There’s no denying it: Kuala Lumpur is an expensive place to drink. With Malaysia being a Muslim country and Kuala Lumpur being the capital of said country, it is no big surprise that drinking in Kuala Lumpur can be damn expensive and for this reason, many backpackers avoid it.
However, if you are visiting Kuala Lumpur on a budget then avoiding a night out entirely would be a great shame – Kuala Lumpur’s skyscraper bars something to behold, and there are definitely lots of places to visit in Kuala Lumpur at night that won’t break the bank.
When I visited Malaysia, I enjoyed Kuala Lumpur nightlife without going way over budget, and so I’ve put together a little guide of things to do in KL at night (booze related of course) that should help you enjoy your visit.
Best Happy Hours and Cheap Bars in KL, Malaysia
Heli Lounge Bar KL
One of the most famous places to visit in Kuala Lumpur at night is the Heli Lounge Bar.
Located on the 34th floor of the Menara KH building, Heli Lounge Bar KL is a FUNCTIONING HELIPAD by day that moonlights as a rooftop bar, adored by tourists and business people alike.
While Heli Lounge Bar KL is not a budget bar by any stretch, it is definitely possible to enjoy a rooftop cocktail without wanting to cry into your martini glass at the price.
To get to the helipad itself, you must first buy a drink at the bar downstairs. All drinks are the same price (30 RM or 6.40 EUR), meaning that a cocktail or large glass of wine is not too pricey, especially when you consider that you are drinking on the top of a helipad!
Once you have your drink, head upstairs and grab a table to take in the beautiful 360° views of the city, including the iconic Kuala Lumpur Tower and the Petronus Twin Towers – in fact, Heli Lounge Bar is possibly one of the best places in KL to snap a picture of the skyline, so remember to bring your camera!
I recommend heading to Heli Lounge Bar KL just before sunset so that you can enjoy your cocktail and watch the sky change colour as the city lights up.
One final tip – Thursday is Ladies’ Night at Heli Lounge Bar, so if your group is all-girls, then be sure to visit and enjoy free cocktails from 9pm onwards!
The Best Happy Hours in Kuala Lumpur
I love a good happy hour, and there is no better way to enjoy Kuala Lumpur nightlife than to start your evening with a good happy hour (or 5!).
Here are a selection of the best KL happy hours to kick off your boozy night out
Birch – this happy hour begins at 4:30pm, meaning that if you like to start your night early then this is the place to be! Enjoy 2-4-1 cocktails between 4:30pm and 6:30pm in this funky greenhouse bar.
Lavo does one better then that and offers beers from 18 RM between 12pm and 10pm every weekday and all day on Sundays!
Reggae Bar in Chinatown is a bar loved by backpackers visiting KL, and with both Western and Malay dishes and drinks starting from just 8 RM, it isn’t difficult to see why.
Vertigo, Banyan Tree – This is Kuala Lumpur’s tallest rooftop bar and so if you want to enjoy stunning views over the KL skyline then look no further. Happy hour is from 6:30pm to 8:30pm and the ever-changing deals include 3 glasses of Carlsberg for 70 RM or two shaken margaritas for 55 RM.
61 Monarchy is a sophisticated whisky lounge where you can get a selection of 3 of their Remarkable Regional Malts for 50 RM between 5pm and 9pm.
CE LA VI is a bar that offers cocktails for 20 RM or 5 beers and fries for 58 RM between 5 to 9pm every day. Ladies can also enjoy free flow cocktails from 10pm onwards every Wednesday here!
Altitude has one of the best value happy hours in KL, with glasses of wine for 15 RM and beer for 12 RM. Every drink is accompanied by one tapas dish, allowing you to kill two birds with one stone, kinda like an Italian aperitivo! Enjoy these deals between 6:30pm and 8:30pm Monday to Friday.
Ladies’ Nights in Kuala Lumpur
Without a shadow of a doubt, Ladies’ Nights in KL were the reason I was able to enjoy KL nightlife so much. Many bars in the city have an allotted night where ladies are able to drink for free.
