Sabah Nightlife

What to Do at Night in Sabah

Most trips to Sabah start out halfway up the state’s western seaboard in the friendly capital, Kota Kinabalu. A grim and dense grid of concrete structures, KK’s citizens are dependably welcoming and its nightlife doesn’t leave much to be desired. When the sun goes down in Sabah, start out at the Waterfront Esplanade along Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens – besides fine dining, this upscale hotspot has a good number of ‘resto-bars’ including BED – the biggest dance club in town. Later head to Beach St. in the centre of town; chock-a-block with bars and eateries, this semi-pedestrian street has watering holes with pricey drinks, live local and Filipino bands and karaoke in the central round most nights.

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Located along the Waterfront Esplanade, Bed is arguably Sabah’s most popular nightspot. The fulcrum of Kota Kinabalu’s nightlife, this watering hole is almost always jam-packed and has bands that play from 21:00, followed by Dee jays that spin out the latest hits till closing.

  • Location: Waterfront Esplanade
  • Tel: +608 825 1901
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Cocoon Restaurant & Bar

Just around the corner from the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Cocoon Restaurant & Bar is one of the city’s choice nightspots. This contemporary-themed bar is only a few years old and features a decent selection of slightly-overpriced drinks. Happy hour is between 17:00 – 21:00; this watering hole also serves food and there’s a live Filipino band. Afterwards the DJs play good R&B tunes till closing.

  • Opening Hours: 17:00 - 01:00 Sunday – Thursday; 17:00 - 02:00 Friday & Saturday


A favourite hangout for local tour guides as well as expats, this watering hole is a balmy outdoor nightspot. Located within Kinabalu Daya Hotel, the bar has a plasma TV that screens sports coverage and the drinking joint also has passable karaoke facilities.

  • Location: Kinabalu Daya Hotel
  • Tel: +6016 825 7085

Ice Bar@1Borneo Kota Kinabalu

Featuring the unique Ice Room with its bone-chilling -25°C temperature, Ice Bar@1Borneo KK is located approximately seven kilometres away from the city centre. Featuring a decent selection of beers and cocktails – including Ice Bar’s signature gigantic Babylon cocktail – this watering hole is a decent after-hours nightspot. Happy hour is between 18:00 – 21:00.

  • Opening Hours: 18:00 - 01:00 Sunday – Thursday; 18:00 - 02:00 Friday & Saturday
  • Location: 1Borneo Kota Kinabalu
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M-Cubed Bar

A little off the beaten track, the newly-opened M-Cubed Bar is a karaoke bar located in Millennium Plaza. Featuring a good sound system, it’s a decent place to belt out tunes if you’re looking for that sort of thing plus it has a good selection of beers and other alcohol; happy hour, between 17:00 and 21:00 has drinks at good prices.

  • Opening Hours: 17:00 - 01:00 Sunday – Thursday; 17:00 - 02:00 Friday & Saturday
  • Location: Millennium Plaza

Reef Project Dance Bar & Grill

A popular local hangout, this dance bar has an open-air fast-food restaurant, a pub and karaoke. Situated along Beach St., there’s a live band that plays most nights and this watering hole is extravagantly landscaped with tropical flora. It’s a great place to observe the crowd and enjoy your tipple.

  • Location: Beach Street

Shamrock Irish Bar

Yet another bar located along the Waterfront Esplanade, Shamrock is a seafront Irish-themed bar with the traditional Kelly-green décor, serving Kilkenny, Tiger and Guinness draughts and tasty meat stews. The bar has a pool table and a live band plays most nights as well as a DJ to tide patrons over till the end of the night.

  • Location: 6, Anjung Samudra, Waterfront Esplanade
  • Tel: +608 824 9829
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The overpriced drinks (RM30 for a small beer) at this Irish pub-style drinking hole discourage most people from staying too long but it must be said that this hotel-owned pub has a great music line-up. There’s a decent-sized dance floor and daily themed-nights – Ladies Night is on Wednesday and it’s Sassy Angels night on Saturdays.

  • Location: Hyatt Regency Hotel, Kota Kinabalu
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The Loft, Kota Kinabalu

Another bar along the pub-lined Waterfront Esplanade, this watering hole is a popular after-work and nightcap joint. Boasting incredible views of the sunset (especially if you snag a good table), the cocktail, beer and wine selection at this watering hole is extensive and there’s a pool table and big screen behind the bar which broadcasts European football matches. Happy hour is between 15:30 – 21:00.

  • Opening Hours: 15:00 - 01:00 Sunday – Thursday; 15:00 - 02:00 Friday and Saturday
  • Location: Waterfront Esplanade
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Upperstar Pepper Grill & Bar

Just a few metres away from Shenanigans, this semi-outdoor artsy bistro dishes out simple local and western pub grub and cheap drinks. Besides the grilled cuisine, be sure to sample the pizzas from the Upperstar Pizza Corner – try the Upperstar Sensation. Featuring a young and yuppie clientele, there’s various memorabilia on the walls and the place is used to cater to big crowds; these days it’s a great place to enjoy good food along with a cold pint.

  • Location: Block C, Lot 8, Ground Floor, Lorong Okok Kayu Manis, Damai Plaza Phase 3, Kota Kinabalu
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