10 Themed Cafes In Penang You’ll Travel Across Malaysia To Visit

Uniquely Themed Penang Cafes

Source: @sudokoo

Cafe hopping is fast becoming one of the most popular modern pastimes, no matter where in the world you go. The thought of savouring brunches and coffee in a well-decorated space is enough to bring smiles! 

With many beautiful cafes popping up in every corner of Penang’s food scene, Penangnites are spoilt for choice when it comes to visiting one that’s unique. We scoured around to unravel themed cafes with sights pretty enough for your Instagram and food delicious enough for your tummy. 

1. Antique Theme: Junk Cafe

Source: @sudokoo

Junk Cafe is essentially a hipster’s heaven. Decked from top to toe with dated antiques and curious toys, stepping into Junk Cafe is like entering Tim Burton’s world. As you take refuge in this space, allow your eyes to wander and be charmed by the whimsical objects and their stories. As if it couldn’t be more magical, the cafe turns into a music wonderland at night, serving up live bands, solo musicians and DJs to feed your ears. 

Source: @yoonpauline 

Ironically, though bearing the name Junk Cafe, this place serves gourmet burgers and cocktails! Get ready to have your palettes pampered by one of the best burgers in town, bearing the names Tatziki Burger, Full of Junk Burger and Blood Cream Burger. Junk Cafe promises non-conventional flavours that will transform your expectations of fast food. 

Address: 401 Lebuh Chulia, 10200 Penang.
Opening Hours: 12 PM – 10 PM (Closed on Wednesdays)
Price Range: $$

2. Prison theme: The Mugshot Cafe

One of the longest running cafe in the Penang scene, The Mugshot Cafe has managed to stay on top with its quality bagels and homemade yoghurt jars. The bagels are made fresh and baked in a stone – hot piping goodness in every mouthful. Don’t miss out on the cafe-exclusive jackfruit and gula melaka yoghurt, known for their sweetness and fresh ingredients. 

Source: @xxmilkittyxx

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Besides freshly made grub, Mugshot Cafe is also a favourite amongst Instagram-loving cafe hoppers and Orange is the New Black fans. A popular mugshot wall set up right smack in the middle of the cafe, and playful prison-themed props will allow you to become the most stylish, yet convincing criminal.

Source: @huiyinggd

Address: 302 Chulia Street, 10200 Penang.
Opening Hours: 8 AM -12 AM
Price Range: $$

3. Rustic Theme: Awesome Canteen

If you are on a hunt for rustic backdrops and atmosphere to desaturate the colour of your Instagram feed, famed architect and landscape planner Ng Sek San’s Sekeping series, a trail of meticulously refurbished properties are your best bet. He is known to be successful in retaining the original flavour of various old buildings while adding a touch of polish and zen to them, making his guesthouses a dream to live in. 

Source: @jjjan01________

His first Sekeping series in Penang, Sekeping Victoria, houses the Penang branch of Awesome Canteen, a cafe that serves wholesome delicious food. Coffee and desserts here are also known to be top-notched. 

Source: @jemsfoodblog


The cafe is made up of a mismatched collection of metal and wooden chairs scattered around the cafe, while plants shoot out at various corners of the peculiar space. This may sound like a bizarre image put together, but it creates a strangely cozy feeling. No wonder this cafe has become one of the hot favourites in Penang’s cafe scene. 

Address: 164 Lebuh Victoria, 10300 Penang.
Opening Hours: 12 PM – 11 PM
Price Range: $$

4. Rustic Theme: Shinise Cafe and Bistro

Source: @yeeesan 

Ng’s second establishment in Penang, Sekeping Pinang, houses Shinise Cafe and Bistro. The space bears a signature rustic and green touch found in the Sekeping series, though there is a stronger emphasis on woodwork here, where you’ll find yourself lounging in nostalgia in one of the rattan chairs. 


Shinise’s entrance is furnished with a portrait-worthy natural green curtain that’s inviting. As you warm up to the cafe, you’ll notice that the bluish-white light fixtures give off a sophisticated, cool vibe, aiding the cafe’s transformation into a bar at night. Food wise, be assured that you will only enjoy fresh grub as all the ingredients are sourced daily from Cameron Highlands. 

Source: @yeefengg

Address: 62 Lebuh Melayu, 10100 Penang.
Opening Hours: 10 AM – 11 PM
Price Range: $$

5. Bicycle Theme: Wheeler’s Coffee

Source: @kongmunwei

Cycling is one of Penangites’ favourite sports, evident from the multiple cycling events around the island annually. Therefore, it is perfectly apt for a bicycle themed cafe to pop up, congregating enthusiasts. Holed up in Love Lane, a hotspot for backpackers and tourists, Wheeler’s Coffee offers a strategic spot to watch the world go by while sipping on a cup of good coffee. A range of bicycles, from stylish to professional, is available for rent as well. 

Source: @zhuomiin.__

The cafe is adorned with bicycle-inspired murals and installations that are a joy to look at. While the food served at Wheeler’s Coffee are generally basic and adequately prepared, give their signature Espresso Chicken a go! After all, who could say no to good coffee? 


Address: 67 Love Lane, 10200 Penang.
Opening Hours: 9 AM – 12 AM
Price Range: $$

6. Animal themed cafes: Purrfect Cat Cafe

Source: @purrfectcatcafe

Animal themed cafes may be all the rage all over the world, but in Penang, they are a rare breed. Nestled in Muntri Street of Georgetown Heritage Area, Purrfect Cat Cafe is the state’s first animal/cat cafe established.

