The results for Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2018 are in and KL has not one, but two bars in the list: JungleBird, which came in at 38th place, and Coley, at 46th. Announced at the Capitol Theatre, Singapore on May 3, the third edition of the awards was topped by Manhattan in Singapore for second year running, followed by Indulge Experimental Bistro in Taipei and Speak Low in Shanghai. One prominent KL bar that was missing, however, was Omakase + Appreciate, which was the only Malaysian bar in the list prior to this year's, landing the tenth spot in 2016 and 41st in 2017.
That blip aside, it's a big step forward for the Malaysian bar scene. JungleBird, which opened in 2017, is co-owned by world champion mixologist Joshua Ivanovic and international bartender Divyesh Chauhan (aka Divy), and under their guidance has gone on to become one of the go-to places for rum and rum cocktails (especially the KL-born Jungle Bird).
Coley, on the other hand, is known for its friendly vibes and list of ‘koktel’ drinks that use familiar local ingredients like asam boi, air mata kuching, barley water and coconut water in affordable RM25 cocktails. The man behind Coley is CK Kho, who’s known as one of the nicest bartenders in town, and also the bartender-owner of Pahit, which won our Critics’ Choice award in last year’s Time Out KL Food and Drink Awards. As a sign of its growing popularity, the bar recently moved out of its first home behind DR.Inc into its own space just a few lots down the road.
The next time you’re in either of these bars, be sure to give them a big clap on the back for their wins!