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Bar guide: Where to drink in the Kuala Lumpur city centre

There are usually two reasons why people would get a drink in KL, especially the city centre: to wait out the perpetual traffic or to have a good time partying in the city. Whatever your reasons might be, it goes without a doubt that the KL city centre has no shortage of places to get a tipple.

Bars in the KL city centre do not differ too much from the bars you can find in Bangsar. Perhaps the biggest difference is the view, as there are more bars located in high-rise buildings in the city centre. You can find a healthy mix of cocktail bars with character, as well as swanky bars where people are keen to see and be seen in. Hidden bars are still a crowd puller, with long-standing ones such as Omakase + Appreciate maintaining their popularity.

New bars are also constantly mushrooming in the Malaysian capital. It appeals to those who enjoy checking out new places, in search of the next best place to drink in KL. Saro Lounge is one such place, located in the extremely accessible Pavilion Kuala Lumpur shopping mall. Fu Luck Bar is also another new place that has recently opened in nightlife district TREC KL, adding one more stop to your bar hopping shenanigans on Friday nights and weekends.

So bookmark this page, because we’re going to give you a guide on where to drink in the KL city centre.

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Pinchos Tapas Bar

Not all bars in Changkat are tourist traps — Pinchos Tapas Bar is proof of that. Having been around for over 20 years, Pinchos has established itself as one of the most reliable places to get your cocktails with a side of tapas. While some bars pride themselves on executing experimental and creative cocktails, Pinchos sticks to what they’re good at: classic cocktails. Come on over and knock back a negroni or two, and finish off your night with a potent espresso martini. You won’t regret it.

Pinchos Tapas Bar, 18, Changkat Bukit Bintang, Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, +603-2145 8482.

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Located 24-storeys up in a high-rise building, Coppersmith is a swanky bar that is located on the same floor as neighbouring F&B outlets such as Fuego, Cantaloupe, and more. Try some of the bartenders’ insanely experimental cocktails, or indulge in the classics like a Whisky Sour or dry martini. Whatever your pick, you’ll be sipping them with a great view of the KL cityscape.

Coppersmith, Level 23A Tower B, The Troika, 19 Persiaran KLCC, 50450 Kuala Lumpur.

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Kenshin takes over Tate in the Intermark as another new hidden bar, except with a samurai element. The bar focuses on whisky and sake, but they also present a decent selection of cocktails inspired by Southeast Asia. Think ingredients such as Indonesian Jamu, cempedak-infused dark rum, Sabah’s kopi Tenom, and more. 

Kenshin, G-03A Ground Floor, The Intermark, 348 Jalan Tun Razak, 50400 Kuala Lumpur, +603-2181 2861.

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Omakase + Appreciate

One of the oldest hidden bars, Omakase + Appreciate is a snug fit hidden behind a utility room door. Despite its cosy space, you’ll find that the bar will be filled on Friday nights and weekends. Each of the bartenders has their own speciality menu, which they change up from time to time.

Omakase + Appreciate, Ampang Bangunan Ming Annexe, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, +603-2022 2238.

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Bars with old Chinese vibes may be overtaking the city, but PS150 was the first to pioneer the style. Also a hidden cocktail bar in Petaling Street, you’ll find the entrance behind a storefront moonlighting as a vintage toy store. PS150 is divided into three distinguishable sections: the frontmost being the Opium Den, a dimly lit section with cosy seating perfect for couples. Pushing another wooden door, you’ll come to the open-air courtyard named Tiki, made for bigger groups. Finally, the last section is the main bar area where you can watch the bartenders in action.

PS150, 150 Ground Floor, Jalan Petaling, Kuala Lumpur, +603-7622 8777.

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Saro Lounge

Saro Lounge is a new bar that recently opened in upscale shopping mall Pavilion Kuala Lumpur. You don’t have to enjoy your cocktails with an empty stomach, because Saro Lounge serves tapas as well. The bar’s speciality is using premium spirits in its cocktails, crafted experienced bartender Jonathan Zarsadias. The menu however, sees a Thai focus thanks to chef  Nopporn Nutto.

Saro Lounge, Unit L8.104.00, Pavilion Elite, 166, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Bukit Bintang, Pavilion Elite, Kuala Lumpur, +6019-997 5091.

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Fu Luck Bar

Fu Luck Bar opened earlier this month to the myriad of nightlife F&B outlets inside TREC KL. The vintage-themed bar pays homage to pop culture from back in the day, giving us a sense of nostalgia. White Rabbit candies, box televisions with antennas, green soldier figurines, and more adorn the interior of the bar. Food and beverage also take on a localised twist, with their signature being the Ice Kacang cocktails. Feeling peckish? Try some contemporary dim sums, or indulge in a hearty bowl of wanton noodles. It’s no ordinary wanton noodles as well because it comes from the 62-year-old Pudu Chan Fatt Wanton Mee.

Fu Luck Bar, 438 Jalan Tun Razak, Electric Boulevard E-G04, 50400 Kuala Lumpur, +603-2110 6938.

PohNee Chin
Editor, Kuala Lumpur
Poh Nee is the editor and writes about travel and drinks. When she's not living out her holiday dreams via Google Earth and sipping on an Old Fashioned down at the local bars, you can find her snug at home bingeing on Netflix and mystery fiction.
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