Kuala Lumpur nightlife has something to appeal to all tastes but it would be foolhardy for me to attempt to provide you with a comprehensive guide to all aspects of KL nightlife.
- For a start I am over 60 years old. That makes me completely ancient and past-it as far as most nightlife is concerned. My Kuala Lumpur nightlife guide is therefore intended for the more mature audience - perhaps the independent traveller, the visiting businessman or a new expat who has nobody to show him or her around.
- The Kuala Lumpur nightlife scene is a fickle one. What is cool and fashionable this month might be out of favour by the time you read this. It would be impossible for me on my own to try to keep the information up-to-date. I would need to spend every waking moment visiting nightclubs and then I would have no time to climb mountains or do city walking tours or any of the other fun activities covered in this website. That would never do!
- People's ideas of what constitutes nightlife vary from person to person. For the younger crowd it might mean clubbing, for boozers it is sinking pint after pint in a pub, for others it is sophisticated dining and live entertainment. Non-drinkers might prefer to spend time browsing KL's colourful night markets. If, like me, you are not a dance club person and you don't know your electro from your hip-hop then read on.
- There are plenty of websites and magazines which do provide comprehensive reviews of Kuala Lumpur nightlife. Time Out Kuala Lumpur for example is an excellent source of information. Anyone wanting the names of specific nightlife venues, including some of a more salacious nature, could also refer to this website.
So instead of trying to provide you with a full list of every nightlife hotspot in KL I will instead highlight where the main nightlife areas can be found. You can then jump in a taxi to the area of your choice and wander around at your leisure until you find a venue that appeals to your taste.
I have highlighted ten main nightlife areas on the interactive map (you may need to use the left, right, pan-out and zoom-in buttons to find them all).
1. Changkat Bukit Bintang
This street runs at right angles to Jalan Bukit Bintang and includes a strip of smart but casual bars, pubs and restaurants which are popular with western expatriates and locals alike.
2. Jalan Bukit Bintang
Bukit Bintang is a long, busy, colourful and interesting street. At the end closest to Federal Hotel it is fairly shabby with cheap restaurants and shisha cafes (for the many Middle Eastern tourists) and you will have to run the gauntlet of women trying to entice you into their massage parlours, some seedier than others. In front of Low Yat Plaza is a courtyard area with an outdoor beer garden and a number of bars and restaurants which can be lively on occasions. Continuing across Jalan Sultan Ismail next to Lot 10, Jalan Bintang (Bintang Walk) becomes more upmarket and sophisticated as it approaches the smart Pavilion shopping mall.
3. Jalan P Ramlee
Close to KLCC (Petronas Twin Towers), this street contains a number of interesting-looking nightlife establishments catering to a variety of tastes.
4. Petaling Street (Chinatown)
Petaling Street is a street market open till late where shoppers can browse for bargains. There are a number of restaurants here too but less in the way of bars and clubs.
Bangsar includes a grid of streets (Jalan Telawi) containing shops, bars, clubs and restaurants. Nearby Bangsar Shopping Centre also has a few nightlife outlets. This area is popular with the expat community.
6. The Curve
Part of Mutiara Damansara in Petaling Jaya, The Curve is a shopping mall which includes a street of bars and restaurants.
7. Asian Heritage Row
As the name suggests, this is a row of old shophouses in Jalan Doraisamy which have been completely gutted and converted into a number of bars, clubs and lounges.
8. Desa Sri Hartamas
A few blocks of shops, restaurants and a couple of bars located close to Mont Kiara.
9. Sunway Pyramid
A selection of bars and clubs are located close to the main entrance of the Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall.
10. IOI Boulevard, Puchong
A long way from the city centre, a cluster of bars and restaurants is being established in the recently completed IOI Boulevard complex at Puchong. Worth a visit if you are in the vicinity.
11. TREC, Jalan Tun Razak
TREC is Kuala Lumpur’s newest happening area, a 7 acre purpose built entertainment district comprising five zones, each with their own distinct character. TREC has numerous restaurants, clubs, pubs, cocktail bars, live music venues and even a comedy club. Zouk KL, the city’s most famous night club, is an anchor tenant here. See the map above for location details.
Apologies if I have left off important nightlife areas from this list. Please feel free to Contact Me or enter your suggestions in the Facebook comment box below and I will add them if appropriate.
I have recently conducted some research on Kuala Lumpur nightlife and I have prepared a review of Kuala Lumpur's Top Bars and Cocktail Lounges for the Mature Thirsty Traveller. Please click here to see my review.