Penang — just a few hours drive up north from Kuala Lumpur and you’ll reach the state known for its rich culture and food. Historical buildings are plentiful, as are the number of stalls and restaurants. But just like KL, night life on the island is growing rapidly with a noticeable rise of speakeasy-style hidden bars in Penang.
Just like popular watering holes in Bangsar, Bukit Bintang, TTDI, and TREC in KL, the speakeasy scene in Penang is also mushrooming. The more hidden the bar is, the more people will be intrigued to visit. These hidden bars in Penang really live up to their concept of being secret, because few would have thought of using a fridge as a bar entrance (read on to find out more).
Such unique concepts also comes with tastefully decorated interiors (because being #instaworthy pulls in the crowd too). Bars like Magazine 63 stay true to its heritage by implementing Asian decor into their interiors, while Golden Shower and Out of Nowhere goes for a more modern approach with classy and minimalist interiors.
We’ve listed down 6 new hidden bars in Penang for you to discover. Be sure to put your thinking caps on as the entrance to these bars are quite concealed. Just remember that you can always call for directions.
Golden Shower is the brainchild of the chefs from ChinChin, a gastropub also located in Georgetown, Penang. Apart from their innovative small plates and an extensive list of alcohol selection, the interior is something out of a girl’s pinterest board — think hues of millennial pink and gold.
Golden Shower, 86, Lebuh Bishop, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang, +604-263 6868
Tucked in the corner of a quiet alley off Kimberly Street is this bar that appeared out of nowhere. Their cocktails menu is out of the norm. Each drink is inspired by the local food and ingredients. Hold Up! Cafe is your point of entry. Getting to the cafe is the easy part, but looking for the entrance to the bar is a tad tricky (no, we’re not revealing it.)
Out of Nowhere, 75, Jalan Kuala Kangsar, 10100 George Town, Pulau Pinang, +6016 422 0657
The bar may not be hidden, but the entry requires a secret code. The clue is said to be right beside you as you stand near the entrance, or unless you have friends that visited the bar before. Once you’re through, enjoy the live band with a pint of cold beer in your hand.
Secret Door, 211, Lebuh Carnavon, 10100 George Town, Pulau Pinang, +6016-516 1961
Each bar has their own unique essence and the same goes to Room 495. “Hidden, not speakeasy” is written on their description page and they are really indeed hidden. (Clue: they are located behind Wassup Hotel.) It’s a cozy bar with friendly staff rather than a young upbeat one.
ROOM 495, 495-F, Jalan Penang, 10000 George Town, Pulau Pinang, +604-261 0055
Magazine 63 is one of the first few bars in Penang that deploys Asian concepts into their space. Not only are the staff wearing traditional Chinese costumes but most of their drinks are served in special Chinese pottery. Searching for the bar however, takes a bit of effort. On the outside, it looks like an abandoned building with no signage. The only clue you get is the lok lok cart in front and a white flag that bears the Chinese character for ‘alcohol’.
Magazine 63, 63, Jalan Magazine, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang, +6016-499 2299
12 Senses is another Chinese inspired hidden bar in Penang. Crafting cocktails are their main speciality here, but you’ll only get to that after you’ve figured out how to go through the door. The key is the Wing Chun dummy but which lever to push exactly is yours to find out.
12 Senses, 12, Lebuh Presgrave, George Town 10300, Pulau Pinang, +6016-493 2833