KL’s most talked about bar at the moment is also the city’s scariest – or at least tries to be. Walking past The Deceased’s front door to head to the rooftop bar feels like going through a House of Horrors made by college students – audio recordings of ghostly whispers and groans play on loop, while on either side of the staircase are crimson-streaked walls, scrolls and an altar adorned with a black-and-white photo of a presumably dead woman – or a Willow-filtered Instagram selfie.
But that isn’t the most intimidating part of coming here; that belongs to the reservation process, which requires you to book a seat via Facebook – preferably days, even weeks, in advance if you’re looking to come in on Friday or Saturday. No walk-ins are allowed, as you’d need a six-digit access code given only when your reservation is confirmed by an unnamed social media administrator. Spooky.
The bar, which is part of Mingle Hostel, has a convivial atmosphere that betrays the eerie façade – the leafy alfresco bar is decked out with communal tables that encourage socialising, while speakers play what sounds like a Spotify playlist inspired by Cigarettes After Sex and The xx. Behind the main bar is a large apothecary shelf stocked with a number of cocktail ingredients – reflecting the shop’s history as a Chinese drugstore – while the bar top prominently displays large glass jars filled with gin and vodka infusions.
Like a cheesy teen-horror flick, the drinks threaten to scare, but are made to please as much as possible. One such signature drink is the Petty Person Beating (RM38), which is served on a tray complete with a lit joss stick and scroll containing a curse for your enemies. The drink itself isn’t as bitter as the curse hints at: made from tuak, gin, fresh lime juice, kumquat and tonic water, it’s more like a gin sour that’s made rounder and fuller with the addition of tuak.
Another house special is I Know What You Did Last Summer (RM40), a bubblegum-sweet cocktail made from vodka, fresh lemon juice, strawberry purée and soda that’s served with a cinnamon stick-smoking mask and a popping balloon on the side. Theatrics aside, this is an uncomplicated drink that would please the sweet tooths who like a strong kick of vodka. Those who want something a little more complex should opt for the Tea of Oblivion (RM38), where passion fruit, fresh lemon juice and soda water combine to create a drink that starts off fresh and bright, while the base spirit of black-tea infused gin provides a pleasant and mild finish. All in all, if you’re looking for a bit of kitschy fun to perk up your weekend nights, The Deceased is a fine place to start – provided, of course, if you can figure out how to get past the front door.