5 Best Nightlife in Kuala Lumpur Chinatown
Best places to go at night in Chinatown Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur’s cramped and colourful Chinatown is no different from its counterparts around the world. It is an exotic emporium where you will find temples, tea houses, kopitiams (coffee shops) and a thriving street market scene, making it one of the country’s greatest tourist draws.
Shopping and eating are the main attractions here and come nightfall this is not the sort of area you head to when you are in the mood to get footloose – rather it is perfect to see some of the city’s alternative nightlife offerings. From an art gallery with a café that morphs into bar at night, to a 24-hour snooker centre, check out our Top Five picks for the best places to go at night in KL’s Chinatown!
- Half-Day City Highlights Tour
- Best City Highlights Half-Day Tour
- City Tour After Dark with Dinner
- Private Traditional Cooking Lesson
- Private Half-Day City Heritage Tour with Lunch
- Heritage Buildings & Icon of City Tour
- Private Night Heritage Trails
- Guided Perdana Botanical Gardens Tour
- Evening Street Food Walking Shared Tour
- Private City Street Eats Evening Tour of Chinatown
1Bar Art at The Warehouse0
One of the best off-the-radar institutions to spend time at appreciating local artwork, Bar Art at The Warehouse is an alternative space that transforms from a cute, quirky café during the day into a bustling bar, with a rotating roster of local artwork. Easily carving out space between two worlds, the bar’s menu of drinks is limited to beers and reasonably-priced classic cocktails.
Showcasing an impressive array of urban and regional artists, their exhibits are pretty quirky at times – for example, a canary-yellow mannequin with a bronze, octopus-like art installation on its neck. 90s indie rock music such as Radiohead and Collective Soul plays overhead, and the décor (Renaissance-style couches, paint-splashed garden chairs and tables, and fairy lights) is worn-out and whimsical, which just makes it that much more cool.
2Petaling Street Night Market0
- Opening Hours: 10:00 – 1:00 Tuesday – Sunday
- Address: 198, Jalan Tun HS Lee, Kuala Lumpur
- Tel: +603 2022 0528
If you are looking for a more down-to-earth Kuala Lumpur Chinatown nightlife experience, veer off course from the main road (Jalan Petaling) and head into the narrow side streets where the area’s thriving street market is, with stalls cluttered close to one another, selling everything from Hello Kitty watches to fake-label Gucci clutches. Simply called Petaling Street by locals, it is the go-to place if you want to purchase local handicrafts, souvenirs and batik-print shirts, largely because it is so much cheaper here than in large indoor air-conditioned handicraft emporiums like Central Market.
Additionally, the stalls along these streets have also gained a reputation for supplying the city’s locals with knockoff designer apparel, handbags, shoes, watches and even, pirated DVDs. If you are looking for some bargain merchandise we recommend strolling along, ‘window-shopping’ first, bargaining as you go along – then return to the stalls which offer the best prices and make your final purchases. A good rule of thumb – prices quoted by the seller are usually marked up by approximately 50 percent.
- Opening Hours: 09:00 – 12:00 & 18:00 - late
- Location: Along Petaling Street and the intersecting road, Jalan Hang Lekir
- Tel: +603 2693 6661
The colourful, dimly-lit Golden Break resembles quite a number of fun-filled bars in the city – the only difference is that here patrons are a little more sedate and their focus is on the pool tables. Just so there is no mistaking its serious attitude towards snooker, the bar has three tables set up at the front of the house: walk past them and you will see the bar lined up along one of its turquoise walls, along with several dart boards for those not keen on pool.
Part of a chain of snooker centres, it is a great place to grab a pint of beer after some shopping along Petaling Street: we love the fact that it is not too crowded, the atmosphere is friendly and there is free Wi-Fi. Add to that the fact that it is open 24-hours, and we have truly found a great Kuala Lumpur Chinatown neighbourhood bar.
4The Hub Café Bar0
- Opening Hours: 24 hours
- Location: Jalan Petaling
Part of The Five Elements Hotel, The Hub Café Bar is quite a surprising find in Kuala Lumpur Chinatown. It can be found on the ground floor of the hotel, which puts it just across the road from the hustle and bustle of the thriving Petaling Street market. Seating areas are divided into two sections – an indoor space with air conditioning, and an al fresco area where you can watch tourists and locals walk by carrying their Petaling Street bounty.
There is a food menu focusing on Western specialties like deep fried calamari, wood-fired pizzas, but if you are thirsty the bar is more than willing to oblige with classic cocktails, beers and spirits available. Prices are not too bad – we paid RM40 for a fruity cocktail and a chicken-and-pineapple pizza.
5Restoran Kim Lian Kee0
- Opening Hours: 15:00 – 23:00
- Address: Lot 243, Jalan Sultan (Chinatown), 50000 Kuala Lumpur
- Tel: +603 2031 6888
If you want to drink like a local in Kuala Lumpur Chinatown, grab a seat at Restoran Kim Lian Kee to enjoy a bottle of beer at unbeatable prices (RM18 for a big bottle of Carlsberg beer). This Chinese restaurant is most popular for its old-fashioned hokien mee (fat yellow noodles, stir-fried and doused in thick soy sauce gravy), but it is one of our choices for a casual drink because its location in the thick of the action means you will never be too far off from Petaling Street’s shopping scene. Sit back, relax and watch the endless stream of people going about their business.
The atmosphere is friendly, the open-air seating comfortable and best of all, the restaurant is open till the wee hours of the morning (05:00), which means you can enjoy your drink all night long. A real local's tip!
- Opening Hours: 17:00 – 05:00 (Hokkien fried noodles) closed on Wednesdays
- Address: 49-51, Jalan Petaling, 55100 Kuala Lumpur
- Tel: +603 2032 4984
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