Text Ellfian Rahim
Has the proliferation of speakeasy bars across KL made stepping into a normal watering hole a wholly abnormal experience? Well, depends on what sort of an adventure you’re looking for after dark…
Bars across the locality of the various Telawis in Bangsar have progressively evolved over two decades – back then, you just had to be seen at a slick nightspot there, around the right mix of cool music and hip folks. Yes, back then it was more about getting a good social workout on night-outs.
Sitting upstairs of what used to be Echo – the one-time ‘it’ bar on Telawi 3 in the ‘90s – is the somewhat nondescript (at least from street level) AD Bar, or Anno Domini Bar for the more Latin literate amongst us. Suppose here, now, the sons and daughters of Echo’s one-time regulars can look forward to a brand new place offering a witches’ brew of mysterious, inviting flavours, with a dash of the macabre on the side as well.
Walking upstairs to enjoy a drink at this speakeasy may feel a bit like entering a cool yet creepy Halloween do! Bare stone walls, cement floors, and giant beams hanging from metal chains give the impression of being in an ancient dungeon. Skull-encrusted metal goblets perfect that illusion as well.
Co-owners Sue and Andrew keenly remind visitors that the core of any speakeasy should be in creating cocktails that balance the elements of acidity, sweetness, bitterness, and the natural standout flavour of any featured booze. “That can come in just three ingredients… or it can come in 20, but if a drink isn’t balanced, it’s not going to taste good,” reveals Sue.
To simplify things for those who tend to leave things to chance, the offerings on the menu at AD Bar are led by 12 signatures cocktails, divided into five sections: Refreshing, Fruity, Spicy, Potent, and Creamy.
Those hunting for refreshment should probably try the Dancing Ape (RM35) – a Tequila-infused cocktail with assam boi shaken together with pineapple puree and fresh lime juice. Meanwhile, anyone after something fruity may want to call on the Genie Pop (RM38) – a Gin-based tipple lifted with fresh grapefruit and limejuice with a citrusy crispness.
Fans of spicy drinks will be attracted to the jalapeño-infused Tequila, beer, passion fruit, and lime mix of the Grumpy Giant (RM38). Yes, it does sound intimidating this one… but have some courage and you’ll be pleasantly rewarded! But of course, for the less adventurous, there’s always beer on tap, and wine by the glass.
But if you’re not keen on having a discovery, then why bother? Certainly the AD Bar experience, perhaps more than anything else, represents a present reality of discovering and knowing new phenomena rather than sticking to the tried and tested. Even if its name, décor, and theme suggest antiquity.
21A Jalan Telawi 3,
59100 Kuala Lumpur.
Open: 5pm – 1am (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday), 5pm – 3am (Friday, Saturday), 4pm – 12am (Sunday), Closed on Tuesday
T: 03 2201 7979