Updated in March 2019.
Did you know about the time when alcohol was made illegal (in America)? There was a nationwide constitutional ban on the sale, production, importation, distribution and transportation of alcoholic beverages from 1920 to 1933; this was known as the Prohibition Era. Hence, the creation of speakeasies. The term ‘speakeasy’ came about during this time which translates into an illicit drinking spot. Thanks to bootlegging, gangsters remained in money while people remained intoxicated.
Today, speakeasy refers to a legal, prohibition themed bar with no visible signboards, mostly wooden slates providing the wholly abandoned look. Unfortunately (but thankfully, nonetheless), you’re going to be getting no bathtub gin nor moonshine. We’re glad KL has kept up with the speakeasy trend as you may be able to find one at every nook and cranny of the city. Here is Venuescape’s guide to Kuala Lumpur’s best secret and hidden bars.
Spoilers Alert: This blog post contains information on finding these venues. If you prefer to find these places on your own (and be surprised), you may stop reading…now! 😀
P&C takes us back to the Prohibition era as it is the closest to replicating a 1920s speakeasy. Its decor displays a Wanted poster of Alphonso Gabriel (better known as Al-Capone), newspaper clippings from the 1920s, and truly illustrates our weird infatuation with the Prohibition era. Ahh, the good ol’ Prohibition days!
P&C is located behind Naughty Nuri’s in Hartamas. The clue to getting to this speakeasy is to look for a structure behind Naughty Nuri’s and search for a brown steel door (made to look like wood) with a Rooster and Cat emblem. That should roughly tell you what P&C actually stands for, and no it does not stand for Private & Confidential. 😛
Opening hours: 7.00 pm til late
Way Modern Chinois (WMC) is actually a Chinese restaurant serving authentic Chinese cuisine. Its interior decor is enough for us to want to keep going back. WMC is not exactly a speakeasy either, but its startling entrance (and, of course, the restaurant itself) deserves a mention on this list.
Also located in Damansara Heights, WMC’s impressive entrance is actually an elevator door. By pressing the elevator button, the elevator opens thereby granting you access into this beautiful Chinese restaurant.
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday 12.00 pm – 3.00 pm / 6.00 pm – 10.30 pm
Well tucked above Nara Kitchen & Co, this speakeasy Whisky bar is easily missed by the masses due to their dimly lit interior and absence of signage. Make your way upstairs and look out for a wooden door which will bring you into 61 Monarchy.
61 Monarchy prides itself with an extensive collection of Whisky from all around the world, this hidden gem is literally filled with the rarest of gems. Expect yourself to have a difficulty in picking which drink to order as they present to you an (almost) endless list of whisky collections.
Operation Hours – Daily: 5PM – 2AM, Closes every Sunday
HYDE is a speakeasy cocktail bar which exudes elegance and glamour once you step into their premise. Their sleek interior invites you to join them for a drink over at their luxurious oversized couches or at their marble-topped bar.
Hyde focuses on hand-crafted cocktails that are available in a menu which changes every fortnight. Make your way to HYDE through a small stairway at the side of The Good Batch Café and look out for a black door which brings you to a whole new world!
Operation Hours : Daily: 5PM – 2AM, Closes every Monday
CHAZE (the lounge) is inspired by Chaze (the persona) who is a suave and enigmatic man who enjoys hosting parties, appreciates good music, has good fashion sense and most importantly has an acquired taste especially in distilled beverages. Let Chaze host you in his sleek lounge masked as his loft where low lights and deep house music expresses the modern speakeasy ambiance upon your arrival!
Located along Persiaran Tropicana in MARQUEE @ Menara Lien Hoe, walk through a dimly-lit hallway before coming to an 8 feet high unmarked door. You will be greeted by his Wardrobe, showcasing local designers’ in-season fashion pieces. Unveil the velvet curtains to enter this modern day speakeasy!
Opening Hours: Mondays to Thursdays 5:00 pm – 1:00 am, Fridays to Saturdays 5:00 pm – 2:00 am. Close Sundays
Introducing to you the new kid in (China)town. PS150 is a space which will transport you in time and space, serving you unique mixes from their cocktail list which is divided up into 5 distinct eras. Befitting its location in Chinatown, Far Eastern accents liven up the bar as the interior transports you back to a darker and yet exciting time in our city’s past.
PS150 is housed in a pre-war shop which snakes around a tiny stationery shop and located below the popular café, Merchant’s Lane. Hunt for a doorway which would lead you to an airy outdoor terrace that will eventually culminates in a dramatic and atmospheric bar in the depths of the shop.
