Best Bars in Kuala Lumpur 2018

Best Bars in Kuala Lumpur 2018

KL Bars: The Best Bars in Kuala Lumpur

Cocktail culture in Kuala Lumpur has come a long way with more and more bars appearing throughout the city. With many speakeasies and thematic bars popping up all over, its no wonder the city that gets its name from the meaning Muddy Confluence is starting to pique the interests of well-seasoned travellers as one of the best bar night life destinations in the region. With Chinese themed bars around Chinatown to hole in the wall bars in Bangsar, cocktail culture is certainly developing a tipple at a time.

Kuala Lumpur is a city peppered with a plethora of bars ranging from specialist gin bars to Japanese whiskey bars, and although predominantly Muslim, the country has a very moderate and tolerant view with alcohol allowing non-Muslims a wide range of selection when it comes to its drinking culture. With some of its bars ranking in Asia’s 50 Best Bars as well as at The Asia Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur guiding the way, you will be certain that you will never have a boring night out. Here we list some of our favourite bars in Kuala Lumpur, and by extension, the Greater Klang Valley.

61 Monarchy | Photography by timeout.com | Best Bars in KL 2018 | Food For ThoughtImage courtesy of timeout.com

61 Monarchy

61 Monarchy is a Japanese whiskey bar that is situated in the nearby Damansara Utama area, which serves some of the best Japanese whiskey and whiskey cocktails you will find. The bar is decorated quite simple and chic. Try the Malt Tasting Flight for a sampling of some of their better whiskeys.

Best Hospitality Ambassador, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Best Specialist Concept, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Bar Of The Year, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018

61 Monarchy
61, Jalan SS 21/1A,
Damansara Utama,
47400 Petaling Jaya,
Selangor
+6017 680 1357

Bar Trigona | Photography by Tripadvisor | Best Bars in KL 2018 | Food For ThoughtImage courtesy of tripadvisor.com

Bar Trigona

Bar Trigona is newly opened and is situated inside the Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur. This specialist concept bar builds its name around the trigona honey. The menus specialises in use of different honeys, both local and foreign. The beautiful bar is decorated in gold and glass, and is perfect in every single way. The service here is impeccable, with the waiters explaining how the menu works, as well as taking you on a journey through the menu. Winning Best Hotel Bar and Best New Bar at The Bar Awards must be good enough reason to try out this place. Give their Trigona Old Fashioned a try for a honey laced whiskey cocktail. This bar is a must visit when in Kuala Lumpur.

Best Hotel Bar, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Best New Bar, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, The Rising Star (Joel Ngui Wee Kwong), The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Best Specialist Concept, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Best Hospitality Ambassador (Ashish Sharma), The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Best Hospitality Team, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Most Creative Cocktail Programme, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Bartender Of The Year (Ashish Sharma), The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Bar Of The Year, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018 

Bar Trigona
Level 6,
Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur
145, Jalan Ampang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
+603 2382 8670

Bar Zhen | Photography by thirstmag.com | Best Bars in KL 2018 | Food For ThoughtImage courtesy of thirstmag.com

Bar Zhen

Bar Zhen is located in dingy Chinatown which is receiving a revival with its population of Chinese themed bars. This oriental themed bar serves a number of Chinese traditional medicine infused drinks, which gives each cocktail an impressive and nostalgic take. Try the Eucomia Lai Chee Kang Cocktail for an alcoholic interpretation of the Malaysian favourite dessert as well as the Smoked Ginseng Osmanthus Old Fashioned for a bittersweet whiskey. 

Bar Zhen
5, Jalan Balai Polis,
50000 Kuala Lumpur
+6012 671 5883

Coley Cocktail Bar | Photography by timeout.com | Best Bars in KL 2018 | Food For ThoughtImage courtesy of timeout.com

Coley Cocktail Bar

Coley’s is located in the neighbourhood of Bangsar and is one of the best cocktail bars in Kuala Lumpur. This hole in the wall bar is easy and non-pretentious, with a pretty impressive cocktail list. This bar is one of Asia’s 50 Best Bars and is Bar Of The Year at the Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018, gaining them a place because of their consistency and vibes, and that should be enough reason to visit this establishment. We would say to try their Gin & Coconut off their local inspired Koktel list, but really you should try them all. For something more serious, try the tequila based Peanut Butter Jelly, which tastes exactly like how it sounds.

Number 46, Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2018
Bar Of The Year, The Bar Awards 2018
The Rising Star (Caden Chua Hui Chan), The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Best Hospitality Ambassador (Alvin Nirmal George “Loco”), The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Best Hospitality Ambassador (Kho Chee Kheong), The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018

Coley Cocktail Bar
Jalan Bangsar,
6- G, Jalan Abdullah,
Bangsar Park,
59000 Kuala Lumpur
+6019 270 9179

Coppersmith Bar | Photography by thirstmag.com | Best Bars in KL 2018 | Food For ThoughtImage courtesy of thirstmag.com

Coppersmith at Troika Sky Dining

Coppersmith is a bar located within the Troika Sky Dining restaurants, and is known for its good cocktails and view to match. The copper is shiny and attractive, while the bar offers a nice selection of cocktail variation. Try the Aviation made with lavender gin.   

