Heritage-chic vibe & refashioned cocktails feature at old-school bar in neglected KL neighborhood

barlai kuala lumpur

May 7th, 2015


Update June 2017  Barlai has closed


Unconventional in both concept and location, Barlai promises a refreshing new bar experience in downtown KL. Inconspicuously located in a compact ground floor space among a row of mostly untouched 1920’s heritage houses, Barlai references a bygone time of uncomplicated choices and a more simple, less hectic lifestyle. With its pared back heritage-chic vibe and old-school drinks and food offerings, Barlai entices an in-the-know clientele to its quiet corner of KL – a veritable refuge for relaxed drinks and conversations – yet conveniently accessible from the nearby Bukit Bintang and Changkat nightlife precinct. Opened in early 2014 by innovative local restaurant and bar operators – The BIG GroupBarlai serves up a concise list of well-executed cocktails – plus wines, beers and spirits – complemented palatably by a handful selection of simple old-style comfort dishes and snacks.

Occupying the ground floor space within the Sekeping Sin Chew Kee boutique guest house – Barlai is one of the early movers in the nascent gentrification of the almost forgotten corner of downtown KL. Fronted by an enclosed open-air courtyard, the charming interior has largely retained its colonial era heritage with elements such as tiled verandah, white louvre shutters and high-ceilinged spaciousness. Sparingly decorated, simple vintage timber picnic bench tables and wicker sofas blend appropriately with distressed concrete wall finishes and floors. Compact proportions mean that seating is limited, invoking a sense of discovery and cool exclusivity.

Drawing on the impressive cocktail credentials of The BIG Group’s bar team, the well-priced drinks list at Barlai has been designed to evoke the essence of old-time bar experiences and favourite cocktails – all thoughtfully updated with local flavour and cultural inflections, and premium ingredients. Familiar classic drinks like Martini, Mojito, Margarita and Bloody Mary have all been given makeovers to create well-balanced and refreshing cocktails. Hot dishes from the kitchen offer simple renditions of comfort dishes such as Steak & Eggs; Banger Sandwich; and Bacon, Eggs & Beans.

Barlai opens Tuesday to Sunday – from 4pm on weekdays, and from 9am until late on weekends. Look for the high-walled, white-washed brick entrance at the far end of the heritage row.

Barlai:  heritage-chic decor

Barlai: refashioned cocktails

  • barlai kuala lumpur
    Bacon Bourbon Bloody Mary - bacon-infused bourbon, Sriracha + Tabasco + Worcestershire, tomato juice & more
  • barlai kuala lumpur
    Siam Mojito - rum, soda & angostura bitters, calamansi, mint & kafir lime leaves.
  • barlai kuala lumpur
    Barlai Sling - rum, gin, vodka, blood orange syrup, calamansi, ginger ale, angostura bitters.
  • barlai kuala lumpur
    Milo Kaw - Milo powder, whisky, Frangelico liqueur