Drinking and nightlife in Malaysia

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Bukit Bintang, KLCC & Pudu

    Suzie Wong

    Push aside the heavy curtain at the end of a clubby bar to discover the wild goings-on at this old Hong Kong–style speakeasy cocktail bar. Expect a glamorous drag cabaret, live music and handheld fireworks to accompany the popping of champagne corks and swilling of drinks in carved-out coconuts.

  • Nightlife in Lake Gardens, Brickfields & Bangsar

    Coley

    Revive your parched taste buds with inventive libations such as coconut gin at this sleek and sultry bar that's one of Asia's best. It's named after Ada Coleman, a female bartender in 1920s London and creator of the Hanky Panky – a cocktail made with gin, sweet vermouth and Fernet-Branca. Unsurprisingly, it's a fixture on the menu here.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Masjid India, Kampung Baru & Northern KL

    Three Little Birds

    Top-tier coffee bar and micro-roaster Three Little Birds is manned by the pioneers of third-wave coffee culture in KL: Michael Wilson and wife Amirah Mohammad of Artisan Roast, as well as coffee geek Joey Mah. The trio takes a focused approach to roasting, catering to drinkers who are not only here for a quality cuppa but also a serious education on coffee.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Melaka City

    Calanthe Art Cafe

    Fancy a full-bodied Johor or classic Perak white? Sip a coffee inspired by your favourite Malaysian state at this perky place. The coffee is excellent, and it's worth dropping by simply to gaze at this temple to retro decor: you won't be the only customer photographing its vinyl-adorned walls or the fish tank framed by a vintage TV.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Kuching

    Drunk Monkey Old Street Bar

    This bar attracts a relaxed crowd of tourists and locals. There's a nightly BBQ of meaty skewers (7pm to midnight) and you'll find menus from nearby restaurants scattered about. Order from the bar staff and the food will be delivered to your table by the restaurant staff. Drinks include draught Guinness (RM20 per pint), a range of imported wines and a whole page of whiskies.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Kuala Terengganu

    Vinum Exchange

    Equal parts cafe, bar, restaurant and wine shop, Vinum Exchange is a game changer for Kuala Terengganu. The stylish interior features a great selection of international wine and spirits lining one wall. Other drinking options include espresso, beer and cider. The food, which ranges from bar snacks through to excellent Malay, Chinese and international meals, also deserves a mention.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Klang & Pelabuhan Klang

    Seraph Awaken

    Coffee making is approached with scientific precision by Cheau See and Chun Hoong, who serve hand-brewed drip coffee from a counter laden with beakers and rubber tubes. The couple started out with a roadside coffee stall before moving into a beautiful, plant-filled kopitiam (coffee shop) dating from 1928. Watch the website for live music and cultural events at the cafe.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Chinatown, Merdeka Square & Bukit Nanas

    Botakliquor

    Hanging baskets and lush potted plants framing the bar set the leafy, botanical tone for the superior cocktails made by the mixologists at this cocktail bar in the Chō Chǎ Foodstore building. Ingredients such as pandan, jasmine, tarragon and kaffir lime feature in the drinks, which include liquors infused with pumpkin seeds, pineapple and jackfruit.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Kuching

    Ruai Bar

    This self-styled 'Modern Dayak' bar features a mash-up of modern and indigenous design, and there's occasional live music – including metal and local hip hop – at weekends. Beers are cheap and cold, and more adventurous imbibers can sample tuak (rice wine) and more potent langkau infused with flavours like cinnamon and vanilla. The place really gets jumping around 9pm.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Bukit Bintang, KLCC & Pudu

    RGB at the Bean Hive

    This is what you get when a boutique coffee roaster teams up with health-conscious cooks in a quiet green oasis. RBG serves excellent hand-drip and espresso coffees as well as vegan and vegetarian breakfasts (RM10–28), sandwiches and wraps (RM16–28) and pastas (RM17–25), all in a spacious bungalow with a book exchange, kids' play corner, inner courtyard and big grassy yard.

