Sacré bleu, where is it? The concept of speakeasy bars have recently garnered steam in Malaysia. Think of the adage ‘the less you reveal, the more people will wonder.’ The allure of a tucked away prohibition era-inspired bar popularised by word of mouth is the absolute core behind these establishments. While their numbers are sprouting, the arrival of Circa Bar KL into the scene has gotten people all abuzz. So what actually sets it apart from the rest?
**This article contains non-halal elements!**
Dial C For Circa
“There is an element of prestige to it. The very word Circa represents ambiguity and it complemented the whole ‘journey’ of its discovery – the transition from a dimly lit back alley of a shop lot to a boudoir brimmed with energy and finesse.”roen cian
It felt like a scene out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie. A dingy looking back alley flagged by a red brick wall with a mysterious ‘hole’ in it. There is a sense of enigma in walking through a wall, up a spiral staircase and dialing a passcode on a telephone to unlock a hidden door. Staying true to the notion of speakeasy, there were no signages, only an instruction on the website about its location. On an interesting note, the passcode changes on a weekly basis and can be retrieved on Circa’s Instagram page.
A Chic Invitation
Behind closed doors, Circa is not at all like its exterior. The first push of the door revealed a charming boudoir with mismatched vintage furniture, dramatic floor lamps, and draperies. “I took inspiration from a Parisian themed event in Ibiza. Similarly, I loved the whole idea of a well compartmentalised space as it creates a cosy vibe with a personal touch to it,” says Roen who owns the establishment.
From the repetitive Andy Warhol like creation of its space to its unexpected design twists – imagine a photo booth, personal library and an elegant bath tub in a cocktail bar – Circa truly exudes a sense of ‘je ne sais quois’ in every aspect. In one sweeping look, it is was the Roaring 20’s again right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.
The Life Of Circa
“It doesn’t quite fit the stereotype of a speakeasy. Not only is it just a cocktail bar but it transforms into a club later into the night. Watching the crowd pour in and seeing the elated expressions on their faces makes me love what I do.”Shawn
Music has always been the lifeline of any night entertainment. Turn off the music completely and you have a dead bar. However, there is a balance that needs to be struck when pleasing speakeasy goers. “Our pool of crowd is not looking for another rave party or a mundane bar. They are here for that right mix of music and relaxation. Here our favourite tunes are old school R&B and contemporary music. More importantly, our music is just at the right level to carry a conversation,” says Roen.
The Signature Cocktails
The pièce de résistance of Circa will have to be the cocktail bar with its unique concoction of drinks. McKay, Circa’s very own mixologist adroitly concocts all cocktails using our favourite local flavours, making it truly Malaysian. “My biggest inspiration is Erik Fiza, the man behind Circa’s tantalising cocktails. As a mixologist, we work to formulate new cocktails and believe me, there is more to come!”
Here Are Circa’s Top 5 Cocktails
1. Captain Jack Sparrow
2. The House That Jack Built
4. Tongue Thai’d
5. Yuan Dynasty
The Ceaseless Charm
Although some might dispute Circa’s notion of a speakeasy, the bottom line is that it has garnered a niche of its own. Hate it or love it, this fledgling bar is cementing its popularity in Kuala Lumpur’s nightlife and is well on its way to becoming a household name. From a dingy alleyway to a chic Parisian-esque bar, be prepared to be bewitched and beguiled by Circa’s ceaseless charm.
Circa Bar KL is located at 8-7, Jalan Batai, Bukit Damansara, 50490 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur. For more information on its operating hours, location and bookings, do visit Circa Bar KL’s website. Alternatively, they’re also active on Facebook and Instagram too.
P.S. For all the lovely ladies out there, mark every Thursday on your calendar. It is Circa’s ladies night and treat yourself to endless flow of cocktails from 9pm onwards!