3 Buzzing Kuala Lumpur Nightlife Spots
From bars to super clubs, the city’s nightlife is on fleek. MARK LEAN gets turned up at three of the hottest places to get down.
Published on Apr 11, 2016
WATCHING SUNRISE OVER A mountaintop may be a magical experience, but I prefer my dawns to the backdrop of dubstep at super club (1) Zouk (436 Jln. Tun Razak), which reopened its doors at the three-hectare TREC after decamping from its Jalan Ampang location. Built at the cost of RM38 million, they spinoff to the 24-year old Singaporean party hot spot is packed with 10 specialist rooms, each with its own distinct music policy, an exclusive members' bar with private lift access, a VIP concierge and, sensibly, due to the club's 5 a.m. closing time, a medical bay. Since the nightspot launched in KL back in 2004, it's estimated that 100,000 night owls have slid past the velvet rope each year. At the club, international night-clubbers who bring their passports get their own entry lane, along with complimentary entrance to the party.
Slide into the lounge at Zouk. Courtesy of Zouk.
Slightly more understated in approach is pop-up (2) 44 Bar (Publika, 1 Jalan Dutamas 1, Solaris Dutamas; +60 3 7958 1377), an arty back-alley cocktail joint on a street that was hip perhaps a decade ago. Here, interiors, the work of design firm Allthatissolid, are composed of trippy mind-bending motifs that recall an Austin Powers aesthetic. The bar's movie-set aspirations have been realized on a telenovela budget, which is part of its charm. The drinks here though shouldn't be taken lightly. Or on an empty stomach. Head bartender CK Koh rolls out drinks like the Castaway, a knock-you-on-your-ass blend of Privateer amber rum, coffee liqueur, pineapple, and Monin salted caramel syrup; as well as fellow tiki-inspired rum cocktail, the Jungle Bird, made from Campari, pineapple and lime juice, purportedly invented in 1978 at the Kuala Lumpur Hilton.
Donkey Kick at 44 Bar. Courtesy of 44 Bar.
The city's appreciation for cosmic cocktails is obvious at (3) Hyde at 53M (53M Jln. SS 21/1A, Damansara Utama; +60 3 7733 2303), a speakeasy in suburban Petaling Jaya with gleaming leather sofas and waitstaff donning bow ties and suspenders. The no-smoking policy means you get the tavern vibe without the cigar fumes, perfect for unwinding after work. A steady stream of creative types flock to this stylish and laid-back bar for mixologist Andrew Tan's ever-changing roster of drinks that includes the mighty King Kong Bloody Mary, which owes its name to its serving portion as well as to its alcohol content. And for an equally oversize monster of a night, order the New Horizon here; the so-named tray of half a dozen pandan and coconut creamtopped shooters will set you on the right (or wrong?) path.
Mixologist Andrew Tan at Hyde at 53M. Courtesy of Hyde at 53M.