101 things to do in KL: Music and Nightlife

Where to go for music and nightlife

By Time Out KL editors

Party at a helipad, catch a live gig or hang out at super cool speakeasy bars. Here's our list of the best music and nightlife experiences in KL.

1. Catch the PJ skyline at Stratosphere

Nightlife Bandar Utama

The Roof opened to much fanfare last year, when it quickly became one of the city’s most exciting openings. This nightlife hub in PJ houses five outlets all under one roof – the only one of its kind in town. The best part is definitely Stratosphere. It’s the first and only bar on top of an infinity, grassed helipad in Asia. Needless to say, the views are spectacular.

2. Find the secret entrance to Tate and Omakase + Appreciate

Bars and pubs KL City Centre

Hush, don't tell anyone about these super cool speakeasy bars. We're not telling you how to locate the door, because it's all part of the fun. Once you get into Tate, the stylish, masculine design will put you right at home – for our money, Tate makes the best martini in town. At Omakase + Appreciate, indulge in the cocktails served by award-winning mixologists, Shawn Cheong and Karl Too. Since they practise a ‘omakase’ format, which means ‘I'll leave it to you’ in Japanese, the mixologists are more than happy to tailor-make a cocktail for you.


3. Sing-off at KL's best karaoke joints

Nightlife Bukit Bintang

You'll be able to find both KTVs (establishments with private rooms) and 'karaoke jambans' (claustrophobia-inducing cubicles with single karaoke machines) scattered all over KL, but avoid the latter unless you're dead broke. Choose wisely; they all vary in price, song selection and language.

4. Drink in the view at SkyBar

Nightlife Nightlife venues KL City Centre

So many nights have started and ended at SkyBar. And we're not complaining. It has the perfect combination: lip-smacking cocktails, spectacular views of the KL skyline and a posh environment that is far from snotty. Sometimes you can even dance a little when the DJ churns out groovy beats.


5. Hang with the musicians at gig central The Bee

Restaurants Solaris Dutamas

The Bee Publika has had a top-notch roster of local and international acts passing through it over the past year, with many more promised. If there's a gig, fight your way to the front of the crowd for some true musical magic. If it's an event-free night, just chill out with the hipsters and soak in the cool atmosphere. Their regular BBQ Sundays are usually live-soundtracked by Twilight Action Girl, and there's a rotating calendar of swap-meets, classes, courses and pet-friendly events.

6. Escape Changkat's hustle-bustle with some intimate jazz at No Black Tie

Music Bukit Bintang

Amidst the mayhem of Changkat Bukit Bintang is the little jazz club that could. No Black Tie's cosy wood-accented stage area is whimsically hidden behind an imposing wooden door at the rear of the bar. It's always a classy affair at No Black Tie, where elegantly dressed regulars and music lovers gather for intimate live sets from international and local talents. Although jazz is the genre of choice, patrons can expect a mixed bag of blues, rock and retro-pop as well.


7. Jet up and party at Heli Lounge Bar, KL's first club on a helipad

Bars and pubs Bukit Bintang

Here's the kicker: you can drink at their helipad from 6pm to 9pm daily when it's closed to helicopter landings. At the moment, there aren't any safety barriers surrounding the helipad, so stay away from the sides when you're drinking. The faint-hearted might want to stay inside the covered bar. But let's just say we prefer partying under the stars and looking at the city below our feet; it's an experience you don't get often.

8. Join a symphony with Beethoven, Haydn and even ABBA at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas

Music Music venues KL City Centre

From Tchaikovsky to ‘Final Fantasy', Dewan Filharmonik Petronas (DFP) is the concert hall to be for top-notch classical and popular culture-centric orchestral performances. With a traditional nineteenth century shoe-box design and world class acoustics, the 920-capacity DFP is reminiscent of grand European concert halls of yore, resulting in an oftentimes enchanting and elegant night out.


9. Soak in the atmosphere of a '70s neighbourhood pub at Rennie's House of Oxtail

Music Taman Jaya

Neighbourhood pubs are fast becoming a facet of the past but Rennie's House of Oxtail shows no sign of retreat - it's been drawing in PJ regulars for close to four decades now. The signature oxtail stew is a must-try, and so is the devilishly spicy mutton curry that pairs a treat with a chilled pint of Guinness. If we're whipping out the cliché gun, this could be the kind of place where everybody knows your name.

10. Take it to the dance floor with international DJs at Zouk

Nightlife KL City Centre

KL's only superclub, the hugely popular Zouk is divided into six sections with dedicated genres and acts in one boulder-shaped spaceship. Noted international DJs have graced Zouk's decks alongside residents Shazz, Terrence C, Blink, Goldfish, Luqe and others. Get there earlier if you wish to avoid the sometimes crazy long queues. Plus, it's the only joint in town that opens until 5am.

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