Rooftop bars, speakeasies and the best places to party. Here are the best bars and clubs in KL to blow off some steam.
Best for a classy night out
The bar is strikingly beautiful, resembling a high-end New York loft. But most importantly, it’s classy without pretention. The detailing of the place is impeccable: the soft lighting, the muted colours, the houndstooth chairs, the expensive couches and the comfortable seating all create a very metropolitan mood.
Best for guys' night out
Finding Mr Brooks is a bit of a treasure hunt – look out for a purple Sunbeam Alpine car on Bangsar Shopping Centre’s third floor. Primarily a gin and cocktail bar, this speakeasy sports the ambience of a conventional British gentlemen’s club in the 1920s, but the decor is sleek and modern, boasting a bicycle installation that functions as wall lights.
Best for the view and atmosphere
Fuego’s clincher is undoubtedly the space in which it sits. The sky-high floor of a KL building never before provided a view of the Towers as resplendent as this one – whether at sunset or after hours, the view is a sparkling panorama. Meanwhile, none of the grandiosity of Cantaloupe or Claret Wine Bar is present at Fuego; it’s a wildcard Troika Sky Dining project for the everyman. For proof, soak in the eclectic Talavera-style tiles, breezy alfresco vibe and casual canteen-style benches on a weeknight.
Best for affordable, after work drinks
With that many versions of a mojito on the menu, there is a danger of you not making it as far as the food menu. That would be a mistake. The curiously named Whipped Into Place exudes Bangsar coolness and to top it off the food is excellent too (and not crazily expensive either). The fish and chips come highly recommended.
Best for inventive bar bites
Pisco is Spanish, but not quintessentially. It’s a marriage of Spanish hot bloodedness and the poised, chic ambience that we’ve come to expect in a good bar. Drinks-wise, they don’t seem hard pressed to compete with their flashier neighbours. You won’t be overwhelmed with choice; they serve a trim yet inclusive selection of beers, liqueurs, wine and cocktails. The fusion food, heavy on seafood and pork, is influenced by the chef’s Peruvian/Japanese background, and that’s quite a rare find in KL’s bars. We’d say that the star has to be the ceviches, which are raw seafood marinated in lime juice, onions and chilli peppers.
Best for good parties
Nagaba is a multi-space venue with something for everyone. On the ground floor, you have a beautifully designed air-conditioned space – a legacy from the venue’s previous incarnation as The Establishment bar (the side mural of Amy Winehouse, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe is still there). Essentially a lounge, the lofty, industrial chic vibe is elevated with clusters of handsome leather sofas reminiscent of a worldly gentleman’s study.
Best for the view
Exactly what the name implies – a place to sip cocktails in the sky. The open air lounge allows guests to sprawl against the backdrop of the gleaming Twin Towers as they feast on the addictive drinks and bar snacks. The uber-modern design of large sunken alcoves, windows and tables around the pool never fails to impress.
Best for cocktails and privacy
The latest brainchild from Benjamin Yong is inspired by the roaring ’20s, or more specifically the Prohibition period in the US when the manufacture, sale and transportation of liquor and intoxicating substances were made illegal. But that’s not to say people were sober then. Far from it, private bars were set up where prominent patrons could safely enjoy a drink, and it is this intimate and understated environment that Tate aims to recreate. The entire space is classy and elegant, all decked out in solid wood, leather and crystal cut glass, much like an affluent gentlemen’s club.
Best for impressing visitors
Perched on the 57th floor of Petronas 3 Tower, the views here are spectacular – so spectacular that drinking is almost an after-thought. If you drink, order one of the cocktails made by famed mixologist Rizal Junior. Otherwise, the views are really the gist here. An Italian restaurant and cigar lounge are also fitted in Marini's, making it a one-stop choice for swanky tourists and post-work urbanites.
KL's iconic superclub has left its 11-year-old Jalan Ampang address to move into its shiny new RM38-million home. The new Zouk comprises several clubs, a VIP bar lounge, member's lounge, café and rooftop deck, with adequate parking facilities, private lifts, VIP concierge, various function rooms, a medical bay and more. There's even a dedicated lane for tourists.