When the sun sets over KL and the city lights up like a beacon, the capital pulses with a different sort of energy. The vibrant nightlife scene here evolves at a blistering pace, with watering holes of all types opening and closing on the regular. We’ve handpicked some fresh entries that have been causing a ripple with their distinctive vibes.
This world class Jakarta club buzzed in to KL earlier this year and set down on the 50th floor of the Naza Tower Platinum Park. It’s been drawing a steady stream of revellers ever since, who come for the textured interiors influenced by a mishmash of Asian cultures, the thumping VOID Acoustics sound system and the roster of local and international DJs on rotation.
Music selection-wise, you’ve got tunes from the late ‘90s through to new-school hip hop during the week, and then a harder-edged sound with EDM and open format leading into the weekend. From chilled lounge in the early evenings to red-hot party den at night, Dragonfly delivers on all fronts.
WHERE Level 50, Naza Tower @ Platinum Park, Jalan Binjai, Kuala Lumpur
WHEN 9pm-3am (Wed-Sat)
TEL 03 2380 8987 / 012 628 9876
Hidden speakeasy bars lurk all around KL, many of them taking patrons to another world the minute they enter the covert premises. Taking this concept to the next level is the secret-agent inflected Brixton 23, which lies beneath a real-life tailor’s shop and is accessed via a discreet staircase.
What greets you is a sleek, multi-levelled restaurant-cum-lounge that drips with sophistication. Secretive private rooms, British-style leather sofas and an imposing bar with gold and brass finishings all work to the atmospherics. Add to that an exquisite menu of high-end food and premium beverages, and you’ll feel like you’re a Kingsman for the evening.
WHERE 23, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur
WHEN 12pm-3pm, 5pm-1am (Mon-Wed), 12pm-3pm, 5pm-3am (Thur-Fri), 6pm-3am (Sat), 6pm-1am (Sun)
TEL 03 2303 4765
The Swimming Club
Making a splash in the heart of Bukit Bintang is this eye-catching rooftop bar modelled right after an ‘80s Palm Springs-inspired aesthetic. Retro is the word here, from the sun loungers and pastel colour scheme to the neon tube lighting – it’s the perfect spot to grab an Assam Boi Mojito or Kafir Lime Margarita and then maybe take a dip in the inviting saltwater infinity pool.
If you’re feeling peckish, choose from succulent bites like the signature Journal Burger, Poolside Katsu Bun and Classic Caesar Salad, while the extensive drinks list is flush with cocktails, beers, spirits, wines and healthy juices. Whether you’re here to laze around the poolside or party it up with friends, The Swimming Club feels like an idyllic getaway high above the bustling streets below.
The Swimming Club
WHERE 30, Jalan Beremi, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur
TEL 03 2110 2211
D By Dirty
If you’re partial to a dram of whiskey, then D By Dirty should be high on your list to visit next. It might be located in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, around a 30-minute drive from central KL, but the whiskey on selection here is well worth the travel. Seldom seen variants like Japanese Kaicho or The Glendonach are available here, as well as all the usual suspects.
The bar also hosts regular tastings with brand ambassadors including the recent The Balvenie evening with James Cordiner who presented the brand’s 12, 14, 17 and 21-year-old tipples. Make sure to keep an eye out for the Whiskey Flight events that take place on the regular here, and prepare to have your taste buds opened!
D By Dirty
WHERE 110B, Jalan Burhanuddin Helmi, TTDI, Kuala Lumpur
TEL 016 673 7114
Circa Bar KL
The second hidden bar to make this list is Circa which can be found, with a bit of effort, along a back alley at Plaza Batai. Look for a hole in the wall, a spiral staircase and a secret code on the Circa Instagram page, and you’ll be granted entry. Inside it’s all cosy and glamourous, a well-balanced interior with dark wooden tones.
This place is big on inventive cocktails with items like It’s About Thyme, and the must-try PBJ. This drink is made with peanut butter-infused Jack Daniels and then served under a covered dome containing woodchip smoke. Smokey, sweet, salty and rich, it’s a unique concoction unlike any you’ve tried before.
Circa Bar KL
WHERE 8-7, Jalan Batai, Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur
WHEN 5pm-1am (Sun-Mon), 5pm-3am (Tues-Sat)
TEL 03 2011 1303