There’s A New Circa In Town!

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?

When the lights go out, Circa is ‘THE’ place to be.
Source: Circa FB

**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
bar owner
It felt almost like a secret agent uncovering a secret hide out.

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.

Your mission should you choose to accept is to have the time of your life behind the hidden door! Dial the passcode and voila, you are in.

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.

Meet Roen (on the right) the man behind Circa and KC (on the left), his partner in crime who owns Saro Lounge in Paviilon.
Source: Circa FB

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 Parisian inspired ambience that greets the crowd at the first push of the door.
Source: Circa FB
Where can you find a bar with a free photo booth? Dress to impress and get your unlimited free snaps only at Circa.
Source: Circa FB

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.”

Circa’s manager
The elated crowd that makes Circa pulsate on a weekend.
Source: Circa Bar FB

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.

Circa’s DJs and selections of tunes never fail to impress the crowd. It is almost impossible to keep still when the music kicks in.
Source: Circa Bar FB

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

Imagine sipping on Captain Jack Sparrow with a hint of local flavours. Kidding! The flavours of jackfruit infused in rum with freshly squeezed thyme and grapefruit juice makes it a crowd-pleaser.
Source: Circa Bar

2. The House That Jack Built

Served in a glass that resembles a house, the exceptional use of Kopi 0 cold brew, Baileys and Jack Daniel with roasted marshmellow syrup on the side is as brilliant as it gets. Mind you, the flavours are rather strong but if you are a coffee lover then this will be the drink of choice.
Source: Circa Bar

3. Edison

Edison is by far the most popular drink especially with the ladies. Using Bulldog gin as its key ingredient, it complements the flavours of rose extract, cane syrup and kantan (ginger). It is certainly easy going on the taste buds and not to mention its presentation – a blue light bulb that actually illuminates!
Source: Circa Bar

4. Tongue Thai’d

Wittily described by Shawn as ‘Tom Yam’ in a cup. At first, the idea may seemed ghastly, but its flavours proved to be the exact opposite. It was a bold and fresh concept tailored to each individual’s taste buds, making it extremely palatable. Be prepared to be Tongue Thai’ed with every sip of this audacious drink.
Source: Circa Bar

5. Yuan Dynasty

It was an age old remedy when under the weather – a warm glass of cognac to ease the throat. Now add an element of tea marinated with orange peel and pandan leaf, you have yourself a warm cocktail. And when served in a Chinese tea pot, you now have the Yuan Dynasty cocktail. This is one drink that will leave you wanting for more.
Source: Circa Bar

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’s Main Bar

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!

About Jeevitha KUMAR

Hiker, mountain climber, diver, globe trotter, and all-round adventurer, she is probably one of a handful of medical doctors who has left her footprints (almost) all over the world.

2 Replies to “There’s A New Circa In Town!”

  1. It’s truly captivating to read about the emergence of Circa Bar KL in Malaysia’s speakeasy scene. The article vividly paints the picture of a hidden gem, and the concept of a secret agent-style entry with changing passcodes on Instagram adds an exciting element of adventure.

  2. Pingback: Memoirs Of Concubine KL: Petaling Street's Trendiest Hub - Espoletta

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *