Although Malaysia is technically considered a third world country, Kuala Lumpur (in which I will refer to as KL) is a completely different story. This city is filled with places to eat (see previous blog entry), things to do and see, and places to drink! It is extremely Westernized (no floor toilets! Yay!). The rich expat communities dominate downtown, so it is understandable that there are so many Western food, clothing, and bar options. In this blog entry, I will go through all the bars I visited during my 2.5 week stay. Pavilion Mall:
With all the numerous eateries and shops, there is equal number of places to drink! After work hours (around 5PM), there is literally happy hour in every one of the restaurants and bars (just like the beautiful United States of America). Since Pavilion Mall was just a stone’s throw away from our hotel, we would always find ourselves here for their Happy Hour! I honestly think beer is relatively expensive in Southeast Asia, especially in these fancy places; Pavilion is super fancy so prepare to pay up! Places we’ve visited were Il Faro, a little Greek restaurant right off the main outdoor walkway. Because beer tower was cheap during Happy Hour, so we decided to sit and get to know each other in a chill place as this was our first day in the course and literally met earlier that day. This spot is a great place to people watch as it is located right along the main outdoor walkway of the Pavilion. It is not crowded nor loud, but a great place to sit and relax with cheap beer!
If you’re just not feeling Mediterranean food and generic beer towers (Tiger or Carlsburg), just literally next door is Malone’s Irish Pub with a great selection of whiskeys and beers (didn’t I say you could get literally anything you wanted here in KL? It’s because it’s true!). There is traditional/modrn décor with comfy tufted couches and the bar is filled with a mix of people. Again, prepare to pay up a bit!
We would continually pass by the neon pink lights illuminating out the doors and windows of Circus Bar as we are walking through the main outdoor walk way from Bukit Bintang to Prince Hotel. I really wanted to go and try out this bar since it looked fun and quirky based on the name and décor. I finally pulled my two body guards (Petter and Dhiaa) with me to try this place out one day. Chevron wood floor patterns, clean sleek white modern chairs, neon pink and purple lights illuminating the bars and floors, pop art lining the walls…. It was a pretty cool bar. On top of all the fun décor, it had a whole wall of just windows with a great view of the busy street. Perfect place to people watch… and you all know how much I like to creep on others! Haha just kidding. The drinks here definitely reflected the aura that the decor reflects, fun and creative! This is a great bar if you’re into mixology! The only downfall is that the workers here were from like Africa and did not know how to speak English, Malay, or Chinese… not sure how they got the job here since they can’t even speak to anyone here in KL! Not even the locals! There was definitely a communication barrier.
Heli Lounge Bar
I am honestly not sure how I found out about this place… Heli Lounge Bar does not have a website, only a Facebook fan page so it is a bit hard to find unless you know about it. But this is the coolest bar/place I have ever been to in my entire life. Heli Lounge Bar is a helicopter pad during the day and an awesome bar at night with a 360 degree view of KL. Getting there was an adventure in itself in that the building is off of a small street with a lot of construction. We got extremely lost trying to get here. The bar opens around sunset time (5-6PM), but we were all lazy after class and decided to meet after it got dark. The building at this time was completely dark! The helicopter pad is on top of the Menara KH office building… But the building is completely empty and dark giving you an eerie feeling walking in… there are no signs and the elevators have temporary walls up with tons of graffiti on them (so obviously the walls were not temporary, but actually there for a long time). We were all really creeped out a bit like “are we… at the right… place??” It seemed super shady, but we pressed the button for the 38th floor, and we walked straight into the lower level of the bar.
There was absolutely no one downstairs and we were not sure where to go, but a waiter came up to us eventually and asked us what we wanted to drink. We ordered our drinks in the aviation inspired decor downstairs and we went up to the top through a very dark and shady fire escape stair case. Once we got to the top, I was in complete awe. The view was breathtaking. You can see the whole city of KL with nothing disrupting the view. It was also thrilling because you ae so close to the edge! There isn’t a single barrier up except for a 2’ wide net around the circumference of the helipad. There is a yellow circle about 3’ inwards from the edge of the building that you need to stay inside of. There is no music up there, but who needs music when you eyes are salivating as it looks at the vivid city in front of you? We got seated at a little table with oversized minimalistic modern chairs with the KL Tower to the left of us and the Petronas Towers to the right of us. I hate carrying a tripod or a better lens, but at this moment I seriously wished I had brought a tripod to capture what my eyes were seeing. The city was seriously illuminating light in such a magical way as if it was living and breathing out fog. It was extremely magical and unreal. We enjoyed our drinks out there while soaking up the city as Dhiaa was telling us the hardships and challenges are living in Iraq. Such an amazing night opening my eyes to this insane view but also opening my eyes to what people are having to live and struggle with in the world! Thanks Dhiaa for an insight on your life in Iraq!