  • Nightlife in Lake Gardens, Brickfields & Bangsar

    Pulp Coffee

    Expect top-quality brews from this flagship store of premium Singaporean coffee roaster Papa Palheta. Apart from coffee, it also serves bottled craft beers, breakfast dishes (RM13–39), sandwiches (RM23–30) and pastas (RM28–32). The reading matter on the magazine rack is a clever homage to the space's former incarnation as the cutting room of the Art Printing Works (APW).

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Kuala Selangor

    Café Lumière

    With guitars, clocks and rock icons set against its whitewashed brick walls, Café Lumière has a loose Parisian theme and an upbeat atmosphere. Daily food specials rotate between spaghetti bolognese, bangers and mash, sticky lemon chicken and various Europe-tinged recipes, while the coffee is consistently excellent. Pricey by Kuala Selangor standards but wholly worthwhile.

  • Nightlife in Kuching

    The Barber

    The designers of this repurposed barber's salon made use of the original tiled floor, the mirrors and even old hairdryers to create a suitably hip hangout for Kuching's in-crowd. It serves a menu of burgers and American-diner-style food (mains RM18–35) and a good selection of desserts (RM16). Beyond the diner, out the back is a stylish and popular bar.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Chinatown, Merdeka Square & Bukit Nanas

    PS150

    The southern end of Jln Petaling's evolution into a hip ’hood is helped along by this cocktail bar concealed behind a fake toyshop in a building that was once a brothel. Inside, the dim red lights and vintage-style booths bring to mind the films of Wong Kar-Wai. Sit around the convivial bar at the back and watch expert mixologists ply their trade.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Melaka City

    Geographer Cafe

    A swinging recorded soundtrack of jazz and classic pop keeps the beers flowing at this traveller magnet. The first cafe to open on Jonker St (in 1999), it's a true Melaka institution. Strewn with greenery, the interior is attractive and comfortable, making it a great choice at any time of the day. It hosts live music at night Thursday to Sunday.

  • Nightlife in Bukit Bintang, KLCC & Pudu

    Delirium Café Kuala Lumpur

    Showcasing the products of Belgium brewery Delirium alongside other international craft beers, this cafe-bar has a large terrace overlooking Symphony Lake. You can get very merry indeed working your way through the 100-plus beers on offer, nine of which are on tap – so much so that you may think the huge pink elephant in the bar is for real.

  • Nightlife in Ipoh

    Burps & Giggles

    Ipoh's hipster hang-out par excellence is housed in an early-20th-century shophouse, adorned with mannequins, retro lamps and other regalia of yesteryear. It's a superb spot for iced tea, a nibble at the adjoining cereal cafe (mixed bowls from RM7) or a more substantial feed (the most popular dish is fish and chips; RM23).

  • Nightlife in Kuching

    Black Bean Coffee & Tea Company

    The aroma of freshly ground coffee assaults the senses at this tiny shop, believed by many to purvey Kuching’s finest brews. Specialities, roasted daily, include arabica, liberica and robusta coffees grown in Java, Sumatra and, of course, Sarawak. Also serves oolong and green teas from Taiwan. Has just three tables. Decaf not available.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Miri

    Ming Cafe

    This ever-busy corner bar stocks 25 imported bottled beers and has several on tap, including Paulaner wheat beer. The drinks menu also lists Australian and New Zealand wines and several pages of cocktails. Fresh juices and shakes cost RM5 to RM10, and wine by the glass is RM15. Expect a mixed crowd of local and expat drinkers and diners.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Melaka City

    Heesan Kopi

    Brought to us by the female entrepreneur behind Backlane Coffee, this member of Jonker St's coterie of design cafes is a winner, offering excellent espresso coffee and a varied menu. Opt for eggs or mushrooms on toast in the morning, and for lunch enjoy a pasta, panino or an artisan pizza. We like the wall murals and music choices, too.