With a centuries-long history that involves drunken sailors, sugar-cane labourers and uni students getting toasted on two-for-one daiquiri nights, rum has come to be regarded as little more than a party drink or mixing spirit. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having a daiquiri, but if that’s all you’re willing to drink, you’ll be missing out on one of the world's most versatile and underappreciated spirits.
Enter The Rum Bar KL, the latest specialty bar that stocks over 250 labels of rum from across the globe – the largest collection in the city; more than double the number stocked by JungleBird, KL’s other specialist rum bar. Owned by The Werner’s Group, which also operates The Whisky Bar, El Cerdo and Opium KL, the Changkat-based bar aims to elevate the rum’s rough-and-tumble image by presenting them in an elegant and classy setting, complete with premium cigars, lounge chairs and limited-edition rums proudly displayed in glass cabinets (if you have to ask, you can’t afford it). However, as you walk further into the space, what commands your view are the shelves filled with their impressive collection of rum.
Browsing through the extensive menu, however, can be an intimidating experience for the first timer. While the menu sorts out the rums alphabetically and geographically, you’re better off asking the bartender, who’ll recommend you a few types according to your preference for strong, dry or fruity rums.
Alternatively, you can choose to go with the For The Virgins flight comprising a half-ounce (15ml) sample of Plantation 3 Stars, Mount Gay Eclipse, Angostura 7 Years, Kraken Spiced Rum and Myers’s Rum – a good introduction to anyone whose previous experience was limited to Bacardi or Havana Club. For those more acquainted with finer rums, you’ll be glad to see every notable brand stocked behind the bar: Angostura, Appleton, Ron Zacapa, Diplomatico, Pyrat, Plantation, Matusalem, El Dorado – you name it, and chances are they’ll have it. Apart from the familiar Caribbean rums, there are also a few non-conventional rums from New Zealand, Japan and Thailand.
Rums ordered by the shot will be served with ice and a choice of Fever-Tree Cola or Ginger Ale on the side, allowing you to mix the drink to your liking. If shots don’t sound appealing, you can order from a range of rum ciders (made with Strongbow ciders; RM30 per glass) or classic rum-based cocktails like the daiquiri, Mai Tai and caipirinha.
The food menu here is limited but noteworthy. Comprising a selection of six small plates, six main dishes and two appetisers that changes every fortnight, the menu is driven by Borneo-sourced ingredients like tuhau (wild ginger from Sabah), Bario rice, barley and salt, as well as Sarawak pepper. Its debut menu featured the light and fresh The Rum Oyster Shot (Bacardi, calamansi sorbet and Bario salt) appetiser, while the savoury Bone Marrow Butter toast will get anyone in the mood for more drinks. The selection of mains features grilled meats and seafood, including ibérico pork sausage, spring chicken, Sabah king prawns and Angus tenderloin tip – all made with the experience brought forward from Werner’s other F&B outlets. Seafood dishes are served with sides of Bario barley risotto, ulam béchamel and Sabah lobster, and the meat dishes are served with bario rice and mani chai pancake and black pepper burnt onion sauce.
|Venue name:||The Rum Bar KL|
47 Changkat Bukit Bintang
|Opening hours:||Sun-Thu, 4pm-1am; Fri-Sat, 4pm-3am|