Why cocktail bars fail

I’ve seen ’em come, I’ve seen ’em go. And go…ooze.

Cocktail bars in KL tend not to do too well, tho they start pretty ambitious. I have several explanations for this. (U can also read this post about my observations on how bars can make customers consume more.)

The main one is the pricing system in this country. On top of the govt tax, bars and clubs mark-up their drinks 100% easy, and many even mark-up 200%! And that’s just for regular booze.

Cocktails? Probably 300%.

Why mark-up so highly? Because they do. And anyway you’d probably blame the government for the high prices.

(If they use cheap-shit alcohol, mark up is 1000+ %)

Cocktail culture? Not yet. Maybe not ever

Hence, people prefer to buy bottles of spirits – more bang for your buck. Higher ROI. If everybody bought individual drinks all their lives, all drinkers wd be broke by now. Cocktails? Double-broke.

So we’re so used to keeping things simple – a bottle of whisky, a pitcher of Coke or water. Done deal. Vodka? Orange or cranberry. That’s as complicated as the cocktails get for the general population.

Cocktail orders tend to be limited to sangria, margarita, mojito

Another major factor is the local F&B industry have really fucked things up. Many bars are stingy, and instead of using regular spirits in their cocktails, they use cheap-ass moonshine from Klang, meaning the cocktails taste like cock. Malaysian have gotten used to crap cocktails because of this, and so are not into it anymore. Besides shit taste, u could earn yorself a good hangover.

So-called popular bars do this too, so better check next time ur there. And many bars also use crap mixers, even if they use premium spirits. What’s the point?

U wanna pay 20-30 bucks for a piece of shit?

As for me, even tho i’m all over the  goddam place, i’ve  rarely come across really good-tasting cocktails, even by good bartenders using good shit. 80% are unbalanced and not smooth. Most are too sour, many are too sweet. One sip may be fine, but then finishing the whole glass is a different story. It can be a struggle!

What a waste of alcohol. And a waste of hard-earned money.

I think these bartenders need to drink their own cocktails a lot more, and not dip a skinny-ass straw into it and have a tiny sample. Of course most cocktails taste fine like that. Drink the whole glass. Or three.

Some bars even hire clueless foreigners! But i’ve already talked about this before.

I usually reserve cocktail-making for my house parties or travel or my blog parties.

Yea baby!

I’ve done a better job than some of these guys if i say so myself, with my Kelapa Rock (coconut water-based cocktail) and Brown Brown (Milo-ais based cocktail), among others. Easy, tasty.

At the moment, the better-known cocktail bars are View Bar, 21 and Tate. Be prepared to pay high prices.

One of the longest-living and coolest cocktail lounge was Chill. It was real smooth. Great cocktails, reasonable prices, great chilled Ibiza and Hed Kandi tunes in the afternoon/evening (and soul/funk house later at night, courtesy of DJ me!), funky decor, cool guys, and hot chicks. It had a good four-year run, but was ahead of its time.

Like dumb blondes, some only LOOK good

I look forward to cocktail bars for mainstream drinkers, with good mixers, normal-standard spirits, reasonable prices, balanced-tasting drinks, cool decor, and innovative bartenders. O yea, solid tunes too.

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5 thoughts on “Why cocktail bars fail

  1. Chill was really good – was my favourite hang out for many years…celebrated my 20th birthday there. Damn it’s been so long. It’s amazing that lasted as long as they did for 4 years in the ‘wrong’ Phileo block (they were the only bar there)

  2. Sultan Lounge (although I’m aware it’s not a bar) serves AMAZING Long Island Tea. Price may be steep for a glass but quality of taste, excellent. Just had to put it out here.

  3. haven’t popped by for a long while and was scrolling through past feeds.. usually don’t comment but reading this i went AMEN! all the way!

    ps: start up one? real cocktail bars.. 😀

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