Coppersmith at Troika Sky Dining
Level 23A, Tower B,
The Troika,
19, Persiaran KLCC,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
+603 2162 0886

HYDE | Photography by malaysia.my | Best Bars in KL 2018 | Food For ThoughtImage courtesy of malaysia.my

HYDE at 53M

HYDE is a Japanese cocktail located in Damansara Uptown, which is near sister speakeasy 61 Monarchy. The Japanese cocktail bar is famous for its whiskey concoctions. They do present some of the best cocktails you will find, such as their Screwpine Old Fashioned  which is a pandan laced whiskey cocktail. 

Best Hospitality Ambassador (Andrew Tan), The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, The Rising Star (Yeo Zhen Yue), The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018

HYDE at 53M
53M, Jalan SS 21/1A,
Damansara Utama,
47400 Petaling Jaya,
Selangor
+6016 959 8487

Jack Rose | Photography by thecitylist.my | Best Bars in KL 2018 | Food For ThoughtImage courtesy of thecitylist.my

Jack Rose

Jack Rose is a hidden bar located on the underground level of Wisma E&C in Damansara Heights. The bar is a mixture of a dive bar, with a very relaxed environment, but don’t be fooled. The cocktail menu has one of the largest classic cocktail selections, not counting their bespoke concoctions. A simple and non-fussed environment promises a good after work hangout, so when you do get a chance, try their signature Jack Rose, an applejack infusion or their spicy Pepper Ale, a black pepper laced tequila.

Top 10, Best Hospitality Ambassador (James Estes), The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018

Jack Rose
Level B1,
Wisma E&C,
Bukit Damansara,
50490 Kuala Lumpur
+603 2011 0682

JungleBird | Photography by eatdrinkkl.blogspot.com | Best Bars in KL 2018 | Food For ThoughtImage courtesy of eatdrinkkl.blogspot.com

JungleBird

JungleBird is one of the best rum bars in Kuala Lumpur and is situated in the Damansara Heights area. This bar specialises in rum cocktails, and is decked out in tiki aesthetics complete with rattan furniture and green motifs. Reputed as one of the best bars according to Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2018, you will find drinks that are perfectly set in a nice and chilled out ambience. Give their signature local JungleBird a try, a drink invented in Malaysia as well as their Grog for a piratey experience.

Number 38, Asia’s 50 best Bars 2018
Top 10, The Rising Star (Al Imran Ahmed), The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Best Specialist Concept, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Best Hospitality Ambassador (Joshua Ivanovic), The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Best Hospitality Team, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Most Creative Cocktail Programme, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Bartender Of The Year (Joshua Ivanovic), The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Bar Of The Year, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018 

JungleBird
15M, Jalan Medan Setia 1,
Bukit Damansara,
50490 Kuala Lumpur
+603 2011 5715

Omakase + Appreciate | Photography by thirstmag.com | Best Bars in KL 2018 | Food For ThoughtImage courtesy of thirstmag.com

Omakase + Appreciate

Omakase + Appreciate is consistently one of the best speakeasies in Kuala Lumpur and is located in the Ming Annexe Building. This bar is run by Shawn Chong and Karl Too, which offers different types of mixtures, with Shawn’s Japanese style drinks and Karl’s more traditional western approach. The drinks here are innovative and offers an experience that is bound to impress. Winning Bartender Of The Year and Most Creative Cocktail Programme at The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018, you can see why they stand out time and time again. We recommend every drink on the menu, but if you’re lucky, get them to create a customised drink for you, which they will gladly oblige. Always good.

Bartender Of The Year (Shawn Chong), The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Most Creative Cocktail Programme, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Best Hospitality Ambassador (Shawn Chong), The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Most Creative Cocktail Programme, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Bartender Of The Year (Karl Too), The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018

Omakase + Appreciate
Level UG,
Bangunan Ming Annexe,
9, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur,
50100 Kuala Lumpur
+603 2022 2238

Pacific Standard Bar | Photography by lifestyleasia.com | Best Bars in KL 2018 | Food For ThoughtImage courtesy of lifestyleasia.com

Pacific Standard Bar

Pacific Standard Bar is located in the newly built Alila Bangsar, which is more accurately located in Brickfields. A stone’s throw from Bangsar, this hotel bar is located in 41st floor offering an amazing view overlooking the city. Give their Flat White Russian a try, a doughnut infused liquor, for a succulent taste. 

