Music & Nightlife

Your guide to the best bars and clubs, live music, concerts and DJ gigs in KL

The best barrel-aged cocktails in KL
Bars and pubs

The best barrel-aged cocktails in KL

How do you make cocktails even better than they already are? By ageing them in wood barrels for several weeks, the process soften harsh edges and adds layers of flavour you wouldn't find in ordinary coktails.

Interview: The Otherside Orchestra
Music

Interview: The Otherside Orchestra

The Otherside Orchestra first made a name for themselves for being one of the first few bands that jump-started the indiewave that hit our city in the mid-2000s. Alongside other bands like Hujan, Meet Uncle Hussain and Komplot, The Otherside Orchestra spawned a movement best known for its synthesizers, lo-fi guitars and skinny jeans. A lot has changed since The Otherside Orchestra released their debut album ‘ElectRomanceTacy’ in 2007 – the indie movement that dominated the music scene has shrunk significantly; their lead singer Izwin left the band to start a family; and a former reality TV star was elected President of the United States. But change isn’t always bad; last year they added Syima to the band as their new vocalist and in April, they released their second album after ten years, ‘Disco Chemist’. We talked to Syima and founding member and lead guitarist Wan about the indie scene back then, their new album and more. Photo: All Is Amazing How would you describe your music? Syima Electro, electronic danceable rock ’n’ roll. Wan For me, we’ve always been dance-able rock ’n’ roll. I don’t think there’s an actual genre for our music. We just want people to have fun. I don’t go to gigs to be depressed, I want people to dance and have fun. This is your first album in ten years. Are you still making the same music that you did in 2007? W We’ve added some contemporary elements to it, but we’re still doing what we do best. We’re still making disco and dance-able rock ’n’

Now open: Pahit
Bars and pubs

Now open: Pahit

Taking over Barlai’s old spot at Sekeping Sin Chew Kee is Pahit, the latest specialist bar to open in KL. Run by CK – the brains behind popular Bangsar watering hole Coley – Pahit specialises in all things gin, from gin-based cocktails to the classic gin and tonics.

Good Vibes Festival
Music

Good Vibes Festival

This year, Good Vibes Festival returns to The Ranch at Genting Highlands. The international acts that have been announced so far include Phoenix, G-Eazy, Kodaline, Shura, The Kooks and more. On the local front, artists such as Najwa, RYÖT JONES, alextbh, Jaggfuzzbeats and Killeur Calculateur are scheduled to perform. Tickets go on sale Friday May 5.

Best live music venues in KL
Music

Best live music venues in KL

Indie rock, acoustic folk, jazz – think you can’t find them in KL? These top live music venues play all that and more.

New bars in KL

Pahit
Bars and pubs

Pahit

Taking over Barlai’s old spot at Sekeping Sin Chew Kee is Pahit, the latest specialist bar to open in KL. Run by CK – the brains behind popular Bangsar watering hole Coley – Pahit specialises in all things gin, from gin-based cocktails to the classic gin and tonics. The bar is hidden between two busy roads – Jalan Hang Jebat and Jalan Pudu – notorious for their never-ending traffic jams, a place one would never expect such a calm and quiet bar to exist. It’s located along a quiet row of old houses which date back to the 1920s; this location along with a small courtyard decked out with rattan chairs and short tables provide a quaintly charm; a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of the city without having to travel too far. Perfect for after-work drinks. If you’re a fan of gin, you might have a tough time deciding which gin to choose. The menu boasts an impressive list of gins from all over the world. For beginners who might find gin slightly too bitter, we recommend one of the fruit-infused G&Ts; the lychee and ginger flower version in particular. The lychee gives the drink a refreshing sweetness, which is balanced wonderfully with the spice of the ginger flower. For cocktails, go for the house specialty, Gin Pahit #2 – the bar’s take of the classic cocktail Pink Gin. It’s a mix of London dry gin, orange bitters, lime and their own homemade falernum syrup, resulting in a bitter cocktail similar to the original, but with a hint of sweetness to make it more palatable for

