Drinking game going
If you’re not a teenager who just turned legal, it’s easy to tire of the loud and overcrowded clubs in KL and yet still be itching to party! Skip out on the clubs playing excessive amounts of commercial house and head for these swanky bars instead! With music genres ranging from jazz to techno, you’re bound to find one you like in this list of 20 of the coolest watering holes in KL.
Nestled inconspicuously in a housing area in Pudu, Bar Lai’s menu of cocktails features a fusion of local flavors with your standard cocktail recipe. These include Milo Kaw with a dash of whisky, Siam Mojito using calamansi and their most famous Bar Lai Pina Colada with a spritz of pandan syrup.
The interior calls for a laid-back pre-drink meet up before a heavy night out, perfect for groups or even a date. Look out for special events such as their Piring-Piring party, a humble get together of KL’s vinyl record lovers and DJs or their bi-weekly open mic nights!
Address: 3 Jalan Sin Chew Kee, 50150 Kuala Lumpur
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Thursday 4pm to 12am | Fridays 4pm to 2am | Weekends 11am to 12am
2. Blue Elephant
Prepare to look hard for this bar hidden behind a bookcase! Located above Nero Teca in Damansara Heights, this cinema-themed bar is the perfect post-work watering hole. For those looking to boogie, the bar hosts local DJs from Wednesdays to Saturday nights playing genres ranging from deep house to a little bit of soul, groove and tech house. They even serve caramel popcorn! What’s not to love?
Address: 15M Plaza Damansara, Medan Setia 1, 50490 Kuala Lumpur
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 5pm to 2am
3. The Vault
Avoid the hustle and bustle of the city and crack your way into The Vault. Recently opened, The Vault is currently a cozy speakeasy bar with a menu of 18 specially crafted cocktails. Lounge around on one of their luscious leather couches or have a groove with the DJs from Thursdays to Saturdays, playing feel-good house tunes. The bar is set to expand to fill up all 3 floors over the next year.
Location: 5, Jalan Sri Hartamas 7, Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: Daily 5pm to 3am
4. Heli Lounge Bar
Dubbed one of Kuala Lumpur’s most scenic bars, this bar atop a helipad in the city center gives you the perfect skyline sunset shot for your Instagram. Resident DJs play anything from EDM, top 40 remixes and R&B on Thursdays to Sundays whilst guests dance away on this barrier-less rooftop. Be sure to make reservations should you wish to visit at sunset as it may get pretty crowded.
Location: 34th Floor, Menara KH, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: Monday to Wednesday 6pm to 12am | Thursdays 6pm to 2am | Friday to Saturday 6pm to 3am
5. Ril’s Bar
Hidden above an award-winning steakhouse is Ril’s Bar, a 1920s themed lounge area with one of the best Old Fashions in town. Every Saturday, the bar hosts live local acts belting out soulful jazz and acoustic tunes.
Location: 30, Jalan Telawi 5, 59100 Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: Daily 5pm to 2am
6. Pisco Bar
Mesui’s hottest watering hole is both a tapas and cocktail bar. Perfect for intimate dinner groups downstairs in their very laid back and raw restaurant/bar or head on upstairs for all night dancing. Music varies from week to week, ranging from house, funk, nudisco and techno. Swing by their Lazy Sundays for some day time drinking should you wish to cure that hangover.
Location: 29, Jalan Mesui, off Jalan Nagasari, 50200 Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: Sundays, Tuesdays & Thursdays 5pm to 1am | Wednesdays 5pm to 2am | Fridays & Saturdays 5pm to 3am
This 3 story bar features an intimate lounge/restaurant on the ground floor, club on the first, and rooftop terrace on the top floor! Event organizers host a variety of nights that include music such as drum and bass, hip hop, house and techno. The rooftop also has mojito buffets in the evenings!
Location: 31, Jalan Mesui, off Jalan Nagasari, 50200 Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.
Opening hours: Daily 4pm to 3am
8. Calavera Bar & Grill
This Latin-American inspired bar serves up one of the best fish tacos in town. Wash it down with one of their hand-crafted cocktails whilst taking in the colorful ambience. Once a week on Thursdays, an open mic night is held (free beers for artists), hip hop and funk on Wednesdays and on weekends, a DJ entertains the bar with house tunes.
Location: 13, Jalan Mesui, off Jalan Nagasari, 50200 Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: Daily 8.30am till late
Although Lust is more skewed towards being a club, the venue which is home to one of Kuala Lumpur’s best hip hop nights had to be highlighted in this list. Their Chocolate High Fridays group together some of the city’s most sought-after hip hop DJs.
