The Bee, Publika
For the alternative/indie rocker who is always in search of the next must-see indie band. No live music venue in the city comes close to this cosy and charming little café for alternative gigs from electronica, shoegaze, post-rock, indie-folk and any concert under its Upfront series. The interior of The Bee is retro-inspired with exposed piping overhead, shiny concrete floors, mismatched black, red, light- and dark-brown wooden tables and comfortable couches. The madly popular Feedback Open Mic by Moonshine remains a recurrent fixture at The Bee and tons of critically acclaimed international acts have graced their stage. This casual stop offers wonderful live music Saturdays and it’s a great place to enjoy performances while downing a king-size burger and some Mexican appetizers. The cafeteria-style restaurant looks like the type of secreted, hip joint frequented only by artistic individuals in-the-know.
Address: Level G2 Publika, 1 Jalan Dutamas 1, Kuala Lumpur 50480
Tel: +603 6201 8577 No Black Tie
Probably one of the more prevalent jazz clubs in Kuala Lumpur, set up many years ago by pianist Evelyn Hii, No Black Tie has grown into a hideaway for flourishing local artists. Priding themselves with acts from internationally commended talents including jazz pianist Kirk Lightsey and Kolkata band Kendraka, they even accommodated Yuna, who used the venue as a launching pad for her career. Regular crooners would include Elvira Arul, Rozz and Dasha Logan and the acoustics are superior and the sound is pitched perfected so every powerful trumpet riff swirls throughout the room. But besides jazz performances, this bar features live bands that play genres from dynamic Brazilian beats to classic Chopin, as well as eccentric poetry acts and readings on special nights.
Address: 17, Jalan Mesui, off Jalan Nagasari, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603 2142 3737 Merdekarya
This is what we would like to nickname the “speakeasy” live music venue for the music enthusiast who loves undisclosed bars with a no-fuss industrial DIY setting. Started by writer and musician Brian Gomez, the venue is exclusively for local and independent art – from poetry, spoken word, music even comedy! Another highlight is that there isn’t a cover charge, so you could just stumble upon an enigmatic local band on a random Tuesday night without spending even a dime. The music played here ranges from folk, acoustic rock to even jazz. It’s truly a venue for the hopeful artist, as there is virtually no rules or real censorship with Gomez, so if you want to ramble on about your pet or read a rhyme about our government, Merdekarya is your soapbox. It’s a no-frills open-mic blues bar nurtured by up-and-coming local acoustic performers and it’s a great place to drink with KL’s most creative elite.
Address: Jalan 5/57, Bukit Gasing, 46000 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Tel: +6016 207 1553 Alexis Bistro Ampang
If jazz is what gets you into the groove and you are looking for an intimate place to relish an evening of sultry music, Alexis is perfect. Classy and stylish, Alexis Bistro Ampang has been devoted to top-notch jazz performances from a bevy of local and international musicians. They keep their acts highly notable with a list of performances by Barry Cooper, Michael Veerapen and Adibah Noor. The atmosphere is filled with soothing reverberations of blues, funk, soul and swing. Alexis is perhaps the best place to check out if jazz you your thing as jazz seems to take centre stage, on Fridays and Saturdays.
Address: Lot 10 & 11, Great Eastern Mall, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603 4260 2288 Mezze
Live music emerges here every Friday and Saturday night from 9.30pm onwards and jazz veterans Rachel Guerzo, Dasha Logan and even Michael Veerapan have graced Mezze’s stage. The cosiness and intimacy of the venue is what draws patrons to venture past the sliding doors. The lounge offers a comprehensive selection of wines, cocktails, spirits and whiskies with cigars to pair and small tapas. On weekends, this lounge plays host to local and foreign acts with music concentrating on contemporary mainstream tunes on Friday nights and low-key jazz on Saturdays.
Address: 132, Jalan Kasah, Medan Damansara, 50490 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +603 2095 0122 Ril’s Bangsar
This enchanting steak restaurant becomes an intimate and mysteriously sexy venue for live music over the weekend. Located on Telawi Street, Bangsar, the two story establishment plays host to a wide range of musicians from jazz, classical, funk, rock and even Afro-Cuban. Up a flight of stairs and behind velvet curtains, you will be transported to a different world of sophistication and secrecy. The bar is enthralling and intoxicating with a 1920s speakeasy filled vibe, and it transforms over the weekend into one of the city’s most popular venues for live music with special guests, world class cocktails and a buzzy atmosphere.
Address: 30, Jalan Telawi 5, Bangsar Baru, 59000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603 2201 3846 Black Box
Located in a corner of a Publika, this black coloured room vaunts one of the best PA systems and stages in the Klang Valley, and the performances here run the musical range from indie, rock and alternative to heavy metal. A chief address for the subcultural, somewhat more subversive “hipster” types in Malaysia’s capital and it is where you can catch passing international touring indie bands. We highly recommend looking up this underground gem for a fantastic night of live music.
Address: Level G2-01, Block A5 Kencana Tower 1, Publika, Solaris Dutamas, Jln. Dutamas
Tel: +603 6207 9732 by: Adeline Tan