Kuala Lumpur maybe the heart of the modern Malaysian economy, but it has a less stuffy side and revellers will have no trouble finding a party or two. There are swanky lounge bars filled with oil executive expats and backpacker dives offering cheap beer and rock tunes. Or if your feet are itching then head out to the dance clubs of KLCC where Jalans Ampang, P. Ramlee and Sultan Ismail fill with throngs of young Malaysians intent on grooving until dawn.
Many of the city’s classiest establishments line the Golden Triangle district. Here you can gorge on sushi, tapas or imported Argentine steak whilst drinking Guinness or the best boutique beers from continental Europe. These bars usually start off as restaurants for the early evening crowds but become bustling watering holes later on.
Drinking are exorbitantly expensive compared with the rest of Asia (and even the West) as this is still an Islamic society which frowns on alcoholic excess. Whilst Bukit Bintang proper is where many of KL’s swankiest hotel bars and karaoke lounges are found, nip down nearby Changkat Bukit Bintang for the best city centre nightlife.
Cuban-themed Hemingway’s, on Changkat Bukit Bintang, offers cuba libres and mojitos served up with true Latin style and is popular with the KL expat crowd. Nearby Ceylon Bar serves up spicy sub-continental curries and dosas while not being afraid to mix a mean cocktail at the same time.
Those with cash to splash should head down to the trendy expat neighbourhood of Bangsar to the west of the city centre. The grid of Telawi streets are home to countless bistros and eateries that fill up in the evening with suited pool sharks and sports fans hoping to catch the latest English Premier League matches.
Give The Social (57 Jalan Telawi 3) a try for it’s decent international menu, happy hour promotions and friendly staff. Around the corner is Gas Works, a homage to racing enthusiasts with motoring memorabilia hanging from the walls and dishes named after stars of the track.
Chinatown is where budget travellers eat, sleep and party so this means here can be found some of the cheapest pubs and bars in KL. Most of the streetside restaurants are happy to accommodate visitors for a few al fresco beers which is perfect for people-watching and catching up on the latest gossip.
The most popular backpacker drinking hole in Chinatown is Reggae Bar, found on Jalan Tun H. S. Lee. There’s a busy hostel upstairs which guarantees a lively atmosphere and some of the cheapest drink deals in the city. Nearby, The Beatles Bar operates on the same guidelines with inexpensive beer and a chilled atmosphere with tunes geared towards fans of the fab four.
For those that want to get serious and hit the town until dawn then the discos and dance clubs of KLCC is where you should head. Nouvo, found on Jalan Sultan Ismail, is booked up with top DJ names from across the US and Europe.Zouk, on Jalan Ampang, is the latest of a Singapore-owned club franchise of the same name and boasts the largest dance floor in the city.
Beach Club Café is a popular nightclub which opens early with decent-value lunchtime food deals. Later on live music sets off the beach theme as the traveller-heavy crowd does its thing. Pulse Ultra Club is a brand new concept venue overlooking Bintang Walk with elegant champagne lounge and bustling dance floor blaring out the latest pop classics. Or Hawaiian-themed Aloha Club, on Jalan P Ramlee, has food, drinks and enough loud shirts to match the music.