Top 11 Bars For Tasty Cocktails In George Town, Penang

George Town’s cocktail scene is not only thriving, but it’s also deliciously inventive.

George Town’s cocktail bars are exploding with new ideas and creativity. The speakeasy domain, particularly, is led by adventurous travelers returned from afar and brought their world visions back to their hometown. The drink lists in each hotspot are imaginative, fearless and, most importantly, absolutely delicious.

Nomad cocktail bar, for instance, is the prime example of showcasing a daring menu where owner Ken wanted to unveil his travels through various cultures in his mixology. The name of the bar says it all. Cocktails & Shots is another establishment illustrating newness in the capital city of Penang. No menu, just tell the bartenders your mood for the night. The result in a cocktail that will not disappoint.

Here are some of the best places to grab a refined drink in George Town, Penang. Cheers!

Nomad Bar

243, Lebuh Kimberley, George Town, 10100 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Nomad is extremely intentional. It’s creative as each cocktail travels through the curious palate. Feeling bold? Try the Nori Martini, which highlights umami and savory. Influenced by Japanese cuisine; it blends seaweed infused gin, plum wine and homemade Gemaicha tea syrup to create three unique flavors of Ochazuke.

Let’s venture to the other side of audacity and sip on Tom Kha: a cocktail that also integrates umami, savory, and smokey. Imagine the popular Thai sour and spicy soup in a cocktail; created via kaffir leaf infused tequila Ancho Reyes, lemongrass and galangal syrup, tomato water, coconut milk and chili. The result is a powerful surprise that truly transforms a hearty favorite to a wondrous aperitif.

Nomad bar penang
Nori Martini. PHOTO WENDY HUNG

 

Nomad bar penang
FACEBOOK Nomad.pg

Cocktails & Shots

11, Lorong Cheapside, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Tucked in a dark cat ally (quite literally) right behind Kimberly Street night market is Cocktails & Shots, a speakeasy bar creating drinks based on your mood. The idea is smart and inventive.

On this early evening, I was quite exhausted after working all day. After describing my “mood” to the bartender, I found myself sipping on “Not A Beer Cocktail.” It was delightful, refreshing just as how a beer would be. Except, it wasn’t a beer.

Afterwards, I was feeling thrillingly adventurous hence “The Dim Sum” arrived in front of my lips. The beautiful use of Chrysanthemum – a tea we typically drink while devouring dim sum – provides honey for hint. A strong cocktail but hits the spot since it satiated the right mood. Mission accomplished.

Cocktails & Shots bar penang
The Dim Sum. PHOTO WENDY HUNG

Backdoor Bodega

37, Jalan Gurdwara, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Behind an enamel pin shop is Backdoor Bodega – a small bar but jam-packed not only with crowds but also 40 tempting cocktails. When owner Koh Yung Shen couldn’t find a cool hangout spot in the city, he decided to open his own bar in 2016. Today, it is one of the most popular bars in George Town, thanks to a charismatic staff and a world outside of cocktails: BEERS! Backdoor Bodega also serves up micro brews craft beers that go down perfectly with fun matches of beer pong.

Good Friends Club

39, Jalan Gurdwara, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

In Hokkien, bojio means “not invited, or FOMO.” Thus, there’s a reason why upon the entrance of Good Friends Club, there’s a sign that flashes “good friends never bojio.” The drinks here are as original as it gets, while connecting each cocktail to Penang’s exciting food culture. Ban Chang Kuih, for instance, is a local peanut pancake turned into a cocktail. For banana lovers, don’t miss the B.B.C. (Best Banana Cocktail) which blends banana peel infused whisky, banana fermented nectar, dehydrated banana skin, and lemon.

Goodfriendsclub
B.B.C- “best banana cocktail.” FACEBOOK Goodfriendsclub

No Bar Here

25, Jalan Gurdwara, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

On the same street as Backdoor Bodega is No Bar Here, also owned by the same group. The bartenders are cheerful, energetic while mixing delightful cocktails for anyone ready to have a good time. The Belalang Cocktail (means “grasshopper” in Malay) is a twist on the creamy minty classic, the Grasshopper, except with a Penang cendol touch to the concoction. Or, for Blue Hawaiian lovers, check out the Pink Hawaiian which is a beautiful blend of frozen pineapple, yoghurt, dragon fruit, lime, and Campari, bound together by a generous portion of Ron Matusalem Platino.

