There’s a certain trend happening in Kuala Lumpur’s nightlife scene, and a curious one, no doubt. It involves one to have to ‘hunt’ or ‘seek out’ the nightlife behind unassuming entrances or ‘follow clues’ to discover a night of fun. Think you’re up for a little game of KL nightlife hunting?
Housed in a pre-war shoplot (rumor has it, it used to be a brothel), PS150 is possibly the hardest to locate, as it has a nostalgic toy store for a facade. But indulging in your child-like curiosity will reward you, as the bar’s entrance is more than meets the eye.
Once through the doorway, the space is divided into three seating areas that bookmark three distinct eras in the history of Indochina. Intimate booths initially greet guests, followed by an airy outdoor terrace that eventually culminates in a dramatic and atmospheric bar in the depths of the shop.
The menu? Don’t be surprised if you’re handed a primary school workbook, with various illustrations of their drinks inside.
The cocktail list is divided into five distinct themes in the history of cocktails. Vintage, Prohibition, Tiki, Disco and Contemporary. Each category presents a key cocktail reimagined, as well as concoctions original to PS150. Dare to venture to the past?
150, Jalan Petaling
6pm – 1.30am, closed on Mondays
2. The Berlin KL
Credit: The Berlin KL
The Berlin KL is another hidden bar in the heart of KL. Unraveling behind an elusive red door next to a backpacker’s hostel, Berlin borrows its concept from the raw and edgy streets of Germany’s capital city. Bright red neon lights and graffiti line the walls of the establishment, giving you the impression of a somewhat weathered nation that has seen much of history.
Credit: The Berlin KL
Their resident mixologists will encourage you to try their signature cocktails aptly named the “Brandenburg”, “LustGarten”, “JFK” and “BerlinWall”.
Credit: The Berlin KL
Interested to visit The Berlin KL on a night out? Look for the words “Ich Bin Ein Berliner”, and you’re in the right place. Happy Hour runs from 6pm – 8pm daily, while their All-day Wine Buffet (from RM55 nett, all-you-can-drink!) runs every Sunday.
208, Jalan Tun HS Lee
6pm – 2am, closed on Tuesdays
With Shuang Xi, quirky is an understatement. Recommended by a friend on social media, I decided to give this place a try. Nestled amidst old shop lots on Jalan Tun HS Lee (one too many? I think not!), Shuang Xi hits all the right spots with its delicate balancing act between nostalgia and surrealism.
Posters of old Chinese movies deck the walls, and the loft is dotted with bits and pieces of nostalgic items, such as a vintage loveseat, vintage cash register, old-school toys and dolls, and a classic gramophone.
‘Shuang Xi’ means Double Happiness. Maybe that’s why there’s a tattoo parlor upfront and a bar in the back. Did I mention that Shuang Xi also intends to create a Hari-Raya-house-party feel to the place? Yep, patrons are encouraged to find a space on the floor to lounge on – sort of like a visiting house cat (by the way, the bar DOES have a few actual cats) – with many comfortable cushions and carpets to keep things extra cozy.
If a trip to Shuang Xi sounds like your kind of nightlife, do make a reservation beforehand as they cater to a limited number of customers each night.
177, Jalan Tun HS Lee
6pm – 2am, open daily
4. Suzie Wong
Named after a “lady of the night” from a 1950’s novel, I would first assume that Suzie Wong is an establishment that’s too seductive to be located in Malaysia. But I figured such a sultry concept could only be a unique selling proposition.
See, Suzie Wong is not a special girl, unlike the book. It’s a special place. And the thing about special places is that you won’t actually realize you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole until you’ve arrived.
Call it hidden, call it tucked away, private or even covert, every adjective fits the description of this enigmatic speakeasy bar. Pass under the red awning, and you’re greeted by the scent of fresh wonton noodles. Indeed, that is the entrance. And the noodles are for you to enjoy. Grab a bite before the party starts, or fill up on them as a snack when leaving the bar later.
Claiming to be a place where the east and west collide in seductive grandeur, Suzie Wong’s decor includes velvet swings and Cheshire couches. If that’s not enough, the bar has a membership program where Black Card holders get access to a private entranceway and seats at the raised pavilion, separated from the crowd by curtains for privacy.
According to the founders, Suzie Wong is not just a bar; “She is the place for astute clientele in search for quality and authenticity.”
Note: Suzie Wong has a strict smart casual dress code, so be sure to dress up!
Wisma Lim Foo Yoong, Jalan Raja Chulan
4pm – 2am, open daily
Happy Hours: Mon – Fri, 4pm – 9pm
5. Pawn Room
Speakeasy bars are popping up all over KL’s otherwise chaotic nightlife scene, and that’s probably due to the fact that these bars provide a fresh new alternative – they’re cool and quirky, and lately, the chilled-out vibe is all the rage.
The Pawn Room in Taman Tun Dr Ismail is no stranger to that trend – the newly opened bar cum vintage collectible furniture store is basically a secret in quiet TTDI. If you’re lucky, they may even swap a few drinks with some of your old stuff!
The camouflaged door of The Pawn Room opens to reveal a beautiful room with peonies on the walls. Garden-themed with Chinoiserie accents, traditional rattan armchairs lie all around. There’s a balcony area that’s perfect for lovebirds. There is also a very Instagrammable bathtub in the middle of one of the rooms.
If the decor doesn’t charm you, maybe the drinks will. Try the Chinese Cinderella or the Bunga Kaseh, which are crowd favorites.
6, Persiaran Zaaba, TTDI
5pm – 2am, closed on Sundays
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