MAZE
Bars and pubs

MAZE

MAZE is the latest addition to KL’s long list of specialist bars. What distinguishes MAZE from the rest is that they are probably the only gin bar on that list. Recently opened in Menara Lien Ho in Tropicana, they aren’t just a gin bar, but a coffee saloon too – they serve coffee in the day and switch to gin when night falls. The opulent decor is reminiscent of a Hollywood set of a mob boss’ mansion, which makes for an interesting setting to have coffee with friends. At night, the place transforms into a lounge by way of dim lights and loud music while the tall red drapes give a bit of a seedy French cabaret feel to the space. The highlight of MAZE is the selection of gin they have on offer. They boast a collection of over 150 imported craft gins – probably the largest in the country. If you’re new to gin, you should know that cucumber isn’t the only garnish to pair your gin and tonic with. Here, you can purchase the services of a ‘gin sum’ cart (similar to a dim sum cart) where you can test your gin and tonic with all sorts of fresh garnish like blackberry, watermelon and many more. Apart from that, the gin-based cocktails here are good. We particularly enjoyed ‘The Reviver’ – a refreshing and smooth fruity cocktail made up of Gordon’s gin, homemade elderflower syrup, lime juice and sugar syrup. If you have room for dessert (always make room for dessert), try the lychee watermelon cake. Inspired by the famous Sydney bakery Black Star Pastry, MAZE’s version of the cake is

JungleBird
Bars and pubs

JungleBird

You might notice the growing number of specialist bars around KL, from whiskey to wine. However, one that you won’t see many of is a rum bar. Recently opened in Bukit Damansara, Jungle Bird claims to be a ‘Rumah Rum’. Its design is unique in that it didn’t adopt the clichéd tiki bar blueprint often associated with rum. Instead, Jungle Bird, like its namesake cocktail, stays true to its Malaysian roots. The interior is decorated with bamboo stilts and rattan furniture, while the wallpaper carries a leafy motif, giving the place a familiar tropical and resort vibe. What you come here for is obvious – the Jungle Bird cocktail. Here’s a free history lesson (you’re welcome): In the 1970s, the Jungle Bird was invented at the Aviary Bar in the old Hilton KL (when it was located at Jalan Sultan Ismail). The version here offers a refreshing respite from our city’s heat. It also looks like an actual jungle bird, with pineapple leaves sticking out of the glass. If you’re not a fan of fancy cocktails, we recommend the Rum Old Fashioned – the cocktail makes use of house-made chocolate cardamom bitters, which imparts the cocktail with a slight spiciness. Jungle Bird doesn’t have a kitchen so it doesn’t serve food. But you’re more than welcome to bring your own if you want to have a meal with your cocktail.

Brussels Beer Café Tropicana City Mall
Bars and pubs

Brussels Beer Café Tropicana City Mall

Ever since opening their first branch in Jaya One almost nine years ago, Brussels Beer Café has gone on to open multiple outlets all over the country. Their latest opening in Tropicana City Mall doesn’t stray far from their usual script of serving up good and reliable Belgian food and Belgian beer. However, this outlet offers a slight change of scenery compared to the other branches – the hardwood flooring and lots of natural light from the floor-to-ceiling windows give the space a relaxed and modern ambience; the other outlets have a more European pub vibe. You won’t be disappointed with the selection of European beers here. In fact, they pride themselves on it. There are premium Belgian beers like Hoegaarden, Stella Artois and Leffe on tap, and there are also bottled drinks from various countries (think Scottish stout, Irish cider and more). For food, we recommend their mussel pots – each pot gets you about 500 grams of mussels. The mussels are imported from the Netherlands every week so you know they’re fresh, and they’re served three ways – steamed with white wine; steamed with Hoegaarden; or cooked with bacon, sundried tomatoes and wine. If you want something more filling, go for the Brussels pork burger. The pork patties are prepared Belgian style and are as soft as they come.

