Best bars and clubs in Penang

The best watering holes and nightspots for some after-work fun. By Kitty Kaye, Su Aziz, Eleanor Lopez and Tara Ghale

Bars and pubs

The Library, Butterworth

With its opening hours extending to the wee hours of the morning, this bar and restaurant has a very large selection of beers both on tap and bottled. Their bestseller seems to be their beer towers that often go on promotional prices during selected weeks.

Read more

Tao Cuisine, Auto-City

Located on the second floor, this restaurant by day and bar with live music by night gives an overall view of the party street in Auto-City. Decorated with red lamps suspended from the ceiling and wood interior, it has a cosy but chic ambience as well. Happy hour runs all night long here and beers start at RM12.

Read more

The Canteen at ChinaHouse

Critics' choice

Well, you’re on an island so needless to say, the mellow, swinging-in-a-hammock-by-the-beach vibe pervades most bars. Take the bohemian inspired The Canteen at ChinaHouse. Be it a casual round of drinks with friends, an open-mic comedy evening or head-bopping to live bands (on weekends), you can have it as you wish within this eclectically designed colonial shop house. Go early to grab some comfy, mismatched seats and if it gets too crowded later in the evening, you can move on to the open-air courtyard without missing a beat. The selection of margaritas and mojitos are a must try or you could raid the Vine & Single room for some exclusive bottles of vino imported by Frenchman Sebastien.

Read more

Jammin'

This is the bar extension of Italian restaurant Via Pre, and the view of Pengkalan Weld from its balcony is spectacular. So right after a full meal of pizzas, risotto and cold cuts, climb the staircase to Jammin’ where live performances and weekly tango nights abound. Before you head out to the balcony, order an afterdinner Limoncello Napoli or a stronger single malt whisky.

Read more
George Town

Bed Coffee and Lounge, Auto-City

White interior blanketed by blue light gives the places a severity but a touch of friendly and fun can be had with an order of their colourful cocktails from RM18 a glass. For cut-down prices beer here, catch their happy hour before it ends at 9pm daily.

Read more
Tanjung Bungah

Vintage Bulgaria Restaurant

Apart from being the only Bulgarian restaurant in Malaysia serving specialty dishes, Vintage Bulgaria’s bar upstairs also remains a favourite hangout for expats and locals within the Tanjung Bungah area looking for a quiet after-dinner drink and a game of pool.

Read more

Soho English Pub and Restaurant, Auto-City

They sure took the trouble to build an English medieval building and thought into its interior complete with a high ceiling along with furniture and bar of thick, dark wood. Old it may feel but a proper pub is what it is with happy hour that goes on all night long and beers for a song at RM9.80++.

Read more

C&J Alabama Shake

C&J Alabama Shake has a warm Southern-style welcome. The manager is an Alabama boy who came to Penang for a visit four years ago and ended up staying, adding to the eclectic mix that is George Town. A must try here is their lethal Tipsy Tea, three ounces of tea-infused vodka with lemonade. Popular choices from the menu include deep-fried pickles that echo their ‘if you can eat it we can fry it’ cooking motto, pulled pork sandwich and pork burger. There’s great music, vintage tin advertising signs, a pool table and intelligent conversation here.

Read more

The Cellar

Housed in a converted colonial mansion, this wine bar stocks over 300 wine labels. Its retro interior adds to its charm and is a great place to relax in for a chilled out evening. Prop up on a barstool next to red velvet walls or grab some seats at the bar round the corner for quick refills of your wine glass. And don’t forget to scoot over to The Den in the next room to savour a dram or two of exclusive single-cask whiskies.

Read more

That Little Wine Bar

If you are looking for a relaxed evening of great wine and food in an intimate and friendly ambience, That Little Wine Bar is the place for you. The Wine Soiree every Thursday evening starts at 6.30pm when James the resident sommelier introduces three different wines that are served with small bites too.

Read more

Clubs

M2 Club

There’s (almost) something for everyone in terms of nightlife here in Penang, so K-Poppers behold, M2 Club offers a regular rotation of DJs and performers from East Asia including Taiwan, Japan and South Korea.

Read more
George Town

Reggae Club

Its refurbishment in the past year has turned Reggae Club into a somewhat trendy nightspot, if that can be said of a rasta-inspired watering hole. The club, which used to be a backpacker haven, has started to attract revellers of all backgrounds with live bands, themed events and a general party atmosphere.

Read more
George Town

The Press

5pm sees the doors of The Press open. Housed in a refurbished press building, this two-storey night spot has a lovely open-air rooftop area with comfy couches and a wood-paneled indoor bar below with a DJ spinning songs till the wee hours on weekends. They have all-night-long happy hours on weekdays here and sushi on the menu.

Read more
George Town

Five27@Chulia Court

Five27@Chulia Court is a dose of affordable splendour in the heart of backpacker George Town. It’s the street’s newest addition, and housed in the beautiful Chulia Court building, it literally holds court over the street. The decor combines beautiful, vibrant colours and sumptuous soft furnishing, creating intimate, sensual areas. The open terrace upstairs has a pool table while the resident DJ plays great retro sounds for you to dance the night away.

Read more
George Town

G Spot

Trendy, chic and stylish best describes the G Spot, a jazz club which exudes intrigue, with its leather furniture, sleek bar and soft red-blue lights. Just as upbeat as their party goers, is their long list of drinks. Get the bartender to shake up one of their signature martini or cocktails before colouring up your evening with their nightly jazz performance.

Read more
George Town

Room, Auto-City

A proper dance club, the crowd doesn’t kick in till 11pm. We suggest bar-hopping through all the other bars on the street before landing here at nearly midnight. Entrance fee is RM50 per person and it includes a bottle of beer. While pre-paying for a bucket of five beers at RM88++ will waiver the entrance fee for two and a bottle of whisky for a group of three or four.

Read more
Tanjung Bungah

Nueve

Critics' choice

A place to end a workday is Nueve (that means ‘nine’ in Spanish), which offers a surprise something to their customers when the clock strikes that exact hour each night in the forms of drinks promotions and live performances. It’s all about the weekend here as they usher in Friday night with drink deals that will help you forget an arduous week.

Read more
Tanjung Tokong

Soju Room

The current scene to-be-seen-in for a typical clubbing experience is without question, the reinvented Soju Room. Here you have it all; long-queues, well dressed patrons, top DJs, live bands, dance or trance tunes and trendy events to keep the disco bunnies well and truly happy. Best way to enjoy is to go with a large group, get the bottles in and party like its 1999… or whichever era you feel most comfortable in.

Read more
George Town

Slippery Senoritas

With a brightly-lit signboard standing tall amongst the other bars, clubs and pubs clustered in the notorious enclave on Upper Penang Road, Slippery Senoritasis an old favourite, having held the fort for nearly a decade. A crowd-puller throughout the week, the Latin dance club takes centre stage quite literally with its well-lit central bar where the various methods of concocting a drink is the main highlight. Get your drinks in early because by the time the band gets on stage, the place will be packed to bursting. Definitely one for a big night out – just don’t stay to witness the ruckus that spills out of the club across the road at closing time.

Read more
George Town

Cuvée

Psychedelic lights and funky wall paintings colour up the interior of Cuvée, giving it a modern and cool place to hang out in. Be a part of the music and buzz close to the DJ deck or opt for a chill out corner at the wine room with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Homegrown DJs make their regular spins here, so be sure to dance away.

Read more
Tanjung Tokong

Comments

0 comments