Discover Penang's Best-Kept Secrets: Top 5 Speakeasy and Hidden Bars
Published January 31, 2024
Penang, with its rich history and vibrant daytime activities, is a treasure trove for travelers. As the sun sets, a new side of this enchanting island emerges, offering an exciting nightlife experience. Among the favorite spots for locals to unwind and socialize are the hidden bars and speakeasies. These secretive establishments add an air of mystery and exclusivity to the already captivating Penang nightlife.
1) Manchu Bar
Step into the Qing Dynasty at Manchu Bar, where traditional motifs and decor create an immersive experience. Recognizable by its heavy timber door and red curtains, this speakeasy bar delights its visitors with Chinese Opera performances on special occasions. Live music from talented bands sets the mood, while their must-try Five Omakase cocktails and Yuzu Whiskey Sour elevate the drinking experience. There are also small bites like sweet potato fries and even dim sum to munch on if you’re feeling peckish.
Address: 38 & 40, Jalan Pintal Tali, George Town, 10100 George Town, Pulau Pinang.
Opening Hours: 7:00pm to 3:00pm (Tuesdays to Sundays. Closed on Mondays)
Contact: +6012-500 7588
2) Beso Rosado by Chin Chin
Once known as "Golden Shower," Beso Rosado by Chin Chin provides a touch of mystery with its unconventional entrance. The former posh bathroom has transformed into a graffiti-covered alleyway, leading to the actual bar. Relish the taste of Spanish cuisine while sipping on the Tokyo Sour or Golden Desire.
Address: 86, Lebuh Bishop, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang.
Opening Hours: 6:00pm to 12:00am (Tuesdays to Fridays), 12:00pm to 3:00pm & 6:00pm to 12:00am (Saturdays & Sundays). Closed on Mondays.
Contact: +604-263 6868
3) 天下第一客棧 Magazine 63
Hidden away behind a nondescript ante-room, Magazine 63 remains inconspicuous among ordinary shophouses. The lack of signage makes it a true hidden bar adventure in Penang. Look for a large wooden door at the front and open it to reveal a delightful surprise - a speakeasy bar which features live performances on a floating stage and channels old-world China, from its looming red lanterns and vintage ceramic bowls, as drinking vessels. Try The Spicy Grave at this busy drinking spot - a house favourite inspired by the iconic margarita, featuring a chili flake-dusted rim, dehydrated whole chili garnish, agave and Firewater Cinnamon Whisky.
Address: 63, Jalan Magazine, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang.
Opening Hours: 8:00pm to 3:00am (Tuesdays to Sundays. Closed on Mondays).
Contact: +6017-636 3551
4) Backdoor Bodega
If you're a night owl searching for an extraordinary experience in Penang's nightlife, Backdoor Bodega is the epitome of allure. Tucked away discreetly at the back of an enamel pin shop, this speakeasy gem tops the list of hidden bars in Penang. Step into a world of mystery and sophistication, as you navigate through its elusive entrance, transporting guests to a bygone era.
Backdoor Bodega embodies the essence of speakeasy bars, offering a captivating ambiance featuring vintage furnishings and dimmed lighting, alongside carefully crafted and innovative cocktails - from a smoky bourbon creation to a refreshing gin-based elixir - that weave a captivating story, taking guests on a journey of flavours. Embrace the thrill of discovering this hidden treasure in Penang's drinking scene and relish the enchanting vibes of Backdoor Bodega.
Address: 37, Jalan Gurdwara, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang.
Opening Hours: 8:00pm to 12:00am (Mondays, Thursdays to Sundays. Closed on Tuesdays & Wednesdays)
5) Good Friends Club
Nestled next to the renowned Hin Bus Depot, one of Penang's best art galleries and alternative pop-up markets, lies a hidden gem that beckons with its charming allure. Good Friends Club is not your typical bar; it's a fantastic, chilled-out local spot that fronts as a Chinese medicinal hall, which exudes warmth and camaraderie. Drawing in a crowd of "good friends who never bojio" (meaning they never forget to invite one another), this speakeasy bar blends the essence of an old-school Chinese Kopitiam with a cozier, dark room, making it a must-visit among Penang's nightlife enthusiasts.
Furnished with vintage wooden chairs and cabinets that harken back to the '80s, Good Friends Club has mastered the art of creating imaginative cocktails infused with local Penang flavors. Don't miss out on the Ban Chang Kuih cocktail, which pays homage to the beloved peanut pancake street snack, adding a unique twist to the drinking experience.
Address: 39, Jalan Gurdwara, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang.
Opening Hours: 8:00pm to 1:00am (Sundays to Thursdays), 8:00pm to 2:00am (Fridays to Saturdays)
Contact: +6010-568 0527
As you explore Penang's daytime charm, do not miss the chance to venture into its captivating nightlife. Uncover the city's best-kept secrets by visiting these top 5 Penang speakeasy and hidden bars. Whether you are intrigued by the Qing Dynasty ambiance, Spanish delicacies, or wing chun dummies, Penang's nightlife has something for every adventurous spirit. Experience the thrill of finding these hidden gems and make unforgettable memories in the colorful and lively world of Penang's nightlife.
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