This post was originally featured on Drew Binsky’s website, TheHungryPartier.com. It has been copied below. I am very thankful to Drew for my first collaboration as a travel blogger. It’s been a big step in this process. The original post can be found here. His website features Nightlife Guides for over 25 other cities!
Kuala Lumpur Nightlife – General Info
Since Malaysia is a Muslim country, most people wouldn’t think of Kuala Lumpur as having a great nightlife scene but you’d be surprised at how many unique bars and truly awesome clubs the city has to offer. Most of the well-known bars surround the main city center area and a few boast of their amazing views of the 442 meter tall Petronas Towers.
Main Nightlife Areas of KL:
KL City Center (KLCC): Known as the area surrounding the Petronas towers, mostly consists of nicer higher end hotels, restaurants and bars.
Changkat Bukit Bintang & Jalan Alor: Jalan (literally translating to street) Alor is the go to for all things food. The street is scattered with roadside restaurants and tourist souvenirs. Most places sell very similar food so grab a plastic chair and order up before you walk over to the next street over to start your night. Jalan Alor borders Changkat, known as the biggest nightlife center of KL. Bars and clubs cover every inch of the street. Legend has it the further down the street you get, the crazier your night is going to be.
Bangsar: Bangsar houses more of the local/expat nightlife scene. Most often this is the area you go to if you want to grab a drink after work and just hang out.
Most places in KLCC and Changkat expect you to dress nice. I’ve seen guys turned away for wearing flip-flops and shorts at places like Skybar and Helilounge.
A lot of food places in Malaysia are Halal and thus sell no alcohol, so if you’re looking to drink, find a bar.
Uber is by far the best way to get around Kuala Lumpur. Uber is cheaper and more reliable than the cab drivers who will often overcharge you.
Its super easy to find food at any time of night. Most mamak stall’s (places selling Malay, Indian and Chinese food) are open 24 hours.
Since more than 60% of Malaysians are Muslim, the bars cater to the Chinese and Indian populations as well as expats and tourists.
*Malaysia’s economy has been up and down quite a bit lately in terms of the US exchange rate, so the below prices are given in local currency (Malaysian Ringgit).
The Best Bars in Kuala Lumpur
1. Helilounge, Bukit Bintang
Drinking on top of an active Helipad? Ya, you can do that in KL.
Sitting on the 34th floor of the Menara KH, Helilounge by far has the most beautiful view of the KL skyline. The views alone make it worth checking out and they make pretty good drinks too. The place is packed around sunset so make sure to get there early if you want a seat to watch the sun setting behind the KL tower.
Tips: Call ahead, sometimes closed for special events. Don’t wear heels, there’s a lot of stairs to get up the last few floors although an elevator will take you up most of the way.
Price: RM 30 to 40 for a typical cocktail more if you want something special.
2. Skybar, KLCC
After oohing and aahing at the enormous Petronas Towers at Suria KLCC, take a walk through the park over to the Trader’s Hotel. The Skybar boasts of an upclose view of the towers, typically has a decent music selection and a pretty awesome atmosphere, not to mention a pool in the middle of the bar. On the weekends and Wednesday nights, the Skybar is typically packed and the back area turns into a dance floor. People have been known to fall in the pool as the night goes on.
Tips: Don’t come here on an off night (Sundays are dead). Wednesday night is the best and busiest night of the week since its ladies night which includes free cocktails from 6pm to 11pm. They’re typically pretty weak but who can be picky when they’re free? Also, guys, find a girl who can grab you drinks, they aren’t strict about who’s actually drinking the free cocktails.
Price: RM 40 to 50 per drink, up to RM 200 or 300 for some top shelf Whisky and such.
3. Rock Bottom, Bangsar
Looking for something different to do? Check out Rock Bottom on Wednesdays for their quiz night or on Thursdays for ladies night. Rock Bottom’s quiz night includes questions about current events, sports, pop-culture, politics and science. Don’t worry if you only have a few people, you can always team up with another group. Check out their upcoming events on their Facebook.
Tips: If you go out in Bangsar, keep your eyes peeled for the Ramly burger stall on the corner of Jalan Telawi 2 and Jalan Telawi 4. This is the go to drunk food for Malaysians, it’s basically a grilled burger wrapped in scrambled egg.
Price: RM 10 to 20 beers.
Best Bar for Live Music:
Merdekarya, Petaling Jaya (PJ)
Right on the border of PJ and KL, Merdekarya is a 20-minute drive from the City Center but is the go to place for live music. While there are many small bars and cafes throughout KL offering live music, most play a similar set list of popular songs from the early 2000s to today. Merdekarya is the only place I’ve found where independent local artists play their originals in addition to some pretty obscure covers. Genres vary from rock to singer-songwriter. Check out their event calendar on their website.
Tips: This place is off the beaten track and kind of hard to find. If you get dropped off next to the park, look for the Indian restaurant. From there you have to walk around the corner through a kinda sketcky looking fence and up the stairs. If it wasn’t hidden, it wouldn’t be cool right?
Price: No cover, RM 10 drinks
Best Clubs in KL:
- Havana, Changkat Bukit Bintang
Havana is the best place to start off your Friday or Saturday night. What looks like an ordinary bar from the outside, has a second floor that turns into a dance floor at night. Havana is packed by 11pm on the weekends and plays a large variety of top 40 style music: anything from Shakira and Journey to Spice Girls. They also host Salsa nights on Tuesdays and Sundays, and Mojito Monday promotions. Check out any upcoming events on their Facebook.
Price: Typically no cover, RM 30 during special events. RM 100 for a bucket of 5 beers. Open until 3am on weekends.
2. Zion, Changkat Bukit Bintang
Just a block down from Havana is KL’s newest club, Zion. The club boasts of two different venues Phabric and 808 that are accessible from the same entrance. Phabric plays your typical house and EDM music, with comfy VIP tables surrounding a large dance floor. Since it just opened earlier this year, Phabric has the best lighting and sound systems in KL. In the same building, 808 plays hip-hop and R&B sometimes with somewhat of a techno back beat. 808 has a slightly more chill-out vibe but both places hold the two largest and most modern dance floors in KL. They post their upcoming events on their Facebook.
Tips: Check out some remarkable female DJs at Phabric mixing it up on Thursday nights.
Price: Cover RM 50, or buy a bottle for 500 to get free entry. Open until 5am on weekends.