Best Bars in Penang: A Guide For Where To Drink in Malaysia’s Food Capital

A trip to Malaysia‘s Pearl of the Orient tends to end with a bowl of streetside chendol in the sweltering heat. But thanks to Penang‘s burgeoning cocktail scene, there’s a new way to cool off after a day of food-hunting and mural-watching.

Out of Nowhere

Out of Nowhere’s quirky orange entrance is more than cool… it’s in a fridge. A modish new world behind closed doors, the Narnian experience doesn’t end there — eclectic drinks come in visually exciting serves: try the Thorn to be Wild (RM38), a mix of Red Bush Whiskey and tart hawthorn, finished with cinnamon and ginger and a whole frozen apple for a chilled autumnal drink.

Out of Nowhere is located at 75 , Jalan Kuala Kangsar, George Town, Malaysia, p. +60 16220 7375. Opens Mon, Wed, Thu 7pm-1am; Fri-Sat 7pm-2am; Sun 7pm-12am; Closed Tue.

Magazine 63

Hidden in the corner of Magazine road, Magazine 63 doesn’t skimp on the ambiance. The folks behind one of Penang’s oldest speakeasies emulate “first generation” drinking to a T — from perusing shelves of baijiu in traditional flasks to drinking directly from bowls (in their signature Nu Er Hong, a Graveyard-inspired serve of beer, vodka, gin, rum, and tequila) — whisking drinkers to Dynastic times.

Magazine 63 is located at 63 Jalan Magazine, George Town, Malaysia, p. +60 17636 355. Opens daily from 8am-3am.

Beso Rosado by Chin Chin

Formerly known as the less-than tongue-in-cheek Golden Shower, Beso Rosado by Chin Chin’s renewed concept is, visually, a fever dream for foodie instagrammers. The iconic pink wraparound bar offers a Mediterranean food and drink menu; Try My Grandma’s Memory if you’re into tropical drinks, which plays up flavours like galangal, lemongrass, and coconut – quintessential ingredients of any Penangite’s palate.

Beso Rosado by Chin Chin is located at 86 Lebuh Bishop Pinang, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia, p. +60 4263 6868. Opens Mon-Thu 5pm-1am; Thu 12pm-1am; Fri-Sun 12pm-3am.

GoodFriendsClub

A kopitiam-inspired bar that lets you live out your beer-uncle (or auntie) fantasies, but with cocktails instead? Yes, please. Drive by Jalan Gurdwara at night and you’ll easily spot the neon pink signage that illuminates the hipster shopfront at Hin Bus Depot. The local haunt is frequented by tourists and townies alike, with tipples like Lao Hao Peng (made with nutmeg tincture) served on nostalgic steel roundtables and stools — perfect for a laid-back jaunt with old friends.

GoodFriendsClub is located at 39, Jalan Gurdwara, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia, p. +60 10550 1204. Opens Wed-Mon from 7pm-1am.

Micke’s Place

Georgetown’s Love Lane is synonymous with Penang’s most gentrified bar neighbourhood, and Micke’s is undoubtedly one of the better ones on the strip. A dive bar known for fantastic live music and decent pizza, It’s not for starched-collared sticklers seeking artisanal cocktails, but is still a great option if you’re looking to soak in the street’s atmosphere and smoke shisha.

Micke’s Place is located at 94, Lorong Love, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysiam p. +60 12493 8279. Opens daily from 12pm-3am.

Backdoor Bodega

The GoodFriendsClub bar is a front for the uber elusive Backdoor Bodega. Rest assured that a trip here won’t leave you sober, though a quick check on social media doesn’t reveal much about the self-proclaimed “overpriced pin shop”. Cocktails are heavily influenced by the flavours of Malaysia and Penang, like the coconut-infused, rum-based Kepala Hotak.

Backdoor Bodega is located at 37B Jalan Gurdwara,George Town, Malaysia. Opens Thu-Sun 10pm-1am.

Mish Mash

A cornerstone of Penang’s cocktail scene that’s been crowned Bar of the Year in Penang, Mish Mash recently celebrated their fifth anniversary in March. We can definitely appreciate homemade ginger beer that makes their signature Moscow Mule extra peppery and fresh. Feeling experimental? The Till Death Do Us Part comes with a soft touch of durian, aged rum, fresh lime and sugar.

Mish Mash is located at 24, Muntri St, Georgetown, 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia, p. +60 17-536 5128. Opens Tue-Sun 5pm-12am.

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