We went to Online Bar to unravel three urban myths. First, there was the legend of their pints of Guinness being better than even those pulled by Irish pubs. Bold claims? Wait till you hear what else they reputedly do better: Hokkien mee – those dark, sinful noodles perfected by hawker stalls but ruined by conventional kitchens – and wild boar curry, another rarity in the pub world. These myths had been perpetuated, fittingly, on the World Wide Web and by word of mouth, and we were eager to find out whether this bar could indeed live up to the kudos they had been receiving.
Getting to the bar itself was easy enough. Just off the Sprint highway and at the fringe of Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Online Bar is located on a discreet row of shophouses. Inside, all the details scream ‘bar’ – music posters, neon signs advertising beer companies, a pool table and an area for the band – but our thoughts weren’t really on interior design. We were hell-bent on our mission to uncover the urban myths shrouding this neighbourhood bar, and we found out within seconds of our arsenal of bar food and drinks arriving that everything everyone had said was indeed true. The Guinness was a perfect pint, patiently poured at a lengthy 90 seconds, the beer cold and crisp, but it was what came out of the kitchen that really blew us away; wild boar curry, Hokkien mee and devil on a demon’s back (their version of pigs in blankets) that tasted spectacular and surmised that this was a pub that had its priorities right.
Putting emphasis on the food here does seem antithetical to the very fact they’ve got a booze license, but trust us when we say nothing tastes better with a cold pint of beer than a good curry. But you won’t just be coming here for a tipple and a meal anyway. This place is well-known for its live music, provided nightly (you heard us right) by alternating bands and musicians. And they’re not bad either. The night we visited (a Monday), a trio played classic rock covers with gusto and when we were asked to challenge them with a song request, our new writer throws Bob Dylan’s ‘All Along the Watchtower’ across the table and without even so much as cueing each other, the band springs right into a brilliant rendition. This made us almost take a whole minute’s breather from the pork vindaloo that had arrived at our table – by no means an easy feat.
We learned that Online Bar is a grand ole dame in terms of our city’s watering holes. They turn 23 this year, and not a lot has changed since its early days although they now have a second outlet in SS4. The bar is manned by two brothers (Colin and Lawrence) from the four that opened this place, and it’s original in its own subtle way. The term ‘online’, by the way, wasn’t a prophecy of Tim Berners- Lee’s creation sweeping the globe, but an homage to the owners’ dad, who worked in the railway industry.
Doth family, curries and cold beer make a great small bar? Yes, siree. It’s one of the original neighbourhood pubs and don’t you dare enter without ordering a frothy pint and their phenomenal curries. Rachel Jena
Read our full review of the food at Online Bar.
|Venue name:||Online Bar||Contact:|
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri, 5pm-1am; Sat, 7pm-1am|