INSTAGRAM @nobarhere
INSTAGRAM @nobarhere

Manchu Bar 满族酒吧

38 & 40, Jalan Pintal Tali, George Town, 10100 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Stepping inside Manchu Bar is like embarking on a whole new world. Red lanterns and lion statues, it’s no mistake that you’re indeed in Asia. But the drinks are also what keep the customers coming back. Try the Yuzu Whiskey Sour, or the Willy Wonka during the holidays. Order the Blue Pea Gin, and it’ll arrive in a Chinese porcelain tea pot. The entire bar is a voyage back to the times of ancient Chinese dynasties with live music performances and DJ spinning afterwards.

天下第一客棧 Magazine 63

63, Jalan Magazine, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Magazine 63 is often considered as the first speakeasy in Penang, and it does a good job of keeping up a groundbreaking reputation. Named after its location, Magazine Street, the bar is quite hidden so be on the lookout. During a hot summer night, order a chilled glass of  Find The Watermelon to cool down. Or Monkey Beach will help your mind drift to the shoreline, sipping on refreshing coconut water. If you can’t get enough of sour candies, then The Swedish Apple is made for you.

Foxhole 24

24, Muntri St, Georgetown, 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia

You have two choices at Foxhole 24, either tell the bartenders what you’re in the mood for. Or, order something from its artisanal menu where each drink is dedicated to a special era. Whatever you choose, it’s guaranteed that your cocktail will be beautifully crafted. For example, inspired by the classic cocktail Penicillin, Foxhole 24’s “P-Nicillin” brings a unique twist to the palate. With a base of Monkey 47 Dry Gin, it offers a subtle sweetness complemented by notes of woody juniper, herbal rosemary, and a hint of pine. As you savor each sip, you’ll experience the harmonious blend of Bergamot’s tangy zest, the spicy kick of ginger, and the soothing embrace of honey, all enhanced by the natural botanical bitterness of tonic water.

This concoction reaches its pinnacle with a refreshing mint garnish, adding a burst of minty aroma and a visual touch of green. A final spritz of heavily peated Islay whisky imparts a smoky allure, completing this cocktail with a delightful twist of flavor. Enjoy the “P-Nicillin” as a journey through layers of taste and aroma, a true masterpiece for the discerning palate.

Foxhole 24
FACEBOOK Foxhole 24

Archipelago

Entrance from, Back Door 114 Lebuh Armenian, Jln Kampung Kolam, 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Situated in the courtyard of a shop, Archipelago is a relatively new bar opened after the pandemic. Its outdoor nature provides a serene and charming ambiance with green plants hung up throughout the terrace, tables full of books. Owner Audrey Lim wanted to open a place inspired by two trips to Cuba, hence the Daiquiri here is delicious and the atmosphere is just as relaxing as how it would be in Havana. Feeling mysterious? Then try Aki (named after a Japanese female spy in the James Bond movie “You Only Lived Twice,) it’s with Roku gin, Haku vodka, Lillet Blanc, umeshu and seaweed.

Archipelago
FACEBOOK Archipelago

Kara Kara

5B, Pengkalan Weld, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Kara Kara is a coffee shop during the day, and a speakeasy when the sun goes down. Killing two stones at one cozy spot that oozes retro vibes, mainly inspired by the 1970s and 1980s. Check out cocktails big enough to share: Rioja Alavesa (dry wine, brandy and fresh fruits) is Kara Kara’s version of a sangria, Kara No Kara (shochu, melon, calpis, umeshu, gin and orange,) Shinamon (cinnamon, spiced rum, yuzu) that deliver a sweet and sour taste.

Kara Kara Penang
INSTAGRAM @karakarapg

Beso Rosado

86, Lebuh Bishop, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Beso Rosado is a rosy restaurant and bar with a flashy interior serving different kinds of tapas and fun drinks that highlight herbs, spices and homemade syrups. Try The Bitter Italian, which is gin infused with red fruit tea, Campari infused with strawberry, cynar and truffle oil, then finish with dry orange infused truffle. Or Purple Rain made with blue pea flower infused gin, lemon juice, apple juice, lavender, earl grey tea, citrus oil and egg white. Served in a glass shaped like a bird. Beso Rosado is quirky all the way!

Wendy Hung

CEO, FOUNDER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

As the founder of Jetset Times, Wendy is an avid traveler and fluent in five languages. When she's not traveling, Wendy calls Paris and Taipei home. Her favorite countries so far from her travels have been: Bhutan, Iran, and St. Bart's because they were all so different!

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