Now, sometimes this may be one assigned ‘cocktail’ that is essentially just a huge bucket of punch, and sometimes there will be a small cocktail menu with a choice of 3 or 4 cocktails that girls can drink for free.
Is this incredibly sexist?
Does it suck to be a male backpacker in Kuala Lumpur?
However, all I can do is enjoy the drinks that you aren’t allowed to have and tell you where I did so. It’s worth mentioning that ladies’ nights in KL tend to occur only on Wednesdays and Thursdays. I’m sure there is the odd exception but for the most part, cheap Kuala Lumpur nightlife is restricted to those days.
Here are some of the best ladies’ nights in Kuala Lumpur
Luna Bar – Luna Bar is situated on the 34th floor of Pacific Recency Suites. With wonderful views of the city, a pool and comfortable private booths to sit in, Luna Bar is a perfect place for female travellers to enjoy the free Tequila Sunrises, because Wednesday is Ladies’ Night! While these cocktails are pretty weak, they are also free, so drink up.
Healy Mac‘s Irish Pub was actually voted the best Irish Pub outside of Ireland so if you’re wondering where to go in KL at night on a Wednesday then look no further! Ladies’ Night here meant unlimited vodka oranges when I was there, and the down to earth vibe of the place makes for a super fun night.
Sutraa is next door to Healy Mac’s and their ladies’ night is on Wednesday as well! The best thing about this venue, aside from the dim lighting and the live music that is often played there, is the fact that you can choose which free drink you enjoy from a selection of 3. The menu changes weekly but I enjoyed Mango Daiquiris and Vodka Cranberries.
The Locker & Loft also has a choice available, with free flowing gin, sangria, tuak (Malay/Indonesian palm wine), rum and shooter cocktails between 7 and 10pm every Wednesday.
Skybar is another fancy rooftop venue that offers unlimited cocktails (a choice between 2) between 6pm and 10pm every Wednesday.
Knowhere offers free flowing wine, tuak and whisky between 9pm and midnight on Wednesdays. This is great for me, as I usually drink wine over cocktails!
SARO Lounge – of all the places on this list, SARO Lounge is the one I really regret not getting a chance to go to! Not only do ladies get unlimited selected cocktails all night long every Wednesday, but also a free hair and nail makeover!
Terrace Bar & Grill is inside The Kuala Lumpur Journal boutique hotel and offers free cocktails for ladies every Wednesday. What’s great about this place is that you can enjoy your drinks in an outdoor balcony while live music plays!
Man Tao Bar – The first THURSDAY deal on this list, Man Tao Bar can be found inside Hotel Stripes and every Thursday between 8 and 11, ladies can enjoy free flow on selected cocktails.
La Bodega is another one for wine lovers, offering free red and white wine to ladies between 8 and 10pm every Thursday!
Unfortunately, that concludes the end of my tips on how to enjoy Kuala Lumpur nightlife on a budget. While Kuala Lumpur can be an expensive city for those who like a drink, I hope that I’ve managed to provide you with enough places to visit in Kuala Lumpur at night to make your experience enjoyable (and not too pricey!)
If you are wondering where to stay in Kuala Lumpur on a backpacker’s budget then I recommend Sunshine Bedz. This is where I stayed for a week and had a really great time. The hostel was super sociable (they organised our Ladies’ Night evenings!) and in a great location.
To book your stay at Sunshine Bedz just click here!
do you have any more tips on how to enjoy Kuala Lumpur nightlife on a budget? let me know in the comments section below!
If you liked this article and would like to support my work, please click the button above to donate a couple of bucks and buy me a coffee. The ad revenue that I receive on this website is minimal, so support from my readers enables me to keep creating content that you (hopefully!) love to read.
Ian Tyrrel says
I have thought about this a lot. If Muslims don’t drink anyway, obviously the high prices don’t affect them. It is purely to rip off everybody else. P.S. there is a liquor store in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia which sets up tables and has a bathroom. A quasi-bar, the Chinese owners sell beer for as low as 3RM.