Located in Kuala Lumpur’s Bangsar entertainment district, Coley is a quaint cocktail bar that offers cheeky Malaysian twists to familiar classics.
Kuala Lumpur’s cocktail bar scene has been growing steadily apace in the past few years, interrupted only by the recent pandemic. One of the KL bars spearheading that growth? Coley.
Coley first started as a temporary popup bar in Kuala Lumpur’s bustling nightlife district Bangsar back in 2014 by seasoned industry veteran Kho Chee Keong (CK to industry friends). Two years down it found itself a permanent home on Jalan Abdullah – just a few doors down – in a larger, swankier space where it still is.
“CK is a visionary. He started a bar back in 2014 using only craft spirits, which was tough to do in Malaysia (back in those days),” Kim Choong, editor of Malaysian drinks publication ThirstMag.com, tells us. “That was revolutionary. Now everyone wants to use craft spirits.”
“Today you’ll still find that rebelliousness at Coley,” she added.
You’ll see that in Coley’s cocktail menu. Here owner CK and head bartender Loco Rockefeller has put together drinks that are inspired by classic cocktails, but are also fun and contain more than a touch of irreverence.
More importantly, they introduce Malaysian flavours in cocktails you’ll find refreshing.
Start off with Gin & Coconut, a simple yet delightfully invigorating concoction of gin and coconut water that’s lifted by some lime. Or the soul-cleansing Vodka & Pear, with its additional green tea and lime notes.
Some utterly defy convention. Consider the Peanut Butter & Jelly, a punchy tequila-based tipple that manages to taste like that breakfast sandwich. Tasty! We also did rather enjoy the 3 Canes Old Fashioned, Coley’s take on the Rum Old Fashioned that combines white rum, spiced rum, and cachaça.
For something along more classic lines, go for their Hanky Panky. Here the gin, vermouth, and Fernet Branca combination is specially aged in a claypot to mellow and round out flavours. Or opt for the Hanky Spanky, which offers a pomegranate twist.
These days CK is now mostly found at his other (and newer) cocktail bar Pahit. And most revellers who drop into Coley are unlikely to realise the impact that this bar – and its founder CK – has made on Kuala Lumpur’s cocktail bar scene.
But you can come here and find out for yourself. After all, Coley was named to No.100 on the extended list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2022, and for good reason.
[Main image credit: Coley]
Coley (Kuala Lumpur)
Address 6-G, Jalan Abdullah, Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 5pm to 1am Mondays to Saturdays; closed on Sundays
Tel (60) 19-270 9179