TAPS Beer Bar
Norwegians are proud to be Norwegian. Honestly, who isn’t proud of their home? Petter is extremely proud of Norwegian products, and especially beer! He found this cute little bar on the way to Jalan Changkat that had a Norwegian brewed beer on tap so he HAD to try it! Not only once... but twice, especially since it was half the price in Malaysia than what it sells for in Norway! Haha I have to say though, Nøgne Ø is a pretty tasty beer! If you’re a beer fanatic, this is the place to go. They also have MAD DOG beers here, which are pretty hard to find anywhere! This place is like a Flying Saucer but on steroids. The decor was modern and industrial. It is a small, yet cozy place with live music playing acoustic versions of pop songs. Great place for a chill night out!
Marini’s on 57th
Marini’s on 57th is supposed to be a well known famous bar with the best view of the Petronas Towers. The entrance is located right along the side of the KLCC Suria Mall with a very inconspicuous doorway between the mall and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. It was a bit hard to find since the entrance was just literally one door. You walk into that door and get led into an elevator with EXTREMELY high walls (even Petter looked puny in this elevator). Similar to the Heli Bar Lounge, you walk straight onto the floor of the bar. There is someone waiting at the elevator entrance “Bar or Lounge?” There are two sides to Marini’s. The bar side is the more “club” side with flashy lights, smaller tables, and upbeat music. The lounge side is an upscale side decorated to a fancy modern man cave equipped with a famous mixologist bar tender!
We decided on the Lounge side first as it was still early. There was an amazing view of KL since the whole wall was just windows! There has been a lot of forest fires throughout South East Asia that was bringing in a terrible smoke that lingered throughout the whole city… It was terrible all week and obstructed the sun from hitting the city. But tonight, as our last night, there was something magical about the smoke. It made KL look so mysterious and enchanting. We enjoyed our drinks made from the famous mixologist with great company and surroundings. Once it started to get a bit late, we decided to switch up the pace and head over to the Bar side of Mirini’s. It was definitely more like a club and a complete 180 of the lounge. The furniture was sleek, the tables were small and made for people to stand around. There were neon blue lights lighting up the ceiling and red lights along the bar with electronic music bumpin’! There was an amazing view of the Petronas Towers since we were right next door. The drinks here were normal (pricey though). I’m sure the bar side would be great late at night if you wanted to completely go out and party.
I have heard some great things about the night life Jalan Changkat from my friends in Brunei who visited KL many times, so I definitely had to go check it out! We had dinner out here one night on a weekday but we were so tired after our course, we just went back to the hotel. So Petter and I made sure that we came back to check out some of the bars. The whole street is lined with bars, all open to the street so there are literally people seated in the sidewalk. The whole street is so lively with all the people outside and the different types of music playing from each bar. We tried 3-4 bars that night, all with a different theme and type of music. Purchasing drinks were a bit odd in some places. Some bars did not accept credit card at all and some places you had to purchase the drinks before hand, get a ticket, and use that ticket at the bar. The bar will not take you credit card or cash and will only accept these tickets! A bit inconvenient, I’d say, but I guess it is “safer.” Petter and I tried to dance, but after our 2.5 weeks in KL, we were exhausted! We could not keep up with all the youngin’s out. It definitely was a great 2.5 weeks here in KL. Great places to eat, great places to drink at, and great people I met.
Overall, the night life in KL has impressed me. There is a huge variety of options of place, music, type of drink you can choose from. I have partied in world famous places like Ibiza, Rio de Janeiro, Mardi Gras in NOLA, Las Vegas just to name a few, and I honestly put KL’s night life amongst these places. The Heli Lounge Bar was seriously one of the coolest places I could tell people I have stepped foot at.
The last two photos was not anywhere in a bar but actually in my hotel. There was this little hut that I wanted to take a picture in saying “HELLO! WELCOME TO MY HOUSE!” since I set foot at the Prince Hotel… so I did it finally! Haha Petter was embarrassed taking the photo even though there was not a single person in the lobby at that time of hour. Am I really that embarrassing?