef Sliders
Image adapted from: The First Chapter Speakeasy

The savoury and spicy chicken cutlets coated in a tangy and sweet Gula Melaka sauce are a crowd pleaser, and great for sharing with your friends. The fried button mushrooms, on the other hand, are light and crispy on the outside, and juicy and moist on the inside, making them a perfect combo with drinks.

In case you’re craving something more filling, then the Beef Sliders (RM48) is the way to go. The burgers are served with crispy fries on the side and topped with caramelised onions, with two dipping sauces for extra flavour.

The First Chapter Speakeasy bar at TTDI

From its unique set-up to tasty cocktails and foods, The First Chapter Speakeasy is definitely a must-visit bar for passionate drinkers – and book lovers – in the Klang Valley. 

This hidden bar is steadily making a name for itself in the local bar scene despite its recent debut. So, consider checking out this bar with your friends to experience its speakeasy-style ambience and delicious drinks made by skilled bartenders.

Address: 139a, Jalan Aminuddin Baki, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: Tue-Sat 5pm-12am (Closed on Mondays and Sundays)
Contact: 011-2319 2556 | Facebook | Instagram

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Photography by Siva Selan.

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