Brooklyn Bar KL
Words: Morgan Michaels
Photos: Rich Callahan
It would appear that KLites can’t get enough hidden bars, as a new one seems to open almost weekly. The latest cool escape on the scene is Brooklyn Bar, a speakeasy in Damansara Heights. As an American native with New York being one of my favourite cities in the US, I was excited to take a quick trip back home when entering Brooklyn Bar KL, and I am here to tell you it did NOT disappoint!
Brooklyn Bar KL
Even before entering, I could feel the Brooklyn pulse from the moment we arrived on the Damansara bar, and restaurant/bar hop paradise strip. Brooklyn Bar KL is perfectly hidden down the alleyway beside Gravy Baby. We spotted the black staircase with a projector light logo on the cement to point us to the unassuming delightful surprise up the steps. Instantly I got a sense of that DL underground spot where you normally would need your name on the guest list a month prior, a password, or have an in with the doorman. Luckily for already appointed hip KLites, there is an automatic in with the owner; you might just have to use the Password: Yum List for the EXTRA special treatment (just kidding). Although you will feel like a VIP upon entry.
When we walked in, the DJ station was bumping with fun hip-hop, pop, and house beats. The dimly lit setting with vintage brown leather couches instantly made me feel like I was in a cozy den in someone’s very rad home. As we headed towards the second corridor space, we passed the bar or what Mark, one of the co-founders of Brooklyn Bar KL, referred to as “the heart”, and what a big, loving, special heart Brooklyn Bar KL proved to be.
As we entered the second living room-like space, the French windows were open with a nice breeze and a view of the trees lined by the bottom of the strip. Post sunset, the blackout curtains are closed, and party on!
Once we took in the uber-cool surroundings, we got down to business with a good look at the cocktail menu. Iconic names such as the Brooklyn Sour and Empire State struck me as the suitable place to begin, so we launched the tasting with two of the city’s landmarks.
The Brooklyn Sour (RM 45) is a tasty interpretation of the classic with bourbon, house-made fig reduction, orange zest and lemon juice shaken together with egg white, giving an elegantly foamed top.
The second drink was quite the show-stopper. Just as the cocktail’s namesake building, The Empire State (RM 40), went through 15 design changes to ensure it was the tallest of its nature at the time, the beverage also saw some serious experimentation to get just the right mix of flavours. Ultimately, vodka, Campari, passionfruit and lemon juice won the bid. The presentation of this drink is worth the order alone. Presented in a clear dome, once lifted, the drink actually glowed!
My favourite drink of the evening was the Barbarian (RM 45) – bourbon, barley syrup and chocolate bitters, served in a martini glass and a seaweed garnish with a balance of sweet and Malaysian spice. It brought that Sex and City vibe, and I was thrilled to be channelling my inner Carrie Bradshaw.
As someone who is a huge fan of the Moscow mule, the Rusty Copper (RM 40) Bourbon, Cynar, lapsang tea, artichoke vermouth and lemon juice had a unique Malaysian taste. The sprinkled sugared coconut gave my taste buds a run for their money.
As custom, Monica always likes to try a classic, and her go-to is Negroni. Being rather particular about the gin used, she is always curious how bartenders fashion the flavours with the use of different brands and slight adjustments of portions. The pinch of sea salt brought out the fullness of the drink, that she was joyfully surprised by how well Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin worked in the mix.
If there is something outside the menu you fancy, Danny is ready to turn his creative wheels to come up with a unique drink for any guest.
As we sipped and swooned over the various drinks, we got to dive into some eats to coat the tummy. (Nom Nom).
Brooklyn Bar KL Eats
The winner for me was the Vegetarian Croquetas (RM 27)! A Medley of carrot, potatoes and green peas was accompanied by sun-dried tomato dip. This is coming from a hardcore meat eater. These mini veg logs were an awesome mix of crunchy on the outside and mushy, melting-in-your-mouth gooeyness that makes you say “mmmmMMm” on the inside.
We also tried Mark’s all-time favourite, the Ravioli Con Salsa Di Tartufo Bianco (RM 52) – homemade ravioli stuffed with ricotta cheese and spinach with white truffle sauce, the key being the secret sauce. Other hearty choices are the Smoked Beef Brisket (RM 55), which has been smoked for 12 hours and served with mashed potato, and the Margherita Pizza (RM 34), an excellent sharing plate. Veggie lovers might also appreciate the Grilled Eryngii Mushroom (RM 18) served with butter shoyu.
My advice would be to start spreading the news KLlites; Brooklyn Bar KL is here to stay! One word kept coming to mind with every element. Balance. From the feng shui energy to the crunchy and soft croquettes, the warm den to hot club, spicy and sweet cocktails, there is a yin to every yang of Brooklyn Bar KL.
If Brooklyn bar KL was a cocktail, it would be a base of soulful speakeasy, a twist of the streets and a splash of smooth and sexy.
Reasons to visit Brooklyn Bar KL: cuddly and clubby atmosphere; cool breeze and upstairs view; the feeling like you are at home before sunset and can take a quick nap on the couch before the party starts; the mix of different genre music beats, the mixologist wizard Danny who can make any drink of your choice on the spot plus anything off the menu to your liking. Lastly, for me, Ladies’ Night because you know I’ll be dropping like it’s hot on the dance floor. There really is something for everyone!
There is also a bonus activity for selfies and social media lovers. You can snap a photo of Brooklyn KL’s unique creation of the Brooklyn Bridge in a nook by the bar. You’ll be able to post it for your followers, and they might just think you took a quick pop-over trip to the bustling Big Apple. Psst, I promise I won’t tell ;).
Brooklyn Bar KL
No 16-2, Second Floor, Medan Setia 2
Plaza Damansara, Damansara Heights
50490 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+6011 – 3315 5330
Brooklyn Bar KL Opening Hours
Daily 5 pm ’til late
The food menu is available from 5 – 9:30 pm.
Brooklyn Bar KL Special Nights
Thursday- Ladies’ Night – free flow of gin & vodka from 10 pm – 2 am
Thursday- R&B & Hip Hop Hits
Friday- Retro & R&B
Saturday- House & EDM