It was nearly an hour past midnight on a working Tuesday when we reached the row of faded Chinatown shop-lots that house PS150. There were scant signs of life - save for a few stray dogs & cats - as we stumbled through the darkness of an ominously grim back-alley, searching for the discreet doorway to this new watering hole. It was worth the anxious hunt - this intensely atmospheric bar is poised to be one of 2016's most popular caverns of cocktails, lit with crimson lanterns & neon calligraphy that translates into Petaling Street's Cantonese name, evoking some ethereal scene from a Wong Kar-wai movie.
PS150 is a labyrinthine hideout with corridors seemingly filled with secrets - if these peeling brick walls could speak, they might whisper of this building's bygone years as a brothel. The bar is still a work in progress, with a formal launch slated for mid-January. By then, customers will be able to access PS150 from the building's front, through an entrance set up to look like a vintage toy shop. A subsequent passageway adorned with decades-old photographs of anonymous faces will contain booths cloaked with curtains for privacy. A smoking hall with repurposed furnishing is next, followed finally by the main bar, permeated with an aura of authenticity that's unattainable by speakeasies in shopping malls, commercial complexes & modern shop-lots.
PS150's cocktails prove as soulful as the place, crafted by chief bartender Angel Ng, well-known in KL's mixology scene, with a dedication to fairly priced quality. Temptations include the Pandan Flip (RM38; pandan-infused dark rum, coconut, bitters, egg yolk), Lychee No. 3 (RM38; London dry gin, lychee, ginger flower, lime), Red Poison Princess (RM90 for a serving for two; tequila, mezcal, absinthe, raspberry, lime, soda) & The Last Rite (RM50; gin, Chartreuse, maraschino liquor, absinthe, lime).
Here's how to locate PS150 for the next couple of weeks before its front entrance is ready. It's in the same building as Merchant's Lane cafe, & it's every bit as welcoming (look for Will or Angel to ensure you're taken care of); there's parking around the building. The bar aims to eventually become a lively hive of uniquely engaging activities like drunken spelling bees & bring-your-own-music Sunday afternoons (Manic Street Preachers, anybody?). We'll be hearing a lot about PS150 in 2016.
Ground Floor, 150 Jalan Petaling, Kuala Lumpur. Currently Mon-Sat, 8pm-2am.
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