Latest music interviews

The Otherside Orchestra
Music

The Otherside Orchestra

The Otherside Orchestra first made a name for themselves for being one of the first few bands that jump-started the indiewave that hit our city in the mid-2000s. Alongside other bands like Hujan, Meet Uncle Hussain and Komplot, The Otherside Orchestra spawned a movement best known for its synthesizers, lo-fi guitars and skinny jeans. A lot has changed since The Otherside Orchestra released their debut album ‘ElectRomanceTacy’ in 2007 – the indie movement that dominated the music scene has shrunk significantly; their lead singer Izwin left the band to start a family; and a former reality TV star was elected President of the United States. But change isn’t always bad; last year they added Syima to the band as their new vocalist and in April, they released their second album after ten years, ‘Disco Chemist’. We talked to Syima and founding member and lead guitarist Wan about the indie scene back then, their new album and more. Photo: All Is Amazing How would you describe your music? Syima Electro, electronic danceable rock ’n’ roll. Wan For me, we’ve always been dance-able rock ’n’ roll. I don’t think there’s an actual genre for our music. We just want people to have fun. I don’t go to gigs to be depressed, I want people to dance and have fun. This is your first album in ten years. Are you still making the same music that you did in 2007? W We’ve added some contemporary elements to it, but we’re still doing what we do best. We’re still making disco and dance-able rock ’n’

Mew
Music

Mew

Fresh off the release of their latest album ‘Visuals’, Mew bassist Johan Wohlert talks to us about their new album, their influences and more. A lot of publications have different names for the music you guys put out. How would you describe your music? I’d call it ‘art rock’ in a way. The music we put out is sort of artistic. I also think it’s atmospheric, melodic and a little bit melancholic as well. Your latest album, ‘Visuals’ will be released by the time you come to KL. What can we expect from this album? Actually it’s close to what I just said. Expect something that’s really artistic, melodic and a little melancholic but also very positive. The tempo is very upbeat and there are a lot of really strong melodies and good choruses. How different is the album compared to the last one, ‘+-’? The big difference is that here, the mood is a little lighter and the songs a bit shorter.Photo: Stefan "Stisse" Gustafsson Is there a particular reason why your latest album is called ‘Visuals’? We’ve always used visuals in our live shows. Also, I think it just kind of makes sense this time around because we really want to tie in the art work and the title of the album with the live experience; it’s always been two separate things. This time around, it was time to merge the two worlds. We’ll be performing with a lot of visuals at the KL show. Apart from that, our music also has been described as very visual too; it’s very soundtrack-y and soundscape-y. What was the process like in m

Cigarettes After Sex
Music

Cigarettes After Sex

If you haven’t already heard of indie band Cigarettes After Sex, that means you aren’t one of the 50 million viewers on YouTube for their song ‘Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby’. Lead singer Greg Gonzalez tells us about his newfound fame, his new self-titled LP and his love for stairways. Cigarettes After Sex started gaining attention last year despite having only released an EP way back in 2012. How do you feel about this new found attention you’ve been getting? I’m extremely grateful for it. That’s what I’ve wanted for the longest time. I’ve been working on music for years and years, to have something that mattered to anybody is unheard of to me. It’s been a great surprise and I’m really thankful for it. Why do you think people reacted to your EP late? I’m not really sure. We put out the record and it didn’t really do anything at first. I had friends who didn’t even like it – they thought it was really slow. But deep down I knew it was really good. I think people like it because it’s just an honest record. The EP came from a lot pain actually. It came out of a really bad time, like heartbreak, losing friends and all that. So maybe there was some sort of depth and emotion and honesty that people react to and people like. In your first EP, you recorded the song ‘Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby’ in a stairway at your alma mater, University of Texas. Are there any songs on the upcoming LP where you recorded in an interesting place? I actually did another stairway [laughs]. Actual

