Best new bars in Penang
Lebuh Muntri continues its quest as a hippie bar strip with the addition of Inch, a strikingly attractive bar behind its sister restaurant, Plates. The space doesn’t skimp on colours – there are splashes of red on the façade that match the playground-friendly pastel hues inside. Owned by Adrian Yap (of Kuala Lumpur’s The Bee fame) and Mili Lim, Inch offers tapas-sized Southeast Asian snacks complemented by eccentric (though limited) cocktails. The Fancy Paints is especially memorable – rooibos-infused vermouth, gin, vanilla and a twist of grapefruit at a mere RM25. The flavoured gin and tonics are rather exciting too, particularly the lemongrass and kaffir lime-infused version. Spirits and wines are of the standard variety, but Inch is worthy if for the atmosphere alone.
Penangite Ben Ng is the owner and founder of Fluid Alchemy, Kuala Lumpur’s leading bartending academy. But a longing to bring something back to his home state spurred Ben to open a bar in George Town, as a reminder of where his passion for bartending and cocktails was crafted. Mish Mash is a result of the nostalgia, and it’s definitely one of the best places to catch a proper cocktail in the city.Quality is the name of the game here, as Ben chooses to use higher quality spirits and ingredients, some which are sourced directly from farms based on seasonal availability. Signature cocktails are the Moscow Mule, made with home-brewed ginger soda, and the Smoky Rob, like a classic Rob Roy but with a touch of maple smoke. Newer additions include chocolate raspberry sangria and Pisco sours. Our favourite might just be the Tommy’s Margarita made with Olmeca tequila, fresh lime, agave and sea salt-coated pineapple compote.
Basement 6 is a restaurant by day and bar by night. We prefer sitting at the breezy alfresco area, set up like a garden terrace with wooden tables and hanging plants. Aesthetically, it’s not a stylish bar, but it’s not that pressing a matter when the cocktail list is this exciting. Their Penang Signature Cocktail is a blend of rum, fresh pineapple, calamansi syrup and Penang’s own nutmeg syrup, while the Dim Sum cocktail is gin, Chinese tea and fresh lemon served in a bowl. The Goji Manhattan sounds intriguing too, a twist on the classic Manhattan with the addition of siphon-cooked wolfberries.
Ubud’s pork ribs institution finally lands in Penang. Apart from the aforementioned pork ribs, Naughty Nuri’s is also known for their killer martinis. If Dad’s Killer New York Martini or Mom’s Killer Gin Martini don’t cut it, try the Mudslide Martini for a playful twist on the (very potent) classic. As you should with all cocktails here, tread with caution when dealing with the Ibu Nuri’s Signature Margarita, made with a dangerous amount of tequila.