As a college student, there’s only one route to take when the urge to listen to music kicks in and NOT at home alone or at a house party setting – head to a club or bar. The novelty of “OMG I’m old enough to drink???” soon wears off as the amount of money in your bank account starts tapering away (kinda like like your sobriety…) Fortunately for you, random The Cool Bears reader, we have complied a list of where to catch live bands in KL that are NOT bars or clubs but not to fret, these places all still serve alcohol for that added kick one needs to enjoy live music. I know you might be thinking, “Live bands??? What am I, 50 years old??” but hey, we have your best interests at heart and that means no bad renditions of bad renditions of ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ or worse the pandering to millennials, ‘Despacito’ so frequently heard when listening to live music in KL but actual good music from well-established and maybe the surprise entry of a punk space (we told you we had your best interests at heart…)
1. Backyard Pub & Grill
Ah, the toll the working/studying week takes on all of us – if only there was a place where we could unwind, grab some beers while a well-established band such as Alleycats serenades us as we gorge on some delectable meals.
Sounds like a pipe dream? Well, proceed to Backyard Pub & Grill at Sri Hartamas and realize that dreams do come true! For almost 30 years, this establishment has been serving customers with steady flow of good drinks, good food and even music. Pop in on a random weekday and you’ll start to see how it has remained around for so long. The basic attire for each patron was just a t-shirt and shorts, personifying the bar’s unpretentious environment.
And its strong suit being the array of live bands from KL that perform every night, Backyard strays away from the cover band stereotype by hosting legendary musical artists and bands such as Alleycats, Blues Gang and The Strollers that will surely melt the biggest sceptic’s heart.
Address: 28, Jalan Sri Hartamas 8, Taman Sri Hartamas, 50490 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday: 5pm – 2 am
Telephone: 03-6201 0318
2. Tom, Dick and Harry
Another food and bar establishment started about 10 years ago, TDH first opened its doors to patrons in Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) and stepping into the place, one feels transported into a typical Irish tavern with a wide selection of tap and bottled beer to match. Winning TimeOut KL’s Best Pub Grub in 2013, you won’t go starving either. With a newly opened outlet in Oasis Damansara, Tom, Dick and Harry has established their mark as the go-to place for live music and drinking. The reason we at The Cool Bears recommended this joint is because HYDRA performs there weekly. If you didn’t know, HYDRA is one of the most veteran local live band in Malaysia. Ask any live music junkie or other live music bands and they’ll tell you that as well. So, don’t miss out on the chance to catch them their performance every Friday night!
Address: R-13A, Jalan PJU 1A/7A, Central Piazza Oasis, Ara Damansara, Jalan PJU 1A/7, Taipan 2 Damansara, 47600 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday: 4pm – 1am, Sunday: 4pm – 12am
Telephone: 03-7859 7858
Although fellow college peers might cast you a few side-eyes if you bring the whole gang along to these live music places, just remember you’ll be visiting almost historical live music sites while also gaining knowledge of local music history, something KYO or SIX Bangsar won’t be able to give you (you might have to wait another 40 years for those places to take that reigning crown). Plus, the prices of drinks will definitely have your wallet thanking you for once.
Last but not least,
3. Rumah Api a.k.a Gudang Noisy
All we want as college students to be accepted and liked. Maybe dragging your pals along to KL bars which live music typically caters to the aged 50 & over crowd definitely won’t win you any cool points (“Uh, it was an ironic decision?”) but there’s still time to redeem yourself yet. And that’s by bringing them to the coolest underground punk space in KL, Rumah Api. Aptly named Fire House, you already know things are going to be lit (am I doing this right? Am I cool enough for you millenials now?) but on’t let its hardcore exterior scare you, beginning around late 2010, the owner of Rumah Api wanted to create a safe space of all sorts with their main motto influenced by the punk principles of “No racism, no sexism and no homophobia” so everyone is welcomed.
Rumah Api’s Manifesto
With gigs happening almost every weekend, there will be no excuse for you to not bring your friends along to see the other side of KL’s nightlife. Hosting mainly punk, metal and rock bands, it’s truly a place to let go of all exhibitions and yes don’t worry, there’s a bar for you lot who need drinks to loosen up.
Address: No.1804, Level 18, Menara A, Jalan Pandan Utama, Persiaran Mpaj, Pandan Indah, 55100 Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: Friday: 9pm – 12:30am & Saturday: 5pm – 12:30am
Telephone: 014-610 7126
Live music in KL might get a bad rep amongst the younger Malaysian generation but we at The Cool Bears remind you to fully embrace it (ironically or not, that’s up to you). But because catching live bands at these establishments still gives you the opportunity to conversate and interact with your friends. We’re not denouncing the fun of partying at a club but for the ones who just want to sit back, drink a beer or two while listening to talented musicians, these are the options for you. And of course, Rumah Api will be perfect for those who want to explore the alternative of live bands in KL.