The 5 best bars in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah to check out
When it comes to travelling to East Malaysia, it’s fair to say that not many are actually up for it. For Sabah in particular, it somehow is almost overshadowed by its neighbour Sarawak. Of course, Sarawak has plenty to offer but so does Sabah. In particular, its capital city — Kota Kinabalu. We’ve already covered what you can do as well as where you can stay, but we have to cover the bars in Kota Kinabalu.
There are plenty of established bars in Kota Kinabalu, some of which can be found in Kuala Lumpur. However, the atmosphere is widely different with Kota Kinabalu emphasising on making comfort a priority. Another addition to these bars is that most of them are just a stone’s throw away from one another. This makes bar hopping easy and convenient, rather than having to hail a cab to get to the next destination.
While the city may not be known for much, the same can’t be said about its thriving nightlife. What’s great about going out for a drink or two in Kota Kinabalu is its diversity, much like its residents. Kota Kinabalu has plenty of places to offer, ranging from your casual neighbourhood watering holes to something a little bit more upscale and everything else in-between.
Be sure to scroll down to check out our picks of some of the best bars in Kota Kinabalu.
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We kick off our list starting with Sky Blu Bar, located on the rooftop of Gladis Hotel. What sets Sky Blu Bar apart from many others in Kota Kinabalu is its unobstructed view of Gaya Island. It is also the perfect place to be to watch the sunset over the horizon while you mull over a bottle of wine with your date. Be sure to come early to get the best seat in the house as it does tend to get crowded the closer it gets to evening time.
Sky Blu Bar
If you’re looking for something a little more secluded and intimate, you can check out Sunset Bar over at Shangri-La’s Tanjung Ara Resort and Spa. The bar design draws inspiration from the traditional indigenous homes of Borneo, which is also apparent in its cocktail menu. Sunset Bar lives up to its eponymous name with its one-of-a-kind views, ensuring that you get the best sceneries without having to jostle for a perfect seat.
For something a little more Western, you can check out Shamrock Irish Bar. Being an Irish-themed bar, one can expect your traditional Irish cuisine, topped off with a pint of Guinness because nothing screams Irish more than that. The bar is also ideally overlooking the ocean, giving you a nice cool breeze with a view to boot to go along with your day. If you’re a fan of rugby, this is also a place to be as Shamrock Irish Bar will showcase live televised games of the Six Nations Championship.
Shamrock Irish Bar
Like every popular destination, it has to have a speakeasy bar and that is what Urban & Co provides, being the first-ever to hit the city. It’s interior is dark, sensuous, and mysterious, living up to Malaysia’s reputation of putting out exceptional speakeasy. It has a wide array of cocktails and bottled liquors for you to choose from. However, on the outside of Urban & Co also resides the Oasis Beer Garden if you’re looking for something a little less snooty.
Urban & Co
Vino Vino Bistro is famous in Kota Kinabalu and it’s literally in the name. It offers a wide selection of wines to choose from coupled with pairing dishes one can opt for if you’re looking to spend a good few hours here. Vino Vino Bistro may not offer amazing views like the rest of the bars on the list, but it makes up with its classy and contemporary decor. Of course, you won’t be visiting just for its atmosphere alone — the elaborate wine list is the main attraction here.