Top 10, Best Hotel Bar, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Best Hospitality Ambassador (Ananda Ruben), The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Best Hospitality Team, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Most Creative Cocktail Programme, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Best New Bar, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Bar Of The Year, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018

Pacific Standard Bar
Level 41,
Alila Bangsar,
58, Jalan Ang Seng,
Brickfields,
50470 Kuala Lumpur
+603 2268 3820

Pahit | Photography by my.asiatatler.com | Best Bars in KL 2018 | Food For ThoughtImage courtesy of my.asiatatler.com

Pahit

Pahit is located in the Bukit Bintang area in Kuala Lumpur, and is considered one of the best gin bars around. The bar was accoladed the Best Specialist Concept at The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018 and is decked out with a simple and rustic décor. With over 80 types of gin available, the bar offers a nice selection of choice from all over. Give their local inspired gin cocktails a go, such as the Calamansi and Asamboi for a tangy surprise. This bar is a must visit. 

Best Specialist Concept, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Best Hospitality Ambassador (Ananda Ruben), The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Bartender Of The Year (Kho Chee Kheong), The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Most Creative Cocktail Programme, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Best New Bar, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Bar Of The Year, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018

Pahit
3, Jalan Sin Chew Kee,
Bukit Bintang,
50150 Kuala Lumpur
+603 2110 0776

PS150 | Best Bars in KL 2018 | Food For ThoughtImage courtesy of ps150.com

PS150

PS150 is located in Chinatown and is one of the many oriental themed bars. With its red lantern décor and variety of drinks that are well known, hit up this place for one of the busiest haunts for a nice night out. Give their decent Jungle Bird a taste for a Malaysian favourite. This bar also boast the winner of the Best Hospitality Team The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018.

Best Hospitality Team, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Best Hospitality Ambassador (Angel Ng Ji), The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Bartender Of The Year (Angel Ng Ji), The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Bar Of The Year, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018

PS150
150, Jalan Petaling,
50000 Kuala Lumpur
+603 7622 8777

Skullduggery | Photography by thirstmag.com | Best Bars in KL 2018 | Food For ThoughtImage courtesy of thirstmag.com

Skullduggery

Skullduggery is located in the Plaza Damansara building of Damansara Heights and is located behind Huckleberry. The bar is considered one of the better speakeasies with a live DJ sets on weekends and serves a nice array of cocktails. The menu is rather impressive with many drinks which taste and look gorgeous. Give the San Junipero, a lemon and red wine cocktail inspired by the Black Mirror episode.

Top 10, The Rising Star (Abel Sukau Bin Antonius), The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Best Hospitality Ambassador (James Estes), The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018

Skullduggery
2M,
Plaza Damansara,
Jalan Medan Setia 2,
Bukit Damansara,
50490 Kuala Lumpur
+6014 629 2044

The Deceased | Photography by taufulou.com | Best Bars in KL 2018 | Food For ThoughtImage courtesy of taufulou.com

The Deceased

The Deceased is a unique specialist concept bar located on Jalan Sultan in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, and is decorated in the fashion of a traditional Chinese medicine hall. The morbidly inspired hidden bar has a small but interesting range of macabre drinks influenced by Chinese tradition and myths. Give the Tea Of Oblivion, a black tea gin cocktail inspired by the Chinese myth of forgetting your past life before reincarnation a try. Very unique.

Top 10, Best Specialist Concept, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Most Creative Cocktail Programme, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018

The Deceased
55, Jalan Sultan,
50000 Kuala Lumpur
+603 2715 7492

THREE x CO Bar | Photography by timeout.com | Best Bars in KL 2018 | Food For ThoughtImage courtesy of timeout.com

THREE X CO

Three X Co is a speakeasy located in the Bangsar Shopping Centre and serves a number of award-winning drinks. This bar is cosy and has an impressive cocktail menu, along with some of the prettiest drinks you will lay your eyes on. Try to taste the inventive Chocolat Fashioned, an inspired Old Fashioned with spiced rum, chocolate bitters and gula melaka. 

Top 10, The Rising Star (Sam Yap Chun Fai), The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Best Hospitality Ambassador (David Hans), The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Best Hospitality Team, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Most Creative Cocktail Programme, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Best New Bar, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018
Top 10, Bartender Of The Year (Davin Hans), The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018 

THREE X CO
Level 3,
Bangsar Shopping Centre,
285, Jalan Maarof, Bangsar,
59000 Kuala Lumpur
+6019 336 6031

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Nicholas Ng

Nicholas Ng is a restaurant critic, travelogue and opinion columnist which is curated on Food For Thought. He has been a freelance writer for 10 years and has previously worked as a lawyer. He currently is the Managing Director of Black Wolf Digital, a digital marketing agency.

19 Comments

  1. It looks like Kuala Lumpur has quite a developed cocktail scene. I never knew.

  2. What a useful piece. Need to hit up some of these places. You have a thing for old fashioneds don’t you. Haha.

    • Hi Kenneth,
      Do try these bars, and yes, I am very particular to an Old Fashioned. Haha.

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