Yellow Fang
Music

Yellow Fang

Yellow Fang loves you, trust us, they do. If you need proof, check out their merch and social media handles. The Thai all-girl band – consisting of Pang on guitar and lead vocals, Praewa on drums, and Pym on bass – has been around for about ten years and is still going on strong. The girls have played in various music festivals all over Asia including Tokyo’s Summer Sonic, Pattaya’s Wonderfruit and Malaysia’s own Cross Border hosted by The Wknd. They’ll be back in town for Urbanscapes and leading up to that, we had a short chat with them about girl power, the next greatest, and The Powerpuff Girls. Hi guys! So excited to have you back! Anything interesting happened the last time you were here in KL? Hellooo from Yellow Fang! We're so excited to be going to KL, as always. We love travelling and meeting friends along the way while touring. Last time we were in KL, we had a lot of fun despite our short stay. We think we slept more on the van travelling than on the bed (commuting between KL and JB). Shout-out to our driver Mark, he had good music going all the way. We look forward to eating sessions after the show; after hours food places always have character. Night-time experiences while touring are often the best. How’s the scene like in Bangkok these days? Has a lot changed since you first started out? The difference is that there are more festivals and more creative spaces that have started to organise gigs. We see more varieties of genres emerging, bringing with them th

Introducing...

HOAX Vision
Music

HOAX Vision

‘We're a cult!’ says Naufal Anwa, one of the co-founders of HOAX Vision. If you’ve ever been to any of their shows, you’d start thinking that was true too. At their last show in July 2016, ‘#HOAX 005’ at TREC’s Arte Bar, bouncers were forced to turn people away at the door because the place had reached capacity. Upstairs at Arte Bar, everyone was sweating profusely from the collective body heat of several hundred people packed onto a small dance floor. Despite all that, everyone was dancing and singing along whenever a HOAX artist took the mic. Many of them at the time didn’t have radio hits, only songs on the internet. But somehow, everyone knew the all the words to their songs. Maybe they are a cult. From the beginning HOAX Vision was founded by two friends, Farhan Fauzi and Naufal Anwa. While both young and rebellious, they aren’t exactly leading the rapstar lifestyle you’d expect. Farhan, 21, who raps under the moniker Bastard, is currently in Berlin, doing a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Naufal, 22, is a regular name in the KL DJ circuit and is currently finishing his degree in Economics at the International Islamic University Malaysia. They forged a friendship through Twitter two years before starting HOAX. Apart from bonding over sneakers and streetwear, Farhan caught Naufal’s attention with his rants and observations about the Malaysian music scene. ‘I was really loud on Twitter and talked a lot of shit there. I had a lot of bitterness about how thi

Lurkgurl
Music

Lurkgurl

Singer-songwriter Lurkgurl likes skateboarding, Frankie Cosmos, and being alone – among other things

Jaggfuzzbeats
Music

Jaggfuzzbeats

Get to know Shah Alam rock duo Jaggfuzzbeats

alextbh
Music

alextbh

Meet young, honest Alex and his electronic-meets-R&B sadboi tunes

See more introductions to artists in KL

KL's best music and nightlife

The best karaoke joints in KL
Nightlife

The best karaoke joints in KL

KL is a karaoke paradise (geddit?), but how good is their sound system, the food, and most importantly, the variety of Queen songs we can sing endlessly to? We rank the city’s best in our list. If you need ideas on the best karaoke-friendly songs to sing, see our list of the 50 best karaoke songs. 

The best bars for gin in KL
Bars and pubs

The best bars for gin in KL

In case you didn't know, there's a rising gin obsession in town. Join the gin revival and head to the city's best bars for a gin and tonic, including fancy upgrades.

The best clubs for dancing in KL
Nightlife

The best clubs for dancing in KL

Looking for a fun night out dancing? Check out the best clubs, rooftop party decks and underground DJ dens to bust out those slick moves without shame. If you prefer to sing and dance in a private room (with only your friends as an audience), see our list of the best karaoke joints in town, and be sure to sing along to our 50 best karaoke songs. 

The best bars in KL
Bars and pubs

The best bars in KL

Get into the spirit of KL’s vibrant nightlife scene as we round up the best bars for every occasion, including where to drink in the city’s prettiest sights.

The best live music venues in KL
Music

The best live music venues in KL

Indie rock, acoustic folk, jazz – think you can’t find them in KL? These top ten live music venues play all that and more.

The best bars and clubs in KL
Nightlife

The best bars and clubs in KL

Rooftop bars, speakeasies and the best places to party. Here are the best bars and clubs in KL to blow off some steam.