Here’s a guide on good spots to chill, exhale, have a drink, people watch or simply be with friends for an evening out while enjoying the different facets of Penang. By Su Aziz
Penang’s a productive holiday island and its balance of life and work is exemplary. Part of that balance is a fair amount of night spots where you can sit at the end of a workday and order up your favourite tipple. Here are some pretty cool places that are either trendy or edgy but downright friendly. These places are open till around midnight and later on weekends.
A Chic Night Out @ 2PM
Its name stems from its address of number two, Persiaran Maktab. The deliberate chic but relaxed ambience of this bar reflects the stylish nature of the newly opened G Hotel Kelawai on Kelawai Road in which it sits. There’s a choice of wines and beers on tap here at reasonable prices after taxes. It’s a good place for the LBD and heels, a date night or a sophisticated evening out with the gang. There are comfortable seats indoors with air conditioning but on balmy evenings, it’s nice to sit out on the patio where you can light up too. There’s an uncomplicated menu of light meals available too.
Tip: For a more party mood, take the lift up to the hotel’s rooftop bar, Gravity
. The night view of Penang from up there is as intoxicating as their cocktails.
How to get there: Rapid bus 101 practically stops at its doorstep from town but you’ll need to trek up to Burmah Road to catch the bus back into town. Otherwise, there’s the free Pulau Tikus bus that heads this way too.
Free bus details: http://mypenang.gov.my/item.aspx?cid=598&id=4258&name=pulau_tikus_loop&lang=English
Edgy: Casual, Mildly Edgy Ambience @ Micke’s Place
On the edge of Love Lane in George Town, right where the hustle of Lebuh Chulia begins is this hole in the wall pub that also serves simple, comfort food. It’s a very casual place that is fast becoming popular among the backpackers and the young set. They serve cocktails, beer and wine at nett prices. They offer free WiFi and friendly service. The staff here are always up for a conversation or two.
Tip: It’s a good place to make new friends from all over the globe.
How to get there: It’s on the route of virtually every Rapid bus that passes Lebuh Chulia and walking distance from the jetty and Komtar.Beach Favourite: Bora Bora by Sunset Bistro
Not a new kid on the block but it remains a favourite spot for those preferring a bit of beach fun and view. Built right on Batu Ferringhi beach, this bar and restaurant attracts a wide range of patrons during meal times due to its menu of both western and local dishes but after 10pm, it jumps with music, fun-loving souls and flowing cocktails. Dress casually or something fit for the beach. It’s a good spot to watch the sunset too.
Tip: Go in for a dip in the sea before sunset then sit down for a meal and a drink as you dry off.
How to get there: Parking can get a little tricky since it sits right smack in the middle of the Batu Ferringhi night market area, so it’s more convenient for you to hop on to Rapid bus 101 and 102.A Touch of Eccentric: Busy Bodhi Café
If not for the famous boy mural, there’s a big possibility you’d have walked right past this little café while wandering around Lebuh Acheh in George Town’s heritage area. In truth, it’s probably one of George Town’s best kept secret and the best spot to duck out from the scorching sun while sipping a cold beer. Furthermore, it’s a terrific place to watch the tourists’ antics without hardly being spotted yourself since the café is built under and covered by a huge tree. It’s a really casual place, fit for shorts and a tee, if not a comfy sundress.
Tip: For teetotallers, they serve perk-me-up coffees, fizzy drinks and tea too.
How to get there: It’s a stone’s throw away from the popular Lebuh Armenian and Lebuh Acheh mosque. It’s around 15 minutes’ walk from the jetty and perhaps a little more from Komtar but less so from Lebuh Chulia. Any Rapid bus going through Lebuh Chulia is a good bet.Heritage Ambience
When you walk into this renovated Penang shophouse that houses Inch restaurant and bar on Muntri Street, you’ll first step into its dining area before revealing a long bar that is chic, dimly lit and well able to produce sublime cocktails. Move on further into the back of the building and there’s a cosy seating area that’s good for private parties as well as tete-a-tete spot.
Tip: A good spot for first dates because of its casual yet private ambience and it offers a choice of either sharing a meal with your date or to keep it simple with just a chat over a tipple.
How to get there: It’s walking distance from Lebuh Chulia, Love Lane and Upper Penang Road.Image credits: G Kelawai, Bora Bora Sunset Bar, Busy Bodhi, Micke's Place and Su Aziz