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Changkat Bukit Bintang has often been likened to London’s Piccadilly Circus anNew York City’s Times Square. An avenue on which a large number of KL’s most popular barsand restaurants can be found, it is a trendy place that is great for pub crawling. It is actuallylocated just behind Jalan Bukit Bintang, so it's very easy to get to – particularly if you are stayingin the Golden Triangle area. It can get very busy here, especially during the weekends and publicholidays.
The buildings are unique because they used to be pre-war, colonial shop-houses that were refurbished and turned into upmarket pubs and restaurants – most of which serve western food. A short walk away is Jalan Alor, another famous KL city avenue, well known for its hawker stalls and Chinese seafood restaurants.
The dining options along Changkat Bukit Bintang are endless. It has been said that this is the street with the most vibrant restaurant scene in downtown Kuala Lumpur. Dedicated foodies would love the wide variety of gastronomic delights available here, from authentic, traditional dishes to fusion fare. Quaint and unique, the eateries here are as singular in décor as in menu.
Due to the variety of international offerings that can be found here, Changkat Bukit Bintang is sometimes dubbed the ‘United Nations of Fine Dining’. There’s Japanese (Yoko’s), Indian (The Mogul House), French (Le Bouchon), German (Deutches Haus), English (The Green Man), Lebanese (The Al Bait), Cuban (Little Havana), Brazillian (Bom Brazil Churrascaria), Russian (Dusha), Italian (Flam’s) and Thai (Baan 26). Alternatively, if you are not feeling too adventurous palate-wise, there are also restaurants that offer fusion delights such as Werner’s, twenty.one and Frangipani. Aside from a medley of authentic and fusion international cuisine, the street also has some specialty restaurants. For pork-lovers, there’s Elcerdo, a restaurant specialising in all things pork, and for fans of good old fish and chips, there’s The Magnificent Fish and Chips Bar, touted as the best fish-and-chips restaurant in town.
Don’t let looks fool you. It may look like there’s nothing much happening here during the day, but try to return a few hours later when all the establishments are in full swing and you’ll see what the fuss is all about. Some of the restaurants may look pretty sober during the day, but at night, it’s a different story altogether; during nighttime, the restaurants metamorphose into buzzing joints bursting with energy. The whole street comes alive with lights, colours, and sounds of music and people having a great time.
Pubs along the street such as Ceylon Bar, Hemingway’s, The Green Man and Little Havana transform into bustling drinking holes after dark. Some of the restaurants turn into hip and happening party venues by night, with their own cocktail bars and deejays spinning music all night long. Little Havana hosts a Salsa Party Night every Friday and Comedy Thursdays every first Thursday of each month - with the latter featuring stand-up comic performances from some of the nation’s best comedians. If live band performances are more your kind of thing, you can catch some live indie performances at Yoko’s every Fridays and Saturdays, and at Cloth & Clef every other night (check their listings). The latter also plays host to ‘Freaklub’ every Wednesday night, where a group of local deejays join forces in a series of exhilarating audio-visual performances. Two of the hippest party venues in town, Frangipani and twenty.one are popular haunts of the young and the trendy, situated at the end of the street just across from each other. Both feature resident deejays spinning various tracks all night long to suit different moods, from chill-out tunes to hip-grinding Latin house music.
Even though the street is quiet and devoid of action during daytime, you may walk along it during the day just to have a clearer view of the striking façades of the restaurants, and to enjoy the sight of the beautiful leftovers of yesteryears lining the street. In fact, as you explore this area during this time of the day, it tends to give you a sense of being cut off from the rest of the city, as, despite being right in the middle of a buzzing metropolis, the street feels uncannily calm and tranquil during the day. But be sure to return at night, preferably in the company of others, to fully appreciate what Changkat Bukit Bintang has to offer. Whether you’re looking for good food or a good time, make Changkat Bukit Bintang your first stop.