Sarawak has a long list of good places to eat and drink and Kuching is the best place for clubbing districts. The city is a warren of crowded lanes where you’ll find hotels, cafés and stores run by the Chinese-dominated community and though it may not look like it, there’s a method to the madness of its layout. A lively night scene awaits you after an evening meal in the capital – most pubs, clubs and bars here stay open till one in the morning. Yet many of these venues have live bands that belt it out till the wee hours of the morning especially during the weekends. Beers and cocktails are affordable; check out Bla Bla Bla, Living Room and The Junk – they’re the most popular places for afterhours carousing.
Located along Jalan Green Hill, 99 is a bar with a good music selection especially at weekends. The lively watering hole is pretty quiet during the weekdays but it’s a favourite spot among locals to catch the latest football game on the big screen telly.
- Location: Jalan Green Hill
- Tel: +608 242 3799
Located within the Crowne Plaza Riverside hotel, Cottage is a typical English-style pub. Operations usually begin at about lunchtime and the outlet serves evening meals and rowdy festivities usually take place later on at night. There’s live music here six nights a week and drinks are affordable.
- Location: Crowne Plaza Riverside, 16, Jalan Bukit Mata
Tall and tan Ipanema was recently renamed Kilkenny’s and went through a spot of refurbishment that’s resulted in a minimal-chic theme. It’s a nice place for a relaxing drink and the kitchen has a trendy and delicious tapas menu. With Kilkenny Irish beer (obviously) on tap, the pints here are affordable especially during Happy Hour.
- Location: 66, Jalan Padungan
- Tel: +608 223 3062
Jambu Restaurant & Lounge
Housed in a colonial-era hot pink bungalow, Jambu is a boutique bistro located to the south of the city centre. A yuppie-dominated scene, it’s a favourite nightspot among locals especially those who are well heeled and who come here to throw back a few designer cocktails with friends.
- Opening Hours: 11:00 – 14:00 and 18:00 – late Tuesday – Saturday; 18:00 – late Sunday
- Location: 32, Jalan Crookshank
- Tel: +608 223 5292
Situated on the 22nd floor of the Kuching Civic Centre, this classy joint boasts stunning 360-degree views of the city. It’s located a little far away from the city centre but this watering hole has affordable drinks as well as a simple snack menu.
- Location: Kuching Civic Centre 22F, Jalan Budaya
Located along Jalan Chan Chin Ann, at the back of the Denise Wine Shop, this cocktail lounge is basically a combination wine shop/bar. It’s a good place to enjoy a drink as there’s a good selection of local musical talent performing. The crowd is a mixture of working class locals, both young and old – the atmosphere is a tad bit juvenile but it’s all in good fun.
- Location: Jalan Chan Chin Ann
A great place to enjoy a cocktail, Rentap is one of Kuching’s most posh after-dark venues. Featuring ritzy décor, Rentap is known for its classy clientele who dress up like they’re trying to keep up with the Joneses – if you're not wearing a shirt collar, don't even bother turning up here. Saturday is Latin Jazz night, so the dance floor is usually crowded; drinks are affordable, entry is free and the outlet closes at one in the morning.
- Location: 3rd Mile area
One of the most happening spots in the city, this trendy club is a favourite spot among local youngsters and urban hipsters. This packed-to-the-rafters dance club has grind-worthy music including a selection of dance, Latin and jazz beats. Towards the end of the night there’s palpable electricity in the air as the cool crowd starts to really enjoy themselves under the gleam of the red lights; be sure to try Soho’s signature cocktail, the Maui Mudslide.
- Location: 64, Jalan Padungan
- Tel: +608 224 7069
One of the most popular places in Kuching to grab a bite to eat, Junk was listed as one of Malaysia’s Best Restaurants by the Malaysian Tatler in 2011. Featuring a random collection of…well, junk, the restaurant manages to look urban chic and its one of the most posh spots in Kuching to grab a pint or a cocktail and a favourite after-dark nightspot among Malaysian celebrities.
- Opening Hours: 18:00 – 23:00
- Location: 80, 82 & 84 Wayang Street, 93000 Kuching
- Tel: +6016 889 2044