Check out these cocktail bars which bartenders are participating in the Diageo World Class 2015. From May to July, these bars will be running promotions for their recipes. Try them out and have your say.
Chambers Bar (Hilton KL)
Following a massive overhaul of the lobby area in 2013, the Hilton KL proudly unveiled multiple new dining options for guests and locals alike. Among them is Chambers Bar and Grill, a dining and drinking experience located next to each other where guests can chill out with an aperitif before they eat, or enjoy some post-dinner cocktails. The super-chic interior is guaranteed to put you in the mood for a glass of something classy (perhaps even a cigar). Choose from the excellent selection of champagne, wine and spirits, or order from the cocktail menu – we highly recommend the Malaysian Mule.
Cuben (Gurney Paragon Penang)
Rest assured that the Latin American spirit is alive and kicking in Penang. The light and airy space of Cuben (a fun play on the name of the Central American country) in Gurney Paragon will make you feel like you’re lounging on a balcony in Havana rather than in the heart of Georgetown – salsa music plays throughout the bar (and the occasional dancers strutting their stuff on the floor), and the laidback vibe creates the perfect atmosphere to enjoy a long drink (like the signature Corona-rita: a Margarita made with Corona) and a hearty cigar (Cuban, of course) to complete the whole experience.
Hubba Hubba (Bukit Ceylon)
Part restaurant, part bar, Hubba Hubba is a relative newcomer to the scene that has gone on to establish a second outlet at Sentral – they call it the ‘social hub’ to complement the ‘party hub’ in the lively Changkat Bukit Bintang neighbourhood. The cool and funky interior has an infectious joy for life that makes your day just that much brighter. You order from a menu of transethnic cuisine that encourages you to Live To Eat, and a drinks menu that instructs you to Drink To Life. It’s a place to enjoy a tasty meal with an imaginative cocktail, or to dance the night away.
The colours and flavours of Las Carretas welcome you to a Mexican experience in KL – the sombreros, ponchos and other Mexicana decorations create a warm environment that makes for a great space to meet with friends or family. The menu features an exciting Tex-Mex selection of juicy steaks, ribs, burritos, hearty stews and fresh seafood (especially the oysters) and it’s complemented well by their comprehensive wine list and a fun cocktail menu with Mexican specialties – namely margaritas, specifically the El Presidente and the Millionaire Margarita (earning them a spot on The Edge Malaysia’s list of Top 10 Places to Enjoy)
Majestic Hotel KL
A visit to The Majestic Hotel is like a step back in time: the elegance of the original neo-classical and art deco style of the 1930s is evident in the original Majestic Wing, while the Tower Wing (the recent addition) transports it right into the 21st century. The centrepiece of the Majestic Wing is the bar (aptly called ‘The Bar’), whose dark wood panels, mirrors and brass finishing draw the eye to the space below the gold-leaf domed ceiling, reviving the colonial days of the past with servings of Stengah, Gin Pahit or Sling.
Mr Brooks (Bangsar Shopping Centre)
Sometimes the best things in life are hidden in plain sight. Take Mr Brooks, for example: a purple Sunbeam Alpine parked in a makeshift garage on the third floor of a shopping mall certainly draws curious looks, but the adventurous will find that behind the false wall is a cool and classy speakeasy with the atmosphere of a 1920s British gentlemen’s club, and a deliciously well-stocked bar (not to mention their selection of premium pours and cigars). All cocktails have a cheeky British twist by name and nature, like the Margarita Thatcher, Nan’s Carrot Cake and Secret Garden.
Don’t let appearances fool you! Behind an unassuming door with a sign saying ‘No admittance’ is the tiny speakeasy Omakase+Appreciate, an unpretentious bar run by the incredibly passionate award-winning duo Shawn Chong and Karl Too. It’s a marriage of the Japanese omakase (‘as you like it’) style with Western cocktail culture, yielding a fantastic combination of cocktails prepared to your liking. Order from their menu (which changes from month to month), ask for your favourite classic, or even tell them what you feel like and leave it up to the trusty bartenders to create something entirely new. You’ll soon come to understand why O+A has such a dedicated following.
Qba (Westin KL)
While this is no speakeasy, it’s probably one of KL’s best kept secrets. Flying the flag for the Latin American spirit is The Westin’s Qba, a Latin Bar and Grill that has garnered plenty of recognition for their superb steaks (as any self-respecting Latin grill should). The split-level venue has a wine bar and cigar lounge, a Latin grill dining room, an island bar and an alfresco dining area where dim lighting, Latin décor and a live band create an intimately romantic atmosphere. No Latin experience is complete without a mojito or a caipirinha, made with an exquisite selection of rare rums (from one of the biggest collections of rums in KL).
SkyBar (Traders Hotel KL)
After many years as one of KL’s best rooftop bars (with the accolades to show for it), it’s easy to see why SkyBar’s reputation precedes itself around the world – so much so that most visitors to the nation’s capital would not consider their journey complete without stopping by the 33rd floor of Traders Hotel. The open-air rooftop bar is a modern, chic space with a chilled vibe enhanced by the live DJ playing anything from easy listening to jazz, techno and soft rock. Grab a drink and something tasty to eat close to the bar, or snuggle up in an alcove with your special someone and look out over KLCC park and the proud Twin Towers.
What started out as a simple neighbourhood café in Mont Kiara almost 20 years ago has gone on to become something of a landmark in the local F&B scene. Souled Out’s ‘as good as a hug’ philosophy is evident from their food and drinks right through to the staff who put their heart and soul into everything they do, creating a menu of quality comfort food (covering Western, Asian, North Indian and pizzas) and a cocktail list of fun classic drinks that make you feel at ease and at home. The atmosphere is unpretentious, casual and always exciting.
It could be said that Tate is one of KL’s first and best-known speakeasies; one that oozes sophistication and an old-school charm. All the dark wood panelling, dim lighting, plus the super-discreet secret entrance (watch out for a hanging top hat) makes it feel like a real Prohibition-era speakeasy – without the ties to organised crime, of course. Cocktails are not flamboyant, but creative and refined, as seen with their signature selection: the Matahari (served with dried rosebuds carefully scattered on the surface), Strawberry Ginger Mojito and Lemon Meringue Martini. It’s a perfect hideaway to crawl into and lose yourself amongst the jazz and vintage décor for hours.
View Rooftop Bar (GTower KL)
Counted among the best rooftop bars of KL, The View Rooftop Bar of GTower certainly lives up to its name. This popular posh spot for after-work drinks offers a beautiful panorama of downtown KL and the Klang Valley beyond, alongside your favourite tipple. Choose to sit out on the terrace to experience one of the many creative cocktails from the alfresco bar, or venture inside to the collection of single malts in the moody whisky lounge (and check out the Glenlivet Spiral centrepiece while you’re there), or the even more exclusive champagne room – there’s something here for everyone to enjoy.