The Best Bars in George Town, Penang

Hipster interior of China House
Hipster interior of China House | © China House
Photo of Michelle Leong
16 January 2018

Had a long week at work? Travelling solo but aching for some company? Drop by one of these trippin’ bars for live music and a perk-me-up or two.

China House

Bar, Cafe, Restaurant, Fusion, $$$
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Culture Trip - The Best Bars in Penang Malaysia - China House
Hipster interior of China House | © China House

There’s a reason China House is Penang’s trendiest hangout spot right now. It doesn’t just have great drinks (hello, martini’s!) and finger-licking bar food (try the Duck Breast and Chilli Tostada) — it is also Penang’s most popular stage for local and international musicians. Most recently, China House ‘housed’ musicians for the George Town Festival. Visit on weekends for the music and crowd.


Bar, Cafe, Malaysian, Vegetarian, Wine, Beer, Cocktails
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Curaçao, George Town
Curaçao, George Town | © Curacao

This young addition to George Town’s bar scene is the first of its kind. Walled with eclectic art and ingenuously designed with UV light, the glow-in-the-dark tavern boasts innovative drinks like Panty Dropper and Karma Sutra (a cinnamon-y concoction that I highly recommend). Wanna lepak? Here’s your spot. Drinks start from RM15.

The Beach Bar

Bar, Indian, Pub Grub, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, $$$
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The Beach Bar isn’t anywhere near the beach (okay, it’s half a mile from the beach at Esplanade, but you know what I mean). Situated on the ever-popular Penang Road, this fierce, often-crowded bar is the place to hit if you want to meet DJ Sunny and dance to his mix. Ladies drink for free on Thursday nights as well.

Mish Mash

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, European, Pub Grub, $$$
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The bartenders here know what they’re doing. From lychee martini’s to Malbec sangria’s, this little place on Lebuh Muntri is a good spot to get tipsy. Their drinks are better than their food, though — so if you’re in need of some dinner, look elsewhere.

Micke's Place

Restaurant, European, Asian, Malaysian, Vegan, Vegetarian, Indian
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Micke's Place
Micke's Place

Don’t underestimate this small, unassuming venue. They’re not stingy with alcohol, so if you’re a lightweight, you might not remember the rest of the night. Go for the Chicken 65 and the Long Island Tea — you’ll settle in with their live band and next-to-the-street ambiance in no time.

Chulia Court

Bar, Bistro, Asian, Malaysian, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, $$$
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Located on one of the busiest streets in downtown Penang, Chulia Court is a heterogenous scene, fusing the best of local and international appetites. Their interior decor reflects this, too, with rattan-woven pendant lamps and Chinese lanterns adorning walls made of red brick and retro artwork.

Out of Nowhere

Bar, Cafe, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, Malaysian
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This underlit, secret bar is tucked behind the Hold Up! Cafe in Jalan Kuala Kangsar. If you’re not looking, you’ll easily miss it — but look for it you will, because the rewards are worth it. This posh, uncrowded bar means that you won’t have to squeeze up against 50 other people waiting to be served. Bartenders recommend the Baby Jesus for a caffeine kick, but if you’ve had a long work week, you might prefer The Remedy.

ThreeSixty Revolving Skybar

Bar, Restaurant, European, Asian, Malaysian, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, $$$
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For those who can afford it, the ThreeSixty sits atop the Bayview Hotel on Lebuh Farquhar, and commands top price for its drinks. You get a panoramic view of the city and sea — and a view of the buffet bar, too. Experience Penang’s top (literally) night scene and watch them mortals go about their evening life far below.

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