Opening Hours: Tueday-Saturday, 6pm-2am; Sunday, 3pm-10pm
As the name suggest, this private and tucked away speakeasy bar in TTDI exudes class and sophistication in its intimate space. Founded by a group of wine enthusiasts, Private Room is a perfect sanctuary for people who yearn to unwind after a long day over quality drinks, friends and music.
To get there, find a yellow door along Persiaran Zaaba and let yourself in. If you had made a reservation, you’d be given a top secret door access passcode, making your experience an exclusive one. Fret not if you’re here on a spontaneous whim, someone will greet you at the door instead!
Opening Hours: Monday-Thursday, 5pm-1am; Friday-Saturday, 5pm-2am
Situated in a back alley at Plaza Damansara (just behind Huckleberry!) and perhaps unbeknown to the unadventurous, Skullduggery is a bar that exudes personality. The bar is stylish and welcoming, with impressive interior set up and dim lightings for a permanent evening feel. It has a wall decorated with copper skulls
To enter, walk to the alley behind Plaza Damansara’s Huckleberry and look for the earthen-toned entrance. Then, take the stairs up which leads you to a costumed figure that shows a skull in its helmet. The bar will be on your right!
Operation hours: Tuesday-Thursday 6PM-3AM, Friday & Saturday 7PM-3AM
Located 5 mins away from Central Market and Bukit Bintang, The Attic Bar is a cocktail bar that is hidden on the rooftop of one of Chinatown’s hippest hostels. As a first of its kind in Malaysia, it serves cocktails from classics to one-of-a-kind creations with local twists. In case you didn’t know, The Attic Bar has been voted as one of the best cocktail bars in Kuala Lumpur by Time Out KL!
Here’s how to find this place: you need to go through a nondescript glass door of the hostel with a red lantern inside. Walk up to the first floor where the hostel reception is and ask for directions. The way up to the Attic is a sightseeing adventure, through old wooden stairs and a pathway reminiscent of an old Chinatown street whereby you climb up an old-school spiral staircase which whizzes you up to your destination for the night.
Operation hours: Daily 5PM-2AM
Suzie Wong welcomes you into the world where east and west collides in a grandeur and seductive pleasure. It brings you to another era with its vintage and quirky decor, giving you a great atmosphere. Suzie Wong captures the glamorous and hedonistic spirit of Hong Kong’s bar scene in the 1950s, complete with a dramatically decked out main stage, lounge sofas, birdcage chandeliers and more.
One is greeted by a vintage ‘won ton noodle’ signage in Hong Kong style stall complete with wooden bench and tables. Enriched by perfumes of steamy savoury braised soups, this is the entrance to Suzie Wong!
Operation hours: Monday-Friday: 4PM-3AM, Saturday: 6PM-3AM, Closed on Sunday
The Pawn Room is a wonderland with an oriental twist bar, drawing inspiration from ancient pawn shop. The Pawn Room is a wonderland with an oriental old-world twist by drawing inspiration from ancient pawn shop and the 1920s Shanghai’s fanciful spirit. As the name suggest, The Pawn Room also inherits the spirit of Chinese pawn shop by allowing customers to trade their belongings or services for cocktails on particular nights!
This bar is hidden up a few flight of stairs. To get there, look out for the staircase located next to DC Restaurant and walk through the quiet staircase (don’t worry, you’ll be there soon). Then, push through the antique iron gate and the Chinese herbal cabinet facade, and you are in for a visual treat!
Operation hours: Monday-Thursday 5PM-1AM, Friday & Saturday 5PM-2AM, Closed on Sunday
Hidden above Tujoh cafe in Petaling Jaya, the founding of Mrs Jones’ Parlour is a tribute to the love of gin and wine. The bar is inspired by an old-Malaya charm with roaring 1960s décor, minimalist undertones and joined by handcrafted gin cocktails. Beloved Gin & Wine adventurers can indulge in their stellar collection from all around the world and pair it with a wide range of tonics and garnishes.
To get here, look for Tujoh Cafe and walk up the staircases next to it. You will get welcomed by a homey, quirky and retro-style interior which will transport you back to the good old days of how our grandparents’ house look like!
Operation hours: Monday-Thursday 5PM-1AM, Friday & Saturday 5PM-2AM, Closed on Sunday
If you enjoyed this post, do share it with your friends. Also, please share with us your experience in any of these venues. If we missed out on any, do add on to the list in the comment section below. In case you are looking for a venue for your event, check out Venuescape for more venues or contact us at +6016-7200 347.
Pssst, let’s pretend we folded this up and passed it to you under the desk.
Have a good one!