It’s no secret that alongside a gastronomic treasure trove, Kuala Lumpur also happens to house a truly vibrant nightlife scene that can easily stand shoulder-to-shoulder next to its other regional counterparts. And that has recently been cemented by four names that were ranked in Asia’s 50 Best Bars’ 51-100 list for the year 2023.
Of the four establishments to be honoured with a spot on the list, JungleBird in Bukit Damansara placed the highest at 55, followed by the neighbouring Reka Bar with number 65. Bangsar’s Coley Bar occupies the 67th spot on the list, while BSC’s Three X Co takes number 77. For intrepid bar sleuths, none of the names here come to much surprise given their repute.
Malaysian bars land four spots on Asia’s 50 Best Bars’ 51-100 list for 2023
JungleBird – No.55
Bukit Damansara’s JungleBird is an experience in itself, even without the cocktails. As its name implies, the bar is evocative of an exercise in high camp, with walls and seat cushions bearing palm leaf prints that are further accented by wicker furniture and decorative bamboo accents, not unlike a tiki-themed tropical getaway from the 1980s in the best possible way.
Where ABV is concerned, JungleBird bears the distinction of being the first rum bar in Kuala Lumpur when it first debuted back in 2017. Naturally, cocktails served here have a predilection for the liquor, with novel creations such as the Cendol Colada, made using a combination of rum, pandan, homemade coconut cream, and pineapple.
Reka Bar – No.65
In the Malay language, the word ‘Reka‘ can be translated into English as ‘to design’. In that vein, Reka Bar has established its prominence as the address to be if one has a penchant for inventive designer cocktails. Naturally, the bar space is dominated by lashings of effortless cool with neon strip light fixtures and contemporary furnishings that seem to teeter closer to form over function.
The bar takes precedence of course, backed by an extensive array of spirits, liqours, house-made ferments, and a dizzying assortment of mixing tools that would not look out of place in a laboratory. In fact, they even boast their very own rotary evaporator which sits at one end of the space to serve as both a mixologist’s tour de force and a sci-fi prop in this mothership.
Libations on offer are suitably future-thinking in their concoction of flavours, as in the case of their Naughty Congee, which incorporates the use of Japanese rice fermentation.
Coley Bar – No.67
Taking its name after one of London city’s most prolific bar stalwarts, Ada Coleman of Savoy fame, Coley Bar is no stranger to being the talk of the town. After all, they’ve made a point of being one of the most visible names in the business, what with a slew of different pop-up experiences and event cameos, as well as having their third outing on the Asia 50 Best Bars list.
But make no mistake, their reputation goes well beyond aptly-timed collaborations and is built upon a foundation of bartending excellence that founder CK Kho has honed down to a precise art. In an intimate, mauve-coloured space that seats only a clutch of guests at any time, customers are invited to observe as their drinks of choice are prepared into fruition by the bar.
The Borneo Attention features highly on our list of returning favorites, with rice wine and a twist of lemongrass.
Three X Co – No.77
What does a barbershop have to do with liquid gold? Well, head on over to Bangsar Shopping Centre and the answer will become readily apparent. Or perhaps not quite, considering how well-hidden Three x Co is behind a convincing clutter left behind by what appears to be a barber on lunch break.
But behind a door next to a plush barber’s chair, one is whisked off into a sumptuous slice of Roaring Twenties excess, with strips of gold and rich velvet introducing art deco luxury to the otherwise quiet suburban sensibilities common to the neighbourhood.
Appropriately dubbed as a speakeasy, their cocktail menu is divided into two categories: Cockytails Signature Series for those looking to whet a local palate, and the Inner Circle’s List for classic bar staples.
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Feature and hero image credits: Antoni Shkraba via Pexels, Inga Seliverstova via Pexels
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Kuala Lumpur