In Kuala Lumpur, most folks tend to spend their nightlife around pubs, discos and karaoke dens. Aside from clubs, pubs and disco, Mamak stalls (hawker stalls operated by Indian Muslim) are also popular gathering places among the KL folks especially during the weekend among the youths.
Apart from that, Karaoke lounges are as popular as the pubs and cafes for a get-together and a pleasant relaxation hour. The famous Karaoke joint in Malaysia should be RedBox. You can find it in almost every major shopping mall in Malaysia. If you don’t like clubbing, you can opt for a simple fix for your nightlife by catching a movie at the GSC and TGV cinemas which offers mid-night shows on Friday and Saturday. They are available in major shopping complexes in Malaysia.
The clubs and discos in KL may be the trendsetters, but they have a shorter shelf-life and pubs stick around longer, particularly the neighborhood ones. Generally club crowds swell after 11pm or even midnight, and there is a cover charge on Friday and Saturday, which includes one drink from a limited menu.
Be aware that the some pubs and discos charge more for the same drink if you order it the second time off the menu. I think that this doesn’t make sense since it will be cheaper if I get out of the pubs and re-pay the cover charge again for the drinks. In most places, jeans, shorts, collarless T-shirts and sandals are not allowed and yuppies dress to kill.
Live bands are also popular and usually play three sets from 10pm onwards. Almost all the larger hotels have bars featuring live music. This is usually broad-appeal, middle-of-the-road music, so hotel lounges are not listed here unless they have a reputation for something different.
Some of the popular places for clubbing and pubs hopping are located along Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Ampang areas. For the location of these streets, you can browse thru the Kuala Lumpur Travel Guide page and there are maps (Look for Bukit Bintang Map) at the bottom of the page.
The Renaissance Hotel’s basement bar, Cream is a post-dinner hangout. Cafes are also favorite places for relaxing and a get-together after a shopping trip. Among the favorite cafes across the stretch of this street is the Hard Rock Café at Concorde Hotel, with great local and international live acts and a small dance floor.
Long queues form at the weekend, so go early or book a table for a meal. Concord also has a popular lounge with good acts. Down Jalan Sultan Ismail and into Jalan P. Ramlee near the Petronas Twin Towers are a host of sidewalk coffee shops and eateries, including Red’s Café, TGI Fridays and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.
Some famous clubs are the Espanda, a magnet for international DJs and KL’s hip crowd, the ever-so-yuppie Modesto’s and 12SI, a massive multiple club and pub complex featuring mainly house music. Nouvo features ‘boutique club’ house music flavored with disco, Latin, Afro and Cuban inflections while fun and zany Beach Club attracts a mixed bunch of locals, expatriates and tourists. Flavor of the month is the distinctive dome of Zouk, scoring a name as one of KL’s hottest dance spots.
The Backroom behind Shangri-La plays techno and house at the front section, and raves at the back, and has younger crowd. At Hilton PJ, the older, more laidback crowd gets groovy on the dance floo after dinner at Uncle Chilli’s Fun Pub and Restaurant.
For something more exclusive, head for the Kit Kat Club at Sheraton Imperial Hotel. A similar crowd hangs out at Istana Hotel’s Musictheque, with its huge dance floor, karaoke rooms and huge video walls and a high cover charge.
The Bukit Bintang area has numerous open-air relaxed, café-type joints. Viper Room at KL Plaza is a trendy favorite, with a widely-stocked wine cellar that pulls in the sophisticated crowd.
The Palm Beach caters to an enthusiastic crowd. Planet Hollywood has regular live acts featuring local artists playing to full houses on weekends. The Club de Macau is an established joint in Renaissance Hotel, Jalan Ampang, which attracts business executives.
For more nightspots and good food, head out to Desa Seri Hartamas. Souled Out Café is an established bistro-style joint that is always packed. Live bands regularly play here. Other nightspots worth visiting are The Orange and Background Pub, both of which cater mostly to younger crowd. Bistro 1957 regularly features live, one-man acts playing to a crowd similar to Souled Out Café’s.