Behind closed doors: 6 speakeasy bars in KL you need to visit

Updated on October 26 2016

Coined by an American unlicensed bar owner Kate Hester back in the 1880s, the term “speakeasy” referred to illegal boozing venues during the Prohibition period. These days, they now refer to a low-key atmosphere in a (legal) drinking hole with artisanal drinks and knowledgeable bartenders.

As one of the rising metropolitans in South East Asia, Kuala Lumpur is home to many world-class speakeasies that define themselves by including a touch of local flavour in their cocktails. Follow us to explore these hottest kids (whose whereabouts are “waze-able”) in town!

Post image Related: Hushed up: Top 5 speakeasy bars in Kuala Lumpur

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61 Monarchy

Embracing the classic speakeasy theme, 61 Monarchy is just as imperial as the name suggests. This bar at Shangri-La is a go-to for the best whiskies with over 400 bottles gathered from around the world. Complete the night with a wide selection of bar bites. The bar’s dimly lit atmosphere and English-influenced interior design will transport you to a different time.

61 Monarchy, 61M, Jalan SS21/1A, Damansara Utama, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia, +6017 680 1357, www.61monarchy.com

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Skullduggery

A great imitation of the Catacombs of Paris, Skullduggery will make you shiver, but not in an undead way. More than its copper skulls decor, this speakeasy’s bartenders are real cocktail wizards, led by a French-born globetrotter Viji Thomas. The drinks here are mixed with utmost precision and even their ice is made in-house. Some of the more intriguing ingredients used in their cocktails include truffle infused vodka, seaweed agave and cardamom milk. Tucked away behind Plaza Damansara’s Huckleberry Food & Fare, Skullduggery can be found at the end of the dark hall made of baked clay, where there is a skeleton in his diving suit ‘warmly’ greeting you.

Skullduggery, 2M Plaza Damansara, Jalan Medan Setia 2, Kuala Lumpur, +6010 960 0498, www.facebook.com/skullduggerykl

 

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Suzie Wong

This early 1950s Chinese aesthetic décor, which resembles Hong Kong’s glamourous Lan Kwai Fong, is the latest addition to the scene. Inspired by Hong Kong’s East-meets-West culture, Suzie Wong is a unique speakeasy that KL dwellers have yet to explore. Sign up for the Black Card membership to enjoy the premium seating at the bar’s raised pavilion. Also try it’s signature cocktail, served under a dome glass cover with a mini dimly lit plate resembling a burning flame.

Suzie Wong, Basement, Wisma Lim Foo Yoong, Jalan Raja Chulan, 50350 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, +6012 842 8280, http://www.suziewong.asia/

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HYDE at 53M

Run by the same creator behind 61 Monarchy, HYDE is another hidden bar that caught our eyes. Its artistically served cocktails and gin beseech to be tasted, and they won’t disappoint. HYDE offers a wistful escape into the early 2000s with its iconic Chesterfield sofas and vintage lightings. Even if you can’t decide what you want and are open to suggestions, their skilled bartenders are more than happy to whip something up just based on what you feel like that night.

HYDE, 53M, Jalan SS21/1A, Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia, +6017 680 1357, www.hyde53m.com

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The Attic Bar

If you want to avoid the hustle and bustle of KL streets but still prefer a porch with great views, The Attic Bar is the perfect balance between a speakeasy and getting some peace. This urban bar infuses a refreshing aspect to the drinking scene in the city, mostly thanks to its open space rooftop overlooking the Twin Towers and KL Tower. Subtly hidden in the Travel Hub Guest House, the bar makes a great spot for an easy night out with friends, where you can get to mingle with travellers from all around the world. The bar is adorned with handcrafted birdcage chandeliers and the retro exposed brick walls for a genuine speakeasy experience.

The Attic Bar, Third floor, Travel Hub KL, 15 Jalan Balai Polis, Kuala Lumpur, +6012 398 2870, www.travelhubkl.com/the-attic-bar

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PS 150

One may never expect to encounter an antique hideaway bar right in the heart of Petaling Street (Kuala Lumpur), but perhaps that’s precisely the point. Through a dark and musty hall that was a part of a pre-war premise unveiled a secluded bar decorated with the ancient Indochina elements. PS 150 is like a mini gallery featuring the different eras of the cocktail culture through its menu: Vintage, Prohibition, Tiki, Disco and Contemporary. Along with the division of the beverages, guests are presented with three distinct seating areas — the Opium Den with private cubicles; the Post-war space for bigger groups; and the main bar area.

PS 150, Ground Floor, 150, Jalan Petaling, 50000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, +6032 022 2888, www.ps150.my