Sunday, December 7, 2014

Liberty Spirits Cocktails by 44 @ APW Art Printing Works, Bangsar

"All that matters is that drink in your hand." With a tagline like that, we couldn't resist checking out this new pop-up bar that's running four nights a week for the next two or three months in the factory-warehouse space of Bangsar's Art Printing Works.

Perfect for drinkers who find their typical taverns & taprooms too stereotypical & sobering, this grungy-grimy hole in the wall feels like the sort of secret hideout that people will relish introducing to others; not chic but very cool - no faux in this industrial. 

Seek a seat amid what looks like rusting printing equipment in this museum-like room that APW calls The Bindery, tucked a bit behind the PULP coffee house. The bar opens Wednesdays through Saturdays; on a recent week-night, it was calm & empty.

The bartenders here are mainly Malaysians who've worked at places like The Bee, hired here to promote American craft spirits brought into Southeast Asia by Singapore-based company Liberty Spirits.
Dec. 22 Update: 44's founders have explained that the number is an homage to their first pop-up at 44 Lorong Muntri in Penang back in August during the Georgetown Literary Festival. 

But as far as the drinks on our hands were concerned, the bar delivered. Visitors will love the Bakon Vodka (RM20 per glass), a bacon-infused potato vodka by Seattle's Black Rock Spirits. Sniff it, then sip it - it smells like Marmite & tastes kinda like pork, with savoury umami notes that remain both potent & clean.

January Update: 44 now also offers Oyster Shooters, with fresh, raw molluscs dunked into Bakon Vodka, topped with tomato foam. Fans of Bloody Mary cocktails might enjoy this the most, but the flavours of bacon & oyster supply the most interesting & complex nuances.

Lots of interesting U.S. liquors available - Alaskan & Virginian-made whiskey, plus vodka from distilleries in Massachusetts, Oregon & Missouri, alongside gin from New York & Washington & rum from California & Colorado, all between RM20 & RM25 a glass. We didn't manage to try much, but we liked what we had; quality booze.

We checked out four of the five cocktails (RM40 each); we liked the Rushmore Thyme (New Deal 33 Gin, thyme, lemon juice, egg white, Bar Keep lavender bitters) & Darjeeling Jungle Bird (Crusoe Organic Spiced Rum, Campari, lime & pineapple juice) ...

... though tea lovers will probably prefer the Cascara Bee Sting (Cascara coffee cherry tea, See 7 Stars Moonshine Whiskey, honey, lemon juice) & Budapest Old Fashioned (Lapsang Sauchong black tea, Roundstone Rye Gin, orange ginger sugar, basement bitters).

January 2015 Update: 44 now also boasts a fun section nicknamed 'Gintoxicated,' where patrons can customise their own gin cocktails with a multitude of components, from citrus fruits like grapefruit & orange peels to herbs like thyme & parsley, plus rose buds, clove, cardamom, juniper berries, black pepper & even lavender. Experienced bartenders like CK will guide you through this playfully inventive process, ensuring the flavours of your cocktail remain expertly balanced & beautifully tuned.

Do not touch. APW is becoming quite the 'alternative events space,' a testament to its current operators' vision & work.

Looking for other new hangouts for cocktails in Bangsar? We've got you covered; head to Roost in Telawi.
Main entry on Roost & its menu: November 27. 

 Roost's Granny Smith Apple (RM28) will appeal to fruit fans, but we like the Peanut Butter Cup Martini (RM30) even better.

 The cocktails make for a nice finish to a meal of Roost's seafood selection - we're fans of the lavender-smoked king prawns with Malaysian mozzarella cheese & herbs (RM32) & the mangrove crab claw veloute with roasted corn & dill oil (RM28).

Cocktails by 44
Art Printing Works, 29, Jalan Riong, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur. Open 5pm-late, Wednesday-Saturday.

First Floor, 69-1, Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur. Open 1130am-1130pm, except Mondays.

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  1. Well, maybe the owner has his/her reason to why it is 44? Who knows?

    Cascara Bee Sting is definitely my type of alcohol if I'm in the mood for a glass. =)

    1. Waverly: yeah, that 44 bit is a mystery that leaves me curious :) heheh, yeah, it's a smoky cocktail :D

  2. Oooo....interesting seafood dishes. Sure would love to try these. The chairs look mighty flimsy though. Don't think I can sit on those. Hehehehehehe!!!!

    1. Suituapui: yeah, those seafood dishes are something special indeed, with interesting flavours :) I think those chairs are sturdy enough, but I didn't quite test them, heh :)

  3. Cocktails, alcohols! You have all the reasons to love this place Sean :p

    1. Ken: I definitely enjoyed this visit :)

  4. Replies
    1. The Yum List: a cross between a pop-up and a speak-easy, sort of :)

  5. It doesn't look very comfortable to me, but then again, I wasn't there. LOL! :)

    1. Linda: heh, yeah, it was comfy enough though, i think we spent nearly three hours there :)

  6. Love it! Pop ups bars are so fun! Wonder if it will start a new trend in KL?

    1. YouHadYourLunch: i'd be supportive of the trend! :)

  7. Very nice! I do wish the current mixology boom happened 10 years ago when I was drinking after work at bars and pub everyday and searching for a good cocktail (that was my drink of choice but we only had the usual suspects then - Martinis, Cosmopolitans, Bloody Mary etc) with over 50% of my paycheck as disposable income.

    I have too much commitments now and I don't drink as much too, drinks made well like these makes me want to start again (but mostly I wish I was 10 years younger). ;)

    1. Huai Bin: gosh, i know what you mean ... i feel like i had much more disposable income 10 years ago too! though back then, i was pretty satisfied with even a long island iced tea, heh :D wait till you edge closer to 40, like me ... i used to be able to polish nearly two bottles of wine in one sitting ... nowadays, i can barely finish one :)