Coley, Kuala Lumpur

The Buzz

Owner CK Kho

With an industry veteran like CK Kho at its helm, and bartenders like Caden Chua who was The Rising Star at The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2018, it’s no wonder that Coley is one of the top 50 bars in Asia. Ranking No. 27 on the list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2019, 19 spots higher from No. 46 the year before. They were also the Bar of the Year in The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur in 2018. 

The Setting

Previously located in the back half of Dr. Inc cafe when it opened in 2016, Coley moved into its own space last year. Behind the unassuming entrance, you’ll find a circular-shaped entry way into an area with a high curved ceiling. If you’re there in the early evening, it feels like walking out of the heat and hustle of the city into a cool, quiet cave. There’s a al fresco vibe to go with the generally casual atmosphere, even when it gets bustling later in the night.

There’s not much room along the bar – only eight seats – but most might prefer the low tables with comfy stools and couches. Guests from different parties are encouraged to share tables, which can be fun if you enjoy meeting new people. The music was barely noticeable and that’s exactly what owner CK intended – a soundscape of bartenders shaking cocktails and conversations between guests. 

The Drinks

The menu is simple and the drinks are divided into three sections – classics, signature, and koktel. The last is designed for the beer-drinking crowd and those new to cocktails. Featuring drinks inspired by local beverages like Gin & Coconut and Whisky & Bubble Tea (it tastes exactly like bubble tea, except you’ll feel a warm glow when you’re done), but it can be a refreshing change even for those who like their cocktails complex. Priced at MYR25, these are low ABV and easy on the pocket as well. 

For the cocktail connoisseurs, there are twists on the classics for something with a more familiar starting ground. Amongst the signature cocktails, guests will find winners like the floral Champ D’or, a gin-based tipple that’s superbly balanced, or the nostalgic Peanut Butter & Jelly that aims to recreate a childhood snack in liquid form. Drinks from these two sections range from MYR40 to 50. 

Plus…

While Coley doesn’t have a full-fledged kitchen, snacks are available. They occasionally collaborate with other industry professionals for one-off events, the latest being with Wurst KL, Brewdog, and Taps Beer Bar, which featured craft beers, beer cocktails and homemade sausages. 

The culture and philosophy at Coley is very much a product of the interaction between bartenders and the guests. Drinks are constantly being improved to suit guest preferences, some of the greetings that the bartenders use are even inspired by their regular customers. Listen out for the bartenders’ collective howling when something exciting happens at the bar. 

Venue Details

Address: Jalan Bangsar, 6- G, Jalan Abdullah, Bangsar Park, 59000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Phone: +60 019 270 9179
Website: https://www.facebook.com/LongLiveColey
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 5pm-1am, closed Sundays.

All images courtesy of NZ Phang.

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