This one’s for you if you’re looking to spice up your nights in Penang. Often dubbed as a culinary haven with diverse culture and rich history, George Town also has a thriving nightlife scene to boast. Whether you’re a local looking to shake off the stress of the workweek or a tourist seeking a taste of Penang’s vibrant nightlife, we’ve rounded up eight incredible bars that will leave you buzzing with excitement.

From trendy rooftop hangouts with breathtaking views to hidden gems tucked away in bustling lanes off the main streets, Penang has something for everyone. So, grab a drink, loosen up, and let’s dive into a night of unforgettable fun as we paint the town — or rather, the island — red.

Safety tips for a night out

At Zafigo, we are passionate about travelling and going forth to discover, but with safety in mind, of course. While the below tips may be something we’re all aware of, it doesn’t hurt to be reminded.

  • Drink responsibly: Don’t drink and drive. If you and your group choose to take your own mode of transportation, assign a designated driver. Otherwise, use e-hailing services like Grab or Trevo, a car-sharing app.
  • Ride respectfully: No matter how inebriated, whether you’re in a friend’s car or an e-hailing taxi, be considerate and keep the driver’s car clean.
  • Avoid being alone: Try your best to stick with your group of friends and stay in well-lit places at all times.
  • Mind your belongings: In this digital day and age, there’s no need to bring 101 things in your bag. Keep it minimal and hold your belongings close to you wherever you go.

Now, on to the fun bit…

1. Backdoor Bodega

Ever heard of Backdoor Bodega? If you haven’t, you should check it out. This super cool joint hidden behind an enamel pin store made its debut on Asia’s 50 Best Bars 51-100 List at a solid #97 in 2022. Koh Yung Shen, the founder, came up with the idea back in 2016 when he couldn’t find a chill spot to kick back and enjoy some craft cocktails.

During the pandemic, their cocktails got pretty famous because they were cleverly named after COVID-19 vaccinations. Talk about making a buzz. And even though it’s a small bar, their menu packs a punch with over 40 specialty drinks to choose from.

Address: 37 Jalan Gurdwara, 10300 George Town, Penang

Website Icon Facebook Icon Instagram Icon

2. Manchu Bar, George Town

The interior of this bar is like a red explosion — think lion statues, lanterns, couches, lights, you name it! They’ve fully embraced the chinoiserie-inspired concept, and it’s definitely an eyeful. While the decor may seem flashy and over-the-top for some, you’ll soon forget about it as you get blown away by the bartender’s sheer creativity.

It’s definitely worth swinging by this unique joint just to witness their mixologist in action. They can whip up a mind-blowing drink customised to your taste and interests. It’s like sippin’ on pure magic!

Address: 38 & 40, Jalan Pintal Tali, 10100 George Town, Penang
Contact: +6012 500 7588

Facebook Icon Instagram Icon

3. Nomad Bar

Nomad is the newest player in George Town’s cocktail scene. Located along Lebuh Kimberley, this place has got it all. Picture a nice and cosy atmosphere, perfect for chillin’ with your pals. And let’s not forget about their creative and oh-so-smooth drinks that are sure to make your taste buds sing.

Seriously, once you set foot into Nomad, you might just end up spending the entire night there. It’s that good! So grab your family and friends, head on over, and get ready for a night filled with good vibes and incredible libations.

Address: 243, Lebuh Kimberley, 10100 George Town, Penang
Contact: +6011 5177 0186

Facebook Icon Instagram Icon

4. Good Friends Club

Above its inconspicuous doorway, there’s a sign that reads, “Good friends never bojio.” Now, if you’re not familiar with Penang’s Hokkien dialect, bojio translates to ‘not invited’ or ‘FOMO (fear of missing out)’.

But the sign is not all that makes this place special. Cocktail enthusiasts from all over flock here for a reason. They serve up some of the most mind-blowing and inventive drinks you’ll find on the whole island. And get this: they take inspiration from Penang’s world-renowned local cuisine.

Think ban chang kuih — the famous peanut pancake — given a cocktail twist. It’s like sipping on a taste of Penang’s culinary greatness while enjoying your favourite libations.

Address: 39 Jalan Gurdwara, 10300 George Town, Penang
Contact: +6010 568 0527

Facebook Icon Instagram Icon

5. Magazine 63

Tucked away on Magazine Road, Magazine 63 proudly claims to be the first upscale speakeasy lounge bar in Penang, and hidden behind a pretty mundane entrance, you’d think otherwise. However, once inside, you’ll be greeted by a distinct and cosy ambiance — this place is all about chinoiserie aesthetics and is the perfect spot for a laid-back night out.

Picture vintage furnishings, dim lighting, and a chill vibe that’ll make you feel right at home. Oh, and let’s not forget about their carefully crafted cocktails. These mixologists know their stuff, and they’ll whip up some liquid magic just for you.

Address: 63, Jalan Magazine, 10300 George Town, Penang
Contact: +6017 636 3551

Facebook Icon Instagram Icon

6. No Bar Here

No Bar Here is run by the same awesome folks behind Backdoor Bodega, and let us tell you, this place IS a vibe! With a cheerful group of bartenders ready to serve up some liquid goodness, you’re in for a treat! The best part? No Bar Here is conveniently located on the same street as its sister establishment.

So, if you loved Backdoor Bodega, you’re gonna love this place too. They’ve got some killer beverages that are on par with the ones at Backdoor Bodega.

Address: 25, Jalan Gurdwara, 10300 George Town, Penang

Instagram Icon

7. Beso Rosado

The Mediterranean-themed restaurant and bar Beso Rosado, previously known as Golden Shower by ChinChin, was partially influenced by their executive chef Jack Yeap and his former El Faro Tapas Bar.

With an emphasis on handcrafted syrups, spices, herbs, and infusions combined with sophisticated techniques and appealing presentations, the bar offers a quirky, entertaining, and distinctive cocktail menu created by head mixologist Francesco Moretti who takes inspiration from memories, nature, and art.

Address: 86, Lebuh Bishop, 10200 George Town, Penang
Contact: +604 263 6868

Facebook Icon Instagram Icon

8. Foxhole 24

If you’re all about specialty cocktails and artisanal liquor, Foxhole 24 is the place to be. Here’s the deal: their skilled bartenders are like liquid wizards. They can whip up a custom cocktail tailored specifically to your tastes.

But if you’re not sure what you’re in the mood for, don’t worry. They’ve got a lineup of famous concoctions that are sure to blow your tastebuds. These bartenders really know their stuff, so you won’t regret a night out here.

Address: 24 Muntri Street,10200 George Town, Penang
Contact: +6017 536 5128

Instagram Icon