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Here’s Your 1960’s Cocktail Guide To Chinatown’s 3 New Bars


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Source: Provided to WOB

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Have you heard of Kwai Chai Hong? Well, if you have not, have you been living under a rock?!

Since its opening in 2019, the restored alleyway of pre-war shophouses located at Lorong Panggung, KL, has attracted tons of tourists and locals alike.

Just go on any influencer’s Instagram page and you will most likely find a photo or two that was taken at one of the most Instagram-able spots in KL.



These days, besides being a spot for photo ops, the area is teeming with business opportunities.

Long time residents of the area have taken advantage of the business that comes with the visitors to beautify the rear doors of their homes, for example.

Speaking to WORLD OF BUZZ, co-founder of Kwai Chai Hong, Zeen Chang shares that she feels proud to see the reinvigoration of the area, with several new cafes and bars opening. 



When asked about the inspiration behind the now-restored alley, Chang said, “I wanted to take visitors on a journey back in time to KL Chinatown’s era of the golden ’60s – like when multiple families used to live on top of each other in a building!”

Chinatown Bar Takeover

One such beneficiary of the area’s newfound prosperity is Chinatown Bar Takeover, an event celebrating the debut of three new bars – Her House, Kapitan Haus and Rust KL.

The takeover will see three bartenders from each establishment slinging drinks at each other’s venues, serving three cocktails each from a new menu made specially for the event.

The gin-centric menu will feature Scottish gin maker Caorunn’s three expressions, made up of the classic version, its Scottish Raspberry Gin, and the Highland Strength which packs a stiff 54% ABV.

Kapitan Haus



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The event will run for two nights, June 22 and 23, though the special menus will be available in the respective bars till the end of the month.

So for those of you missing late-night pub crawls and strolls around the streets of KL, be sure not to miss this event!

Which booze to try?!

With a total of 9 new drinks, it could be difficult trying to decide on one! So, we at WORLD OF BUZZ tried all of them so you can make a more informed decision when ordering – or you could just get them all, we won’t judge!


1. Her House


  • Bakkwa Hero (Caorunn’s Highland Strength, bakkwa honey glaze, fresh lemon juice)

Bakkwa Hero Ig


  • Roasted Chestnut Raspberry Cup (Caorunn Raspberry, roasted chestnut syrup, fresh lemon juice, egg white)

Roasted Chestnut Raspberry Cup Ig


  • Green Dragon (Caorunn Gin, bamboo leaf syrup)

Green Dragon Ig


Kelvin Lee of Her House says that his drinks are built around syrups integrating foods sold in the neighbourhood, including Petaling Street’s roasted chestnuts, honey glaze bakkwa and dried bamboo leaves.

Her House


If you are feeling adventurous, we recommend the Bakkwa Hero.

Savoury and sweet, this mixture of gin, bakkwa honey glaze and fresh lemon juice topped with a piece of bakkwa will surely pack a punch!


2. Kapitan Haus


  • Air Mata Kuching Highball (Licorice and lavender infused gin, Lillet Blanc, longan syrup, citric acid, monk fruit tea; Garnishes: longan, dried apricot and prune, edible flower)

Air Mata Kuching Ig


  • Red Light District (Black pepper infused Raspberry Gin, strawberry liqueur, lemon juice, sugar syrup; Garnishes: aam papad and rosemary garnish)

Red Light District Ig


  • Kapitantini (green apple infused gin, apple Brandy, dry vermouth, Luxardo Maraschino; Garnishes: green apple and cherry garnish)

Kapitantini Ig


Located along Kwai Chai Hong on Lorong Panggung, “Kapitan Haus’ Red Light District drink is a nod to the area’s history of hosting brothels,” said Yap Siew Mun, head bartender at Kapitan Haus.

Img 7286


We might be biased, but the Air Mata Kuching Highball is hands down the best cocktail, ever. Not only is the dried and canned fruit garnish tasty, they are also pretty.

Sweet, smooth and light with just the slightest alcohol aftertaste, this cocktail is so easy to drink that it is dangerous! 


3. Rust KL


  • Farang (Caorunn Gin, guava juice, lychee cordial, lemon juice)



  • Dirty Pandan (Caorunn Highland Strength, pandan vermouth, papaya pickle cordial, orange bitters, black pepper)

Dirty Pandan


  • Cheese & Pepper (Caorunn Raspberry, cantaloupe cordial, Leonce Sauvignon Blanc vermouth, mozzarella foam)

Cheese Pepper


Lastly, Haniff of Rust KL chose to highlight local fruits such as guava, lychee and papaya in his drinks.

We really liked the Farang as it was just the right amount of sweet and sour in a cocktail. Balanced with the kick from the gin, this simple and elegant cocktail is also super easy to drink!

Rust Kl Haniff Yon V


An Opportunity For Transformation

While you are at the bars, make sure to check out the beautiful art on display at Kwai Chai Hong too!

Featuring ten lovingly-restored pre-war shophouses and thoughtful murals, the little alley has become a tourist favourite in Petaling Street, or better known these days as Chinatown.



However, things were not always good with the press and the public. The restoration project was criticised for affiliating the 1960s golden era of Chinatown with the prevalence of triads and brothels.

Standing firm on her mission to defend the history and highlight the heritage of the Chinese of that time, co-founder Zeen Chang said that “good or bad, it is our history. We can’t erase our history.”

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Kwai Chai Hong As a Cultural Heritage Site

She added that the passion project was borne out of a desire to change the public’s long-held perception of Chinatown.

Instead of being the place to go for counterfeit products, Chang saw the project as an opportunity to transform the area into a cultural heritage site.

It would be a place where visitors can come to experience Chinese culture and form an emotional connection to the area. 



Wow, the cocktail culture in KL is definitely taking off! If you can’t wait to enjoy the new special menus at the bars, come by for the takeover on Wednesday and Thursday night (June 22-23), or come by any night in June.


What is your favourite bar and cocktail? Let us know in the comments!


Also read: Haute Cuisine and Refreshingly Smooth Carlsberg Smooth Draught Await Beer & Spicy Food Lovers!


Source: Sit with sit
Source: Culture Trip

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