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Photograph: Reka:Bar

Reka:Bar champions sustainability as KL’s Bar of Tomorrow winner

From highlighting Malaysian ingredients to its innovative approach to waste management, Reka:Bar showcases what it means to be a Bar of Tomorrow

Time Out Kuala Lumpur in partnership with Pernod Ricard

In Kuala Lumpur’s bustling cocktail scene, Reka:Bar stands out as a shining beacon of eco-consciousness. It blends innovative cocktails made proudly with Malaysian ingredients with a steadfast commitment to sustainability and paves the way forward for the future of KL’s bar scene.

It’s this balance that has earned Reka:Bar the title of Time Out KL’s first Bar of Tomorrow. Created in partnership with The Bar World of Tomorrow, the Bar of Tomorrow Award celebrates the bar in the city that is leading the charge towards sustainability and striving to raise the standards of the industry.

Dedicated to creating a new and inclusive bar culture, The Bar World of Tomorrow is a worldwide movement that supports the shift towards a more sustainable and responsible bartending community. It is a collaborative effort between Pernod Ricard, Trash Collective, and the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

Time Out has identified four outstanding bars that are making a positive environmental impact. These nominees were then evaluated the Sustainable Restaurant Association, which has then independently crowned Reka:Bar as the Bar of Tomorrow based on criteria such as waste management, mindful product sourcing, employee well-being and fair salary practices.

Here’s a closer look at why Reka:Bar is Time Out KL’s Bar of Tomorrow 2023.

KL's Bar of Tomorrow

  • Bars and pubs

Reka:Bar impressed the judges at the Sustainable Restaurants Association with its clear commitment to sustainability throughout all aspects of the business. Here's what the SRA had to say about why Reka:Bar was selected out of the four nominees.

Reka:Bar demonstrated a breadth of sustainability efforts – from plastic and energy reduction to staff wellbeing and paid days off – but the level of visibility it has over its supply chain and its ‘Domino Effect’ food waste campaign is what truly sets Reka:Bar apart.”

What stood out to the judges was Reka:Bar’s exceptional knowledge over its ingredient origins, from the farming methods used to even the way produce is transported. It makes an active effort to source from responsible farms and proudly features local ingredients.

Reka:Bar doesn’t just champion Malaysian ingredients and producers, it makes sure these flavours shine in its cocktail menus that change with the seasons. Each menu reads like a themed album where bartenders remix and riff on classic cocktails to create freshly minted hits. Its signature ‘Domino Effect’ menu, however, functions like a circular menu, both conceptually and literally.

Here, every main ingredient in one drink is reused as a garnish in the next drink, leading to a cascading chain reaction of flavours. For example, in the cocktail Mari Berangan, local Berangan bananas are used for flavour while their peels are used as the garnish for the next drink, Gentian Glory. This approach to sustainability also applies to the kitchen where a delicious jackfruit seed pakora is made with the seeds of the jackfruit used in another cocktail.

“First and foremost, our creations need to be delicious and resonate with our guests," shares the Reka:Bar team. "The magic happens when we present guests with a delightful, no-compromise experience rooted in sustainability at its core.”

Reka:Bar dishes out some fantastic cocktails, like the “Dusun 2.0”, which contains everything from tempoyak (fermented durian) and jackfruit soy milk to a chilli padi distillate. Turn the wheel, work your way down the ‘Domino Effect’ menu, and it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll find a drink that speaks to you. 

Sustainability extends beyond the cocktails too and appears central to all decision-making. The bar itself is designed and fitted out to limit energy use – with LED lighting and added insulation to reduce energy consumption. Reka:Bar notes that it routinely transforms spent wine and leftovers from bar guest shifts into various fermentations and fortified distillations. It practices a no single-serve plastic policy and tries to encourage vendors to deliver products in reusable containers. 

Ultimately we believe that with a little creativity and effort, the practice of sustainability in the bar world can be great for the planet, for the guests, and for the business all at once,” says the Reka:Bar team.

Reka:Bar continues to forge a way ahead, heralding Kuala Lumpur’s bar scene into headier heights for sustainable mixology. Experimental and revolutionary, it sets a high benchmark for others to follow, and we are proud to honour them as Time Out KL’s first Bar of Tomorrow.

The Bar World of Tomorrow

By adopting eco-conscious methodologies, we have the opportunity to revolutionise the future of mixology. Embracing sustainability will not only enhance the guest experience but also attract an ever-growing community of conscious consumers who appreciate the art of the cocktail with a clear conscience.

Inspired to embark on your own sustainable journey? Look no further than the Bar World of Tomorrow. This visionary initiative aims to empower 10,000 bartenders by 2023, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to craft exceptional cocktails while nurturing a more sustainable planet. Through this comprehensive program, participants gain invaluable insights, practical expertise, and a deep understanding of sustainability, fostering a new era of eco-conscious mixologists.

Let us raise our glasses to Reka:Bar, the epitome of the Bar of Tomorrow. May its unwavering dedication to sustainability serve as a catalyst for change, inspiring the global bar community to reimagine the future of mixology, one environmentally friendly libation at a time.


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