44 Bar @ The Row, Doraisamy

July 10, 2015

44 has a new address: KL's favourite pop-up cocktail bar has shifted from Bangsar's APW warehouse to an even more shadowy & secretive corner of the city, occupying a first-floor, back-alley space behind the former Asian Heritage Row.

Start at the front of The Row - near the League of Captains cafe - & follow the crumbs of clues that'll lead you to this secluded cavern of cocktails: Signposts crouching beside a tree trunk, clinging to a shop-lot wall & cast away above a set of stairs. 44 will stay here through October before likely moving again to an unconfirmed location, maybe in time for Christmas merriment.

The printing equipment that helped define 44's Bangsar setting won't be sighted here, but the design team of ALLTHATISSOLID has still managed to craft an intriguing look, uncluttered but nevertheless sprinkled with furnishing, patterns & small flourishes worth discovering. An aura of mystery remains intact, ideal for an intimate evening of exploration.

The place has changed, but thankfully, the people stay the same (more or less): 44 is still steered by chief bartender & cocktail creator CK, who shakes & stirs up a storm of insobriety with his team, five nights a week, Tuesdays to Saturdays, 5pm to 1am.

This is a speak-easy that succeeds in striking the balance between being serious about its concoctions while ensuring that customers enjoy the experience. With Gregory Porter crooning out of the speakers (1960 who?! 1960 what?!), CK conjures up cocktail magic in a swirl of smoke, relying on 44's exclusive speciality of American craft spirits - vodka, gin, moonshine, tequila, rum & whiskey - that spring from distilleries spanning Missouri to Massachusetts, Illinois to Oregon, Washington to New York.

New venue, new cocktails: 44 showcases a refreshed repertoire of cocktails (mostly RM44, heh), some aged in-bottle with American charred oak. You'll find classics reinterpreted - a Negroni with a twist, swapping vermouth for bourbon, plus a Cosmopolitan made for adults, with vodka that's nuanced with cranberry shrub & orange curacao, & a Donkey Kick with tequila reposado, jalapeno agave, cilantro, grapefruit & lime. With depth & complexities that demand attention, these drinks won't exactly be for easy drinking - even the rum with peanut butter isn't necessarily crowd-pleasing - but like everything about 44, the journey should be rewarding if you come with an open mind & curious heart. Many thanks to 44 for taking us on this trip.

44 Bar
The Row, Jalan Doraisamy, Off Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. Beside Sheraton Imperial Hotel. 
Tues-Sat, 5pm-1am. Tel: 03-7958-1377

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