Surfacing triumphantly from a perilous past, speakeasies were formally illegal drinking dens, saloons or nightclubs that sold illicit alcoholic beverages during the Prohibition Era (1920 – 1933). Speakeasies (speak-easies) was a nickname for these bars because patrons had to whisper code words to enter the establishments. Claiming to sell soft drinks, but serving liquor behind the scenes, slang words such as ‘tarantula juice’ and ‘panther sweat’ were used to order alcohol. Today, borrowing elements from history, speakeasies are bars with inconspicuous entrance and absent signage. They are generally dimly lit spaces hidden from the general eye, requiring effort or knowledge to gain entrance, and their primary mode of sales being cocktails, because during the Prohibition Era, it was easier to mask the flavour and look of a single glass of alcohol rather than a full bottle. So here are 4 of KL’s Best Speakeasy Bars.
KL’s Best Speakeasy Bars #1: P&C (Pussy & Cockerel) Cocktail Bar
This striking hidey hole of a bar casts an enchanting vibe over all who enter. A floor-length poster of the imposing AL Capone, the first gangster alcohol supplier to the earliest speakeasies in the mid-1920’s greets guests as they walk through P&C’s forbidden doors, transporting us back to the prohibition era, days of bootleg and moonshine. Drinks to separate the gentlemen from the boys, P&C’s bold claim is tested daily with its lack of a menu, where customers describe their taste inclinations and P&C’s mixologists rise to the challenge. With imaginative cocktail creations that will steal your breath away, each concoction is specially fabricated, tailored to the whim and fancy of the adventurous alcohol explorer. With thoughtful ingredient permutations, the taste of each new blend impressed us more than the last.
Secret Location: Inside of Naugthy Nuri’s. No.2, Ground Floor, 20/70A,, Jalan Sri Hartamas 22, Desa Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 017-363 4396
KL’s Best Speakeasy Bars #2: Crime Cocktail Bar
The unique, suave mood that permeates this dimly lit enclave washes over you once you actually find its secret doors. Hidden within Crave Restaurant, an oyster bar on TREC, this speakeasy exudes sophistication and flair. Calm conversation can be made over lavish, comfortable leather cushions amid soothing jazz music. A place to put the mind at ease while enjoying the copious amounts of captivating cocktail creations. Catering specifically for the Asian palate while borrowing elements from the Mediterranean and northern Europe, the drinks here are mild with the intent of educating guests on cocktail gustatory pleasures instead of knocking them out with strong liqueur. This den of experimentation takes the risky route on use of ingredients. You’ll find exotic cocktail concoctions containing bizarre elements such as pork bacon, fish roe, peanut butter and squid ink. We fell in love with Crime’s Silk Road. A mellow, unassuming light mixture of whiskey, lime and honey, the flavour of which, comes to live when taken with its accompanying strawberry and basil wrapped up neatly in a strip of pork bacon. A place where smoking is discouraged, so as not to interfere with the aroma and taste of the exquisite cocktail blends, this truly is a place that’ll thoroughly caress all five of the natural senses.
Secret Location: Inside Crave Restaurant. TREC. 436, Jalan Tun Razak, Kelab Golf di Raja Selangor, 55000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +03 21105664
KL’s Best Speakeasy Bars #3: Locker & Loft
Step through the locker doors of Locker and Loft and you’ll find yourself in a surrounding akin to the distilleries in Europe. The bustle of the crowd and the friendly banter from the servers makes for a very entertaining atmosphere. The creators of Locker and Loft began with the desire to make cocktails accessible and fun. Stemming from that, they have created a cocktail selection at affordable prices, a merry music mood of funk, soul and jazz choices, as well as a Shake and Take program on Thursdays. Guests take their place behind a makeshift cocktail bar and attempt to fashion cocktails of their own. It’s an exhilarating experience, to learn the different ingredients, equipment and techniques that go into a single glass. Watch appreciation develop as you take the process into your own hands. Something exciting cooking up in August is Locker and Loft’s Rum Fiesta from Aug 3 to 13 where guests can participate in a myriad of rum-related activities which include rum flights, a tasting of rum samples from different countries.
Secret Location: Second floor above Ho Li Chow restaurant. 40A, Jalan SS 20/10, Jalan Damansara, Damansara Kim, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Tel: +60 3-7496 7222
KL’s Best Speakeasy Bars #4: Alexis the Bar Upstairs
Find yourself cosy and comfortable in the chilled-out setting of this semi-speakeasy, Alexis the Bar Upstairs. Preserving the classy, elegant character of its sister restaurant downstairs, the more unspoken of the two sibling establishments possesses an alluring charm of its own. Sophisticated, mellow music sets the mood for a night to unwind with beverage in hand. For ladies, the sweet, citrus notes of the Daiquiri would be a delight to the senses while the men would appreciate the deeper, more oaky tones of an Old Fashioned.
Secret Location: Right beside Alexis Wine and Bistro29A Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru, 59100 KL
Tel: +603 2284 2880