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If you love pub-hopping and are hoping to add a few more names to your list of favourites, we have you covered. Listed here are some of the most popular speakeasy bars in the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. These establishments offer the rarest brands of liquor and wine, or are known for making famous classic cocktails and their modern interpretations. Some of them tout the most amazing interior design and ambience to go with your drinks, to set your mood for the night.

I. Coley Cocktail Bar

This bar in Bangsar is known for serving excellent cocktails. In fact, it was named by William Reed Business as one of Asia’s 50 Best Bars in 2019 and the prior year. It offers a meticulously selected menu of cocktails that’s continuously updated to suit the taste of the time. Nonetheless, clients can order classic drinks with a modern twist and a touch of local ingredients.

For instance, the bar’s London dry gin comes with fresh coconut water, while whisky is combined with their in-house barley lemon water. Meanwhile, Coley’s very own Saffron Sour is based on the popular whisky sour drink. It makes use of saffron-infused bourbon, which is then added with lemon, lime, sugar, vanilla syrup, bitters, and egg white. It has a zesty taste that’s so invigorating on a sultry night.

The popular bar obtained its name from Ada 'Coley' Coleman, a famed bartender at The Savoy Hotel in London in 1903, who made the Hanky Panky cocktail, which you can also order at this bar.

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II. Jungle Bird

Just like Coley, Jungle Bird was among the few local bars that made it to Asia’s 50 Best Bars in 2018 and 2019. But this establishment specialises in Rum, which is a rarity in Kuala Lumpur, with the growing number of bars focusing on wine and whiskey.

True to its name, the bar is known for serving a terrific Jungle Bird cocktail, which was originally made at the Aviary Bar at the old Hilton Kuala Lumpur, which relocated from Jalan Sultan Ismail. Apart from being so refreshing, the cocktail appears like a beautiful tropical fowl, with pineapple leaves protruding from the glass.

If such embellished drinks are not your poison, we suggest the Rum Old Fashioned. Its special ingredient is in-house chocolate cardamom bitters, which gives a slightly spicy flavour to the beverage.

Do note that this bar in Bukit Damansara doesn’t serve food due to the absence of a kitchen. But they have no issue with you bringing your own grub to complement their terrific rum.

III. PS150

This is among KL’s most popular cocktail bars thanks to its impressive retro design and good drinks. Situated along Petaling Street in Chinatown, PS150 is housed in a building that was formerly used as a warehouse and brothel.

Currently, the establishment is divided into three distinct spaces that reflect different historical periods. There’s the Opium Den with Chinese motif that’s ideal for an intimate occasion. The second area is called Tiki. It’s based on post-war Malaysia, and the open-air courtyard is suited to large groups. Lastly, the main bar’s design combines the past and the modern. It is dimly lit but romantic.

Meanwhile, PS150’s cocktail menu is divided into five periods when they were invented – Vintage (1850s to 1910s), Classic (1920s to 1930s), Tiki (1940s to 1960s), Disco (1970s to 2000s) and Contemporary (late 2000s until present). One of the most popular beverages here is Lychee No. 3, which contains London dry gin, ginger flower, lime, and lychee.

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IV. Pahit

This bar is perfect for those who want to escape KL’s bustling heart, but don’t want to travel far. Tucked away in Bukit Bintang along a quiet row of old buildings constructed during the 1920s, Pahit is a paradise for gin connoisseurs. There is a wide array of gins available hailing from different parts of the world, like France, Scotland, and Japan.

The bar specialises in gin, from ingenious gin-based cocktails, fruit infused versions, to different variants of classic gin and tonic. For light drinkers, we recommend the gin and tonic with lychee and ginger flower. The former provides a sweet taste that’s complemented by the fiery ginger flower.

If you’re looking for cocktails, opt for the bar’s version of the classic Pink Gin. It’s a fusion of London dry gin, lime, orange bitters and in-house Falernum syrup. Another bestseller is the Pineapple Smash, a combination of mint, vermouth, pineapple juice, and Bols Genever, plus a shrub made of bay leaf, and raspberry.

V. Omakase + Appreciate

This is among Kuala Lumpur’s genuine speakeasy bars. It also made it to the top ten of the maiden edition of Asia’s 50 Best Bars. Situated within the heart of the capital, the establishment seemingly has a clandestine entrance with a ‘No Admittance’ sign, but don’t worry as it has secured proper license to serve alcoholic beverages, and the secretive entrance makes Omakase + Appreciate more appealing.

The bar offers elaborate modern cocktails made on the spot by multi-awarded mixologists. True to its name, the establishment practices the Japanese concept of Omakase, wherein the bartender chooses which drink to serve to the customer based on his perception and emotional cognizance of the client.

Don’t worry about leaving the beverage selection to the mixologist’s skilful hands. You’ll surely enjoy and appreciate the drinks they come up with. Just like other speakeasy bars, the space is limited, so come alone or with a few friends to get the most of the Omakase experience.

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VI. The Rum Bar

Located in Bukit Bintang, this bar specialises in rum and it has the capital’s biggest collection of such drinks from around the world. In fact, it has more than 250 brands of rum, which surpasses Jungle Bird’s by over two-fold.

Their menu lists the rums alphabetically and from their country of origin. Besides known Caribbean rums, there are also a few unusual labels from Thailand, New Zealand, and Japan. If you’re unfamiliar with rum, you can ask the bartender, who will recommend brands depending on your inclinations for dry, robust, or fruity rums.

If you’re a rum connoisseur, you’ll be pleased that the bar keeps in hand all popular labels, such as Angostura, Appleton, Diplomatico, El Dorado, Matusalem, Pyrat, Plantation, and Ron Zacapa.

If you order rum shots, you can get either the Ginger Ale or Fever-Tree Cola on the side. In addition, you can also ask for classic rum-based cocktails like caipirinha, Mai Tai and daiquiri, as well as a glass of rum Strongbow ciders.

VII. Marini’s on 57

This is the place to be if you want to sip alcoholic drinks, while overlooking the panoramic cityscape. Positioned at the 57th level of the 60-storey Petronas Tower 3, the establishment’s floor-to-ceiling windows lets you peer into faraway mountains, while the glass roof lets you look up to the iconic Petronas Twin Towers.

Marini’s on 57 consists of an Italian restaurant, an ultra-posh rooftop bar and an impressive whisky lounge. The bar serves draught beer, premium champagne, sparkling wine, high-end spirits and signature cocktails.

Champagne brands include Joseph Perrier, G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge, and Le Marchesine Millesimato. Meanwhile, the whisky lounge comes with classy velvet and leather chairs with lingering aroma of expensive imported cigars. Its single malt whiskey selection include Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, and The Macallan.

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VIII. Bar Trigona

After opening in 2018, this swanky place secured a spot in Asia’s 50 Best Bars in 2019. The bar serves superb beverages that highlight Malaysian ingredients. Among them are tropical fruits grown at an organic farm in Bangi, wild turmeric from Pahang, and raw honey made by stingless bees (Trigona), from which the bar derived its name.

Situated within the posh Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur in the heart of the city, the bar has a glamorous ambience, featuring elegant interiors such as a marble floor, bronze fittings, and leather furniture. If you want to enjoy this place at its most dazzling time, reserve a table during sunset, as the mirrors and mosaic across the bar reflects the sunlight all over the place.

For more guides like this, visit PropSocial’s discussion page.

(Written by G. Zizan, 14th January 2020)


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thanks for the compilation....

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Mostly award-winning bars.