These pubs might not be the hippest places to be, but they offer a reliable and unpretentious night out with live music we could all sing along to.
There are currently two Tom, Dick & Harry’s (TDH) Live outlets – one in Pavilion KL and the other in Oasis Square. Co-founders Ernest Ong, Collin Soh and Bruce Wong created TDH Live out of their passion for live music and it now serves as a platform for many budding and amateur performers to showcase their talents in front of a live crowd. Despite its accessibility for lesser-known artists, some big names have graced the stage here too including Zainal Abidin, Ning Baizura and Jaclyn Victor.
Each venue features different genres – the Pavilion outlet champions pop and modern chart-toppers, while you’ll find more rock music at the branch over at Oasis Square. Being the popular neighbourhood pubs that they are, F&B offerings are similar to its original TTDI outlet – fashionable cocktails, draught beers and wines alongside regular pub staples such as pigs in blankets, fried chicken wings, meat pies and more. Performances usually start at around 6pm so your dinner at TDH Live is almost always accompanied by music.
Backyard in Sri Hartamas is what many kids these days would call an ‘uncle bar’ – testosterone-filled, sports merchandise plastered on the wall, and covers of classic rock being performed on stage. Strangely enough, those are the elements that have made Backyard one of the most reliable neighbourhood bars in Sri Hartamas for the past 30-odd years. The music is played by genuinely good musicians (check out Arumugam Goes to Alabama, a classic rock band with veena instrumentals that plays on Tuesdays), the pub grub is delicious (think favourites like pigs in blankets, burgers and fries; but their specialty is the spicy nasi goreng kambing), and the drink promos are cheap – six shots of tequila for RM60 cheap.
This long-standing pub has been around since 1989, and was originally run by the four Balachandran brothers. Today Colin, one of the four original founders, remains the only one running the joint. The pub’s name pays homage to Colin’s father who used to work at the railways; and ‘on line’ was a term used to signify a train that’s on the move. Food and drink options here are typical fare that you’d find in pubs – like beer and bar snacks like pigs in blankets – but the main attraction is its live music stage. Regarded as the ‘temple of rock’ by Colin himself, On Line Pub champions ’60s to ’70s rock thanks to the brothers’ love for the genre. Over the years, the pub has seen many musicians take the stage – some have become regulars such as rock group Blast Jamz and soloist Shahril, who has been performing here for 25 years. Regular performances are held on Saturdays and Mondays while occasional walkin performers do make an appearance on other days; the music and community here are what people come for. Don’t be surprised if you see Colin jumping on stage with his harmonica.
Founded in 1996, Waikiki Bar used to be the go-to spot for party-goers when other places had closed for the night. Nowadays they’re only open at regular hours, but the fun never left. Staying true to its name, Waikiki adopts the stereotypical Hawaiian bar aesthetic, with a tiki bar design, rattan furniture and fairy lights. You also get a great view of the PJ Palms Sports Centre’s pool from the balcony. The real attraction here though is the live bands – Waikiki hosts a different act for each night of the week, and you can expect great cover bands that cover songs ranging from classic rock to contemporary pop.
Beer with a side of music sounds like a good night out. At Taps, performances begin after 9.30pm every Thursday to Saturday with no cover charge. Varying between the Changkat and Desa ParkCity outlets, the usual line-up includes artists like Richard Lim and Mark Valerio, Acoustica and more. Covering a range of genres from pop, R&B and everything in between, there’ll be something for everyone.