Coley tops Malaysian entry on Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2019 list

Bar Trigona of Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur makes the cut this year at number 40.

The latest edition of the Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2019 list was revealed at an awards ceremony held at the Capitol Theatre in Singapore on May 9 (Photo: Asia's 50 Best Bars)

Coley has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a cocktail bar tucked away in the back half of Dr.Inc Café then in Bangsar. This year, the bar nabbed the 27th spot, an impressive leap from its previous number 46 ranking. Hong Kong’s The Old Man, an establishment that pays homage to Ernest Hemingway’s 1952 novel of the same name, swept the top gong, ousting two-time winner Manhattan in Singapore. 

Not every new bar in Kuala Lumpur needs to be an Instagram-seducing venue, invariably lodged in a “speakeasy location” that, really, isn't a secret at all. Coley is instrumental to the city’s presence on the cocktail map because of the mad skills of owner CK Kho and his advocacy of bartending. The ever-inventive mixer of elixirs often gives local ingredients top billing — all presented in a way that’s fun (did we mention brandy and air mata kucing?) and visually stimulating. 

Coley has moved to just a couple of shoplots down from its original location (Photo: Sam Fong/The Edge)

Fellow Malaysian bar JungleBird, previously in the 38th spot last year, dropped to number 44. Surpassing this rum-themed speakeasy by just four spots is newcomer Bar Trigona of the Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur

Known for using honey from trigona bee farm in Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan, the bar honours the hotel’s tradition of paying tribute to its locales. Creativity is exhibited in spades, as evidenced in the signature Trigona Old Fashioned, which replaces muddled sugar with trigona honey for an unusual sourish tang, and Terra, an alchemy of botanical gin, fresh lemon and turmeric, bianco vermouth and dry orange Curaçao, that has a deceptively healthy kick to it. 

The Old Man in Hong Kong is this year's Asia's Best Bar (Photo: The Old Man)

Regent Singapore’s Manhattan might have been dethroned but the number of Singaporean entries on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list proved that the Lion City is still a force to be reckoned with. It's well represented by Tipping Club, Gibson, 28 HongKong Street, Operation Dagger, D.Bespoke, Employees Only and The Other Room.


Here’s the full list of this year’s winners:

  1. The Old Man, Hong Kong
  2. Manhattan, Singapore
  3. Indulge Experimental Bistro, Taipei
  4. Native, Singapore
  5. Atlas, Singapore
  6. High Five, Tokyo
  7. Speak Low, Shanghai
  8. The Bamboo Bar, Bangkok
  9. Jigger & Pony, Singapore
  10. Quinary, Hong Kong
  11. Tippling Club, Singapore
  12. Coa, Hong Kong
  13. The SG Club, Tokyo
  14. Charles H, Seoul
  15. Gibson, Singapore
  16. Sober Company, Shanghai
  17. Bar Benfiddich, Tokyo
  18. The Wise King, Hong Kong
  19. Le Chamber, Seoul
  20. Backstage, Bangkok
  21. 28 HongKong Street, Singapore
  22. Operation Dagger, Singapore
  23. Trench, Tokyo
  24. Aha Saloon, Taipei
  25. D.Bespoke, Singapore
  26. Vesper, Bangkok
  27. Coleys, Kuala Lumpur
  28. Bar Orchard Ginza, Tokyo
  29. Alice Cheongdam, Seoul
  30. Union Trading Company, Shanghai
  31. Tropic City, Bangkok
  32. The Pontiac, Hong Kong
  33. Lobster Bar & Grill, Hong Kong
  34. Rabbit Hole, Bangkok
  35. Hope & Sesame, Guangzhou
  36. Stockton, Hong Kong
  37. The Curator, Manila
  38. Otto E Mezzo Bombana, Hong Kong
  39. Union Brasserie, Bakery and Bar, Jakarta
  40. Bar Trigona, Kuala Lumpur
  41. Employees Only, Singapore
  42. Smalls, Bangkok
  43. Bar Mood, Taipei
  44. JungleBird, Kuala Lumpur
  45. Draft Land, Taipei
  46. The Other Room, Singapore
  47. Oto, Manila
  48. Teens of Thailand, Bangkok
  49. Mixology Salon, Tokyo
  50. The Backroom, Manila


The latest edition of the Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2019 list was revealed at an awards ceremony held at the Capitol Theatre in Singapore on May 9. 


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