By Chris Wotton
IN a country where the lights glimmer as brightly as those of Kuala Lumpur’s famed Petronas Towers, the only difficulty about finding somewhere to wine and dine is choosing from so many fabulous options. As a popular destination for both well heeled locals and foreign tourists, Malaysia caters well to those looking to splash cash around for a truly indulgent experience both in the capital and beyond.
7 Ate Nine – pure class
7 Ate Nine at the Ascott Hotel is chic, chic, chic – chrome, glass and polished wood create the perfect atmosphere for a classy evening of drinks here. And the drinks themselves are top notch too – expect a whole host of quality cocktails mixed by professionals at the top of their game. They also have a selection of meals available on their ‘liquids and solids’ menu, and you can dine either on the mezzanine restaurant for a slower pace, or downstairs in the ‘supperclub’ for a less formal, more social atmosphere.
The Ascott Hotel, 9 Jalan Pinang, Kuala Lumpur, tel. 603 2161 7789
SkyBar – shimmering views
You don’t often get through a review of a city’s or country’s best top end bars without a very honourable mention of a rooftop spot, and there is a reason for that – quite simply, the views often make the place, and it ends up being the sights rather than the drinks that you go for. Well, the views at SkyBar in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur are indeed killer with the Petronas Towers glittering in view; you would be hard pressed to get much better than this.
The interiors, if you can pull your attention away from the outside for long enough to take them in, are smart and cool – a central pool area in this thirty third floor bar is surrounded by seating, and there is a distinctly relaxed, unpretentious atmosphere. Cocktails include a failsafe collection of classics including Long Island Ice Tea, Mai Tai and Mojito, plus some exciting and innovative twists like the Rosso Vermouth, Canadian Club Rye Whiskey and dark raisin based Raised in Manhattan and a particularly feminine take on the classic martini; lychee liqueur and rose syrup come into play, along with Belvedere vodka, to make the Lychee Rose.
If you’re keen on something that flaunts its Malaysian identity, opt for the Selangor Sling – forget Singapore, this baby boasts Tanqueray gin, cherry brandy liqueur, pineapple juice and Angostura bitters. The other drink that rather tickles our fancy is Mata D’Or, with hand pressed passion fruit and pomegranate syrup and charged with red bull.
Traders Hotel, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, tel. 603 2332 9888
Qba – Cuban nostalgia
In a part of Kuala Lumpur’s Bukit Bintang area otherwise largely dominated by backpacker hostels and guest houses and local, budget price restaurants and food stands, Qba stands out as big, brash and fun. Within the Westin Hotel, this place is one big ode to Cuba’s past and present, with its decadent interior a lavish and nostalgic recreation of pre-Castro Havana.
Great mojitos were of course always going to feature heavily at a spot like this, but there are plenty of other great choices and the upstairs grill gets rave reviews for its range of Latin American influenced dishes, including a tasting plate selection of steaks made with Argentine meat. And what sort of Cuban hideout would this be without cigars? Well, Qba has a whole cigar lounge waiting for you to sit back and puff away in.
Westin Hotel, 199 Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, tel. 603 2731 8333
The G Lounge – hits the spot
Outside of Kuala Lumpur, things are certainly no less stylish at the G Lounge, which boasts Penang’s longest hotel bar. G stands for Gurney, the road on which the hotel is built. The bar is a central part of the hotel reception itself; the aim being for check in and check out to be seamless with a drink in hand. Breathtaking ocean views from the bedrooms already set the G Hotel apart from the crowd, but if it is the bar you are interested in then you will be pleased to know that it too features designer furniture to stimulate guests’ senses, along with relaxing jazz music.
G Hotel, 168A Persiaran Gurney, Penang, tel. 604 238 0000
If you enjoyed this article and would like to find out more about travelling to Malaysia, please visit the Tourism Malaysia website
About the author…
A twenty-something with a medically incurable addiction to travel and a taste for southeast Asia in particular, Chris is a travel writer who is most at home seeking out lesser known spots and discovering their local culture and food – in Malaysia and beyond. Chris tweets @mountsushi and writes about regional and global destinations at www.theworldandhistuktuk.co.uk.