Tate — KL’s first destination bar


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Tate entrance

We went to new bar last night, just around the corner from us, called Tate (review on Eat Drink KL). It was new in the sense that we’d never been before, but also in that it had very recently opened. In fact, some of the signage around the Intermark building where the bar resides still read ‘opening soon’. The hotel staff didn’t even know where is was, let alone whether it was open for business.

Now, when I say ‘destination bar’, I mean somewhere you deliberately make your way to, not just stumble upon. Kuala Lumpur is full of cookie-cutter, ‘oh look here are some tourists’-style bars which, coming from Melbourne, is a bit of a let down (but you get used to it). Tate on the other hand, feels like it could be in Melbourne. Certainly a place you could say is impossible to stumble upon.

We eventually found it by walking up to the staff of a different bar and asking if they knew where Tate was. The bar man looked at the other staff, turned back to us and said ‘follow me’. Follow me? Interesting. We were led to the wall at the end of his and were asked ‘How did you hear about Tate?’ Um… on the internet? The answer must’ve been the right one, because he reached out and put his hand on an invisible handle and opened up the textured white wall. Yes, that’s right, I said he opened the wall! It was like a heavy bank vault door, and as we smiled and walked into the dark, cavernous entry to Tate, I glimpsed a tiny black word on a small mirrored wall feature: TATE.

On the inside, the texture which appeared on the white wall/door, was repeated but on black and dark brown. The theme of Tate is The Gentleman’s Club; dark leather lounges, private booths, low light, and high-end drinks and cocktails. And it pulls it off pretty well (aside from the fresh leather smell, and the distinct lack of cigar smoke, despite the back wall being a walk-in glass cigar cabinet. But I’m not really complaining about the lack of smoke). They even had a pub-sized pool table with purple felt linen.

After a couple of drink we were joined by one half of the dynamic Irish duo of Gavin and Anne-Marie. Gavin was walking past on his way home from work, so we coaxed him inside with the promise of beer (didn’t take much actually. For a challenge, try tempting Gavin with the best steak in KL…). Anne-Marie was to join us a little later, while the Cypriate Cypriot walked in right about here.

Another (potentially expensive[1. After Gavin had ordered his bottle of beer, the waited came back to inform him they didn’t have it by the glass, only the bottle. Confused Gavin probed a bit further and found instead of taking his order for one bottle of Estrella Damm Lager, the waiter took it for one bottle of Dom Perignon(!). Luckily he came back to check before we heard the cork pop.]) drink later and it was time to stretch the old pool cue fingers. Long story short, I lost (what’s new?) but the best apart about the game was a) it was free, and b) the staff would enthusiastically retrieve the balls and rack them up for your next game! Awesome! This left us to concentrate on what we were at the bar for: drinking.

Anne-Marie joined us around about here and after another drink and some conversation, had been bestowed the nickname of ‘potatoes’, and possibly ‘spuds’ for short. I think she was well chuffed with it. We’ll see how it plays out. (Incidentally Anne-Marie had run a half-marathon on the weekend — three hours of continuous running through the streets of KL, beginning at 5:30am. This had nothing to do with her new nickname though. Right. Where was I?).

After another drink and a couple games of pool, we decided to move along and grab a bite to eat. Tate doesn’t do food, although