Location: L1-3, L1-4 & L1-5 Office Tower, 1 Jalan Nagasari, 50200 Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: Monday to Thursday 4pm to 2am | Fridays & Saturdays 4pm to 3am
Just shy of a year old is KL’s sexiest rooftop bar, Elysium. This small but big enough terrace overlooks both the Petronas twin towers and KL tower. Affordable drinks and an extensive line up of some of the city’s finest house DJs makes this a great casual or party spot. Their after work happy hour drink deals are worth checking out as well, should you have an office somewhere in the golden triangle.
Location: Level 32, Wisma Goldhill, Jalan Raja Chulan, 50200 Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: Daily 4pm to late
11. Red Room
Designed after the streets of New York, the Red Room has 7 functional rooms within the venue. These include a barber shop, hot dog stand, vinyl store and a very intimate space suited with Funktion 1 speakers dimmed with red neon lights. Catch up over some drinks on the streets or head into the red room for a night of electronic music.
Location: Lot 343, Electric Boulevard, TREC, Jalan Tun Razak, 50450, Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: Daily 6pm till late
12. Como Restaurant & Bar
Pisco’s sister bar Como just opened up in December and despite also being a tapas and cocktail bar, its got a much bigger bar upstairs that’s soon to be filled with a stellar lineup of international acts this year. Music currently varies from EDM to underground music.
Location: E-G-01 & E-1-04, Electric Boulevard, TREC, 436, Jalan Tun Razak, 50450 Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: Daily 5pm till late
13. Frisky Bar
Aside from their monthly outdoor cinema nights, Frisky hosts friendly laid back parties on their rooftop on weekends. Known for their Sunday parties, take a break from the always busy Changkat Bukit Bintang and hop on over to this hidden gem in the middle of town.
Location: 4A, Lorong Yap Kwan Seng, 50450 Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: Tue to Sun 5pm till late
14. Bait Restaurant & Bar
Bangsar’s favorite seafood restaurant and bar is home to one of Kuala Lumpur’s most fun Friday nights. Despite its size, customers frequent the bar to boogie on down to a variety of genres ranging from soul, funk, disco and house. Dress down, have some wine and oysters and party with your best friends.
Location: 65, Jalan Telawi 3, 59100 Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: Mondays, Thursdays & Sundays 11.30am to 12.30am | Fridays & Saturdays 11.30am to 2.30am
15. La Bodega Lounge
Possibly one of Kuala Lumpur’s most funky party is La Bodega’s Sunday Funk that starts as early as 5pm until they decide to close, possibly late. Nothing is better than funk and R&B beats on a Sunday evening in this neighborhood hangout.
Location: 18-1, Jalan Telawi 2, 59100 Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: Daily 9am to late
16. Marini’s on 57
A little on the pricier end is this glass enclosed Italian restaurant/bar perched on the 57th floor of the Petronas 3 tower. Accompanied by tech housey beats, have a smoke in their cigar lounge or simply be in awe at the majestic twin towers right in front of you.
Location: 57th floor, Menara Petronas 3, Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: Restaurant – Monday to Thursday 7pm to 11pm | Friday to Sunday 6.30pm to 12am ; Bar – Daily 5pm till late ; Lounge – Monday to Saturday 3pm till late (Closed on Sundays)
Grab your own cabana overlooking the Kuala Lumpur skyline or head upstairs for a more private area. Sky Bar currently hosts nights catering to majority of the tourists in the area. Thus, leaving music selection to mainly R&B, EDM and commercial house.
Location: Level 33, Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur City Centre
Openting hours: Sunday to Thursday 10am to 1am | Fridays & Saturdays 10am to 3am
18. No Black Tie
If you’re one for live music instead of the booming sounds of electronica, No Black Tie is an intimate jazz bar nestled between a row of bars and restaurant in Changkat Bukit Bintang. Aside from jazz performances, they sometimes do light poetry reading by local writers.
Location: 17, Jalan Mesui, off Jalan Nagasari, 50200 Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 5pm to 1am
19. Havana Bar & Grill
Havana is possibly the best bar to head down to should you like to Salsa. Every Tuesday night, instructors provide Kizomba, Bachata and Salsa workshops whilst allowing participants to mingle after. Unwind in this Cuban styled mansion and don’t forget to Salsa!
Location: No. 2 & 4 Lorong Sahabat, Off Changkat Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: Weekdays 4pm till late | Weekends 12pm till late
20. Omakase & Appreciate
Often associated as one of the top speakeasy cocktail bars in Malaysia, this underground bar as its name presumes, provides guests with the opportunity to taste reinvented classic cocktails hand picked by the bartenders themselves. That’s right, they choose and make your drinks for you, ala Omakase style. Don’t expect to dance of your feet over here but if by chance, definitely check out Under9 located in the same building. This event space is home to some of the city’s finest underground gigs.
Location: LG, Ming Annexe, 9, Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday 5pm to 1am | Saturdays 9pm till late
Drink up, party on
It’s time for a small change! Have a drink, sit down and have a chat. Not all parties end in superclubs. You’d be surprised with what some of the new up-and-coming bars have got to offer.