Finding a great nightlife haunt in Penang is not difficult – after all, there are so many quirky cafés, bars and even a few thriving nightclubs spread across the island. However, when you are in the mood for a decent tasting cocktail, things get a little trickier, with only a handful of Penang’s bars employing bartenders able to produce genuinely inventive and tasty concoctions.
To help you choose the best places, we have handpicked these 5 Great Cocktail Bars in Penang. Our criterion is that each has to offer a combination of creative concoctions amidst a pleasing setting, comfy seating and music that isn’t loud enough to drown out your conversation. Check out our selections below to see which Penang cocktail bars have made the cut…
From revolving rooftop penthouses overlooking Penang, to quirky hipster hangouts in the backstreets, these 5 handpicked cocktail bars offer so much more than just shaken up liquor poured into a glass.
- Traditional English Afternoon Tea at the Eastern & Oriental Hotel
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- EZhopper Sightseeing Bus Pass
- Georgetown by Night Tour
- Island Half-Day Tour
- Private Penang Hill & Temple
- Heritage Trishaw Tour
- Private Penang Hill & High Tea at David Brown's Restaurant
- Botanic Gardens & Tropical Spice Garden Tour
- Penang Hill & Kek Lok Si Temple Tour
The first rooftop bar in Georgetown, Three Sixty Revolving Restaurant & Sky Bar is a two-level penthouse lounge topping the four-star Bayview Hotel Georgetown along Lebuh Farquhar. A weekday happy hour must, it is divided into an indoor dining hall which does a slow 360-degree turn, while outside is an open-air lounge.
The bar’s décor is minimal with comfortable white bar stools and neon lighting, allowing the view (which will make you reach for your camera in an instant) to take centre stage. It tops our list of 5 Great Cocktail Bars in Penang largely for the views but also because bartenders have concocted an awesome menu of signature cocktails that are fruity and flavourful. Our favourite is Between the Sheets (RM30), a blend of cognac, dark rum with orange liqueur, fresh lemon and sugarcane. Though the bar opens at 16:00, we recommend arriving after 19:30 when the sun goes down and the temperature at the top cools down a bit. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 16:00 – 01:00 Sunday – Thursday; 16:00 – 02:00 Friday, Saturday & eve of public holiday; 16:00 – 20:00 (Happy Hour)
- Address: 25A Lebuh Farquhar, 10200 Penang
- Tel: +604 2613 540 or +604 2633 161 (after 3pm)
There are so many reasons to love Baba Bar. This charming, rustic nightlife features some rather quirky and chic Peranakan décor with a modern twist in the form of archaic, colourful mosaic tile floors, marble table tops, a western saloon-style bar counter and heavy velvet drapes sectioning off cosy nooks. All in all, it just adds up to a space perfect for a late night lounge with a drink and when you add in the thoughtful, flavourful cocktail selections, you will be even more impressed.
Its setting in Seven Terraces technically makes it a hotel bar, but Baba Bar is far from a blues-y lounge – rather, it is more of a friendly, neighbourhood hangout with sociable staff members. Cocktails are prepared with elegant technique and the barmen are witty and humorous. Drinks-wise, expect fruity and earthy concoctions like the George Town cooler, a mix of Bombay sapphire gin and soda water, flavoured with nutmeg juice, sharp lime, sweet grenadine and longan fruit.
- Opening Hours: 14:00 – 22:30
- Address: Seven Terraces, Lorong Stewart, George Town, Penang
- Tel: +604 264 2333
The Canteen at Chinahouse is a hipster bar known for its cocktails but it also offers a thoughtful wine list, well-chosen craft beers and inventive, non-alcoholic fruit juices and smoothies. It is a quiet, inviting industrial space with 70’s era décor in the form of white canvas sketch oil paintings, metal pendant ceiling lamps and furniture in bright yellow, rust orange and olive green shades.
The Canteen is divided into several sections including an art gallery, open air courtyard (fitted out with fairy lights to create a thoroughly romantic ambiance), a dining room and cantina-style lounge. Cocktails are geared towards ladies with sweet, fruity concoctions designed to tempt the fairer sex – think, the RM30 strawberry Bellini (sparkling Prosecco with crushed strawberries), and the RM28 strawberry daiquiri (rum, Cointreau and strawberry ice cream). The musical soundtrack leans towards indie folk pop, jazz, funk and top 40 hits but it does not get too loud, making it easy to carry on conversation.
- Opening Hours: 11:00 – 23:00
- Address: 183-B, Lebuh Victoria, Georgetown
- Tel: +604 263 7299
A stylish bar set in the ever fashionable G Hotel on Gurney Drive, G Lounge’s claim-to-fame in Penang is its 46 metre-long bar, the longest hotel bar on the island. Its decor of polished wooden floors, chocolate-hued furniture and steel and chrome fixtures lends the space a thoroughly posh ambiance, and coupled together with its rather comfortable seating, ticks all the right boxes for a great cocktail bar.
What really cinches its place on our list of top cocktail bars in Penang is the supreme skill of its mixologists. The cocktails available (priced between RM21 and RM40) are extensive and inventive with creations such as the Malaysian Dream, a blend of vodka, coconut cream, sweet pineapple juice and a splash of grenadine, and the Jamaican Martini (spiced rum, gin, red wine and orange Curacao). Between 16:00 and 20:00, there is a buy one, free one beer promotion, which helps to attract a young, office crowd.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 – 01:00 Monday – Thursday; 10:00 – 03:00 Friday – Sunday
- Address: Ground floor, G Hotel, 168A Persiaran Gurney
- Tel: +604 238 0000
The Cellar is one of our favourite places to spend an evening in Penang. It ticks all the right boxes for a great cocktail bar – varied seating choices that are super comfortable, posh yet quirky interior design, a quiet atmosphere and a fairly extensive drinks menu. Resembling Gatsby’s mansion, the lounge is a subtle tribute to Penang’s rich colonial past and its colourful present – think, brown leather Chesterfield armchairs, decorative trunks and funny artwork of deer and stags in Renaissance costumes.
The Cellar’s bar stocks over 300 Old and New World wine labels, so it is a great space to enjoy a glass of port or even cognac but our favourite reason to visit is for its creative, eccentric cocktails. The Tipsy Affogato (RM25), a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream in a scotch glass sprinkled with whisky infused raisins, toasted nuts and espresso powder, with scotch poured over it, is pretty unique. However, since we are fans of fruity cocktails, the Velvet Cannon (RM30), a mix of whisky, merlot and lemon juice, is pretty good, but so is their lemon, lime and ginger mocktail, served with a cinnamon stick in a mason jar.
- Opening Hours: 17:00 – 01:00 Monday – Thursday & Sunday: 17:00 – 02:00 Friday & Saturday
- Address: 228 Macalister Road, 10400 George Town, Penang
- Tel: +6004 2283 888 0r +6012 632 7729