Whilst Penang has lost none of its unique, heritage charm in the 8 years since I last visited, there has been a mini explosion of hipster bars and boutique restaurants around Georgetown and I really enjoyed our nightly bar crawls across the city.
Here are my favourite places to enjoy a cocktail in Georgetown
Probably my favourite of the bars we tried, Out of Nowhere can be accessed through the “Hold Up” Cafe or through a small nondescript door down the alleyway next to it.
Out of Nowhere works from a list of 8 signatures, all made with local fruits & ingredients such as pandan, nutmeg & bunga kuntan. Try their modern interpretation of the Jungle Bird ” Jungle Trouble” made with Bacardi, Campari, nutmeg, pineapple, lime, Bunga kuntan & cane sugar, or their fun take on “Bubur”, a popular local dessert “Bubur Cha-Cha-Chai” with Beefeater gin, coconut, yam, sweet potato, pandan & sweet vermouth sago.
Expect to pay around $8-10 USD per cocktail Out of No Where
(Hold Up! café is your entry portal) Google Map
75, Jalan Kuala Kangsar, 10100 George Town.
T: +016 422 0657
We stumbled across Copper as were out on the heritage trail, and were lucky to do so as the cocktail menu was one of my favourites of the trip. Located inside the chic boutique hotel 88 Armenian, Copper is a bar and restaurant for serious foodies (all of which comes at a price, cocktail are $15)
Try one of their creative Achar pickle backs (a shot of spirit with homemade pickle brine) or “7 Elements of Coconuts” made with Havana Club Rum, Coconut & Mango
Located at, yes you guessed it 63 Magazine Street, Magazine 63 (along with Out of Nowhere) is as close to a proper speakeasy as you will find in Penang, don’t be intimidated by the tall, heavy wooden doors as a friendly welcome awaits inside.
Cocktails make use of Asian inspired ingredients such as tea infusions and local herbs and spices, I particularly enjoyed my cocktail which was essentially a gin sour with chrysanthemum tea whilst my friend was intrigued by their special cocktails named after the 4 Graces from Chinese Buddhist Sutras (writings)
Reservations recommended Friday/Saturday nights
63, Jalan Magazine, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
+60 17-636 3551
Previously known as “Golden Shower” (Yuck) Beso Rosado offers Spanish & Mediterranean inspired cuisine, and a cocktail menu from Italian bartender Francesco Moretti, more usually found travelling across Asia, doing guest stints for Perrier.
Cocktails are sectioned off depending on their flavour profile, from light and easy drinking like my grapefruit Gin & Tonic (the most successful of the drinks we tried there) to more spiritous and bitter (think variations on Negronis or smoked spirits such)
Expect to spend around $8-12 per drink
86, Lebuh Bishop, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
I really enjoyed the understated luxury of Farquhars bar at the beautiful E&O and their cocktail menu, whilst nothing ground breaking, provided some of the most consistent and best made drinks of the trip.
We were spoilt for choice from their list of classics, with their Clover Club and Negroni being worthy of a special mention (at a cost – expect to pay $12-$15 per drink)
Be sure to check opening times before visiting, most are closed until 6 or 7pm and on Sundays.