Source: @purrfectcatcafe

The cafe’s reasonable entrance fee of RM13 for every two hours, opens you to the company of eight cats of various sizes and colours – Bear, Snowy, Marble, Nala, Teddy, Orange, Molly and Leo –  that’ll melt your cat-loving heart. Rest assured that your rendezvous with the cafe cats are in good conscience, with several regulations established to ensure the felines’ wellbeing.  

Source: @lenko1388

Delicious drinks and light snacks provided at the cafe makes it a ‘purrfect’ place for an afternoon tea with friends. As the dining compound and the playing compound are separated, the cafe ensures you take your eyes off your phone, after Instagramming the irresistible decor and adorable cakes – just relax with these furry felines of Penang! 

Address: 53 Lebuh Muntri, 10200 Penang
Opening Hours: 10 AM – 9:30PM
Price Range: $$

7. Animal themed cafes: Bark and Bean


On the other side of the island, away from the city centre, we have Bark & Bean, a pet wellness lounge that welcomes canines and their owners. The cafe provides fresh and nutritious bakes for dogs, and a well maintained environment for them to roam around (all pets are sanitized and fitted with diapers before they are allowed into the cafe). 

The cafe is an apt ground for doggies to enjoy a great time, and for humans to socialize among a crowd that shares a similar interest. You will find a couple of resident pomeranians and malteses dressed to cuteness and all ready to play host – and of course, pats, hugs and tummy rubs are never rejected. 

Source: @barkandbean

The cafe’s grunge style decor allows for picture-perfect corners and snuggable sofas. And while human food is not the focus here, the cakes are thoughtfully made nonetheless. A perfect cafe to spend quality time with dogs as well as delicious food.

Source: @yumikocheah  

Address: 18 Jalan Pantai Jerjak, 11900 Penang 
Opening Hours: 11 AM – 9 PM
Price Range: $$

8. Book Theme: The Big Fat Hen


A cafe plastered with pages off classic and popular storybooks, The Big Fat Hen will make bookworms swoon. The cafe’s name and its dishes such as ‘Searious Black’ and ‘Mary had a …’ are lifted out of nursery rhymes and novels – a page taken out of the owner’s love for reading. 

Book fans will take delight in spotting easter eggs found in every aspect of this creatively crafted cafe, as well as the collections of hardcover classics found in corners of its warmly lit space. 


True to the cafe’s name, the food offerings provide a focus on unique poultry dishes with a French and fusion touch. In addition, The Big Fat Hen plays host to regular open mic sessions which encourages spoken word performances, as well as the Penang Writers Event, where aspiring and established writers meet to talk about their passion. It’s a cafe where the local literary scene comes alive. 

Source: @sabrina_sng

Address: Chime Heritage, 9 Jalan Bawasah, 10500 Penang.
Opening Hours: 11.30 AM – 3 PM
Price Range: $$

9. Glasshouse Theme: The Lawn Cafe


The Lawn Cafe is like a dream come true for those who’ve seen mandopop singer Jay Chou’s music video of his song ‘Handwritten Past’. A tiny glasshouse perched on a hilly meadow, this cafe is as dreamy as the promotional film it was inspired by. 


Although space is limited, you will be wooed by the cafe’s simplistic yet stylistic interior, the hypnotic aroma of good coffee, and the natural sunlight gliding its way through the glass panels. Both the interior and exterior appearances of the cafe are instagrammable, but staying out in the sweltering heat of Penang island for long is discouraged – it’s wiser to lounge on the beanbags outside the cafe in the evening instead. 

Source: @this_calvin 

Don’t expect to be nourished by a full-blown cafe menu, as the cafe’s collaboration with Johor’s Coffee Concepts Company focuses solely on bringing you the best coffee you can get. Nonetheless, this cafe is definitely one that you can spend an afternoon daydreaming about the possibilities of life beyond Penang, as you waltz into your very own music video set. 

Source: @epollllll 

Address: PT2509 Jalan Paya Terubong, 11060 Penang.
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm 
Price Range: $$

10. School Theme: Pik Nik Everyday

Source: @supernormnorm

Over at mainland Penang, Pik Nik’s second venture named Pik Nik Everyday transports you instantly back to long lost school days. Decked in wooden classroom chairs and metal canteen chairs from early school years, even the vandalized walls designed by local graffiti artists give off a sense of fun and rebellious nostalgia. A yellow school bus is specially built for the kitchen front to further furnish the already photogenic space.

Source: @rachelsss

The food offerings at Pik Nik Everyday is similar to its Penang island sibling, specializing in savoury and dessert waffles. However, do look out for special seasonal offerings at this branch, such as the recent mouth-watering Fried Satay Chicken Waffle Burger. The atmosphere at Pik Nik Everyday is bustling, reminiscent of a campus cafeteria, making it a good hangout cafe for school reunions. 

Pik Nik Everyday operates till midnight everyday. 

Address: G-15B, Pangsapuri Seri Melur, 12300 Penang.
Opening Hours: 6 PM – 12 Midnight

Penang’s Best Cafes

Source: @nicoleyeoh91

From places to indulge in your gastronomic passions and interests, to spaces that drown you in nostalgia, these themed cafes provide a refuge from the hustle and the dullness of your daily schedule. Head to one of the cafes above this weekend for your brief respite!

Tom Johari

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