Hidden Bar Plaza Damansara

Hidden Bar Plaza Damansara

Hidden Bar Plaza Damansara – The First Chapter Speakeasy

Words: Jacob Weber
Photos: Han Sen Hau

I apologise in advance for using one of the more predictable cliches in hospitality journalism.

But The First Chapter really is a “hidden gem”.

“Hidden” because there are three bookshelves-slash-secret-entrances to choose from when you arrive upstairs, but only one that opens. (And if you’re like me, it’ll be third time lucky.)

“Gem” because this place is simply glowing. (And they have fantastic happy hours: 2-for-1 on beer, wine and signature cocktails from opening until 9 pm!)

Hidden Bar Plaza Damansara – The First Chapter

Hidden Bar Damansara Heights
The First Chapter Speakeasy New Location

The First Chapter is technically the third chapter in this story. Originally a darling of TTDI’s trendy bar scene, it’s now relocated to Damansara Heights, an ice cube’s throw from its sister speakeasy, Benang the Second Chapter. (See what I mean by ‘third’?)

Behind the secret bookshelf, it’s all style and sophistication: dark wood, soft lighting, plush furnishings, cosy, classy and cosmopolitan. And the team have given serious attention to the finer details that really add to the ambience and atmosphere, from the intricately carved wooden ceiling lattice to the water jet-carved soft stone wall panelling.

Plus, of course, the perfect finishing touch: the vintage typewriters. Personally sourced by the founders—literally, as these come from friends and family all over Malaysia—these old-school artefacts add a little nostalgic contrast to the luxurious modern decor.

Oh, and behind that fancy ceiling feature? Funky disco lights which dance to the tune of the DJ’s beat. Because The First Chapter is both a stylish speakeasy bar (in the early evening) and a vibrant party venue (as the night draws in).

Hidden Bar Damansara Heights
Typewriters Sourced from Around Malaysia
Hidden Bar Damansara Heights
DJ Booth
Hidden Bar Damansara Heights
The Bar
The First Chapter Speakeasy New Location
Hidden Bar Damansara Heights

And when the cocktails are this well made, you’ll be sticking around for a few hours — and soon dancing to the DJ’s tune yourself.

Anyway, speaking of cocktails, it’s time to take a very comfortable seat and get started.

The First Chapter Speakeasy New Location
Hidden Bar Plaza Damansara
The First Chapter Speakeasy New Location
Oriental Express
The First Chapter Speakeasy New Location
Year of the Dragon – Cocktails to Suite All Palates

Cocktail Menu

It’s Pink (RM38) is a punchy Patron Silver-based cocktail with pomegranate shrub to soften the blow of the tequila and kaffir lime for a little depth. A great way to open the palate and start the evening.

Gin lovers will adore the Elevated Elderflower (RM45), a fresh, sharp and well-balanced number featuring Tanqueray No. 10, elderflower liqueur, grapefruit juice and soda.

The First Chapter Speakeasy New Location
Elevated Elderflower & It’s Pink

The Year of the Dragon (RM45) certainly tastes auspicious; this colourful concoction also features Tanqueray No. 10, blended with dragon fruit and elderflower liqueur and topped with chickpea-based aquafaba.

Hidden Bar Plaza Damansara
Hidden Bar Plaza Damansara

Vegan-friendly Cocktails

Speaking of which — everything on the menu is vegan-friendly. (No egg whites in the foam here, for example.) Bonus Yum List points for sustainability and inclusivity, then!

Oriental Express (RM42) is remarkably sweet for a whiskey-based cocktail, which is a pleasant surprise. It’s their version of a Whiskey Sour (which explains why I like it); Prohibition Whisky, yuzu, Cointreau and orange make for a nice and sharp combination, with that vegan-friendly aquafaba to give it some texture.

Hidden Bar Plaza Damansara
Craft Cocktails

Monica’s favourite is the Kopi O’ Mexicana (RM38), which is no surprise — it’s dark and bitter. To be fair, it’s an excellent cocktail; at first, you can only taste the single espresso shot before the mezcal and Kahlua come out to play. You could easily get through a few of these quickly before they all hit you at once. At least the coffee will give you the energy for the dancefloor.

The First Chapter Speakeasy New Location
Kopi O’ Mexicana – Hidden Bar Plaza Damansara

Likewise, the Spiked Matcha Latte (RM45) is smooth, delicious and dangerously good. Expertly prepared and perfectly balanced, this combines Grey Goose vodka, sweet Frangelico liqueur, Niko Neko matcha powder, and fresh or oat milk blended with caramel. It really tastes like a matcha latte; you can even try and kid yourself it’s healthy.

The First Chapter Speakeasy New Location
The Matcha Latte You Can’t Bring Home

We have the honour of being the first to try the Mr Black Deck (RM 38), a brand-new addition to this brand-new bar. It’s made with Mr Black coffee liqueur from Australia, which is quality stuff. This is surprisingly (and pleasantly) sweet for a coffee-based cocktail; it looks like an espresso martini and tastes like a piña colada, which is not a bad thing at all.

Hidden Bar Plaza Damansara
Cocktails for All Tastes

Hidden Bar Plaza Damansara

It’s getting to that point in the evening where the lights go down, and the music goes up — and after several excellent cocktails, there’s much foot-tapping and head-nodding going around. But before those funky ceiling lights tempt us into too much trouble, we figure it’s time to take our leave. We’re professionals, after all … but we’ll be back, off the clock, and on the dancefloor.

Hidden Bar Plaza Damansara
Hidden Bar Plaza Damansara – Melon Refresher

Reasons to visit The First Chapter Speakeasy, a hidden bar in Plaza Damansara: stylish speakeasy joint, perfect for an after-dinner drink or a full-blown night out; creative cocktail menu with vegan-friendly ingredients and unique flavours; excellent service; good energy in a space that’s small enough to be intimate but big enough to be bouncing into the small hours; fantastic happy hours – 2-for-1 on beer, wine and signature cocktails from opening until 9 pm!

The First Chapter Speakeasy – Hidden Bar Plaza Damansara
Jalan Medan Setia 2, Bukit Damansara, 50490 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
@thefirstchapterspeakeasy
+60 12 239 1738

Opening Hours
Wednesday to Sunday: 6 – 12 pm

Find more KL bar recommendations here, and stay up-to-date on the latest gourmet and travel happenings around Malaysia here and here.

One Comment

  1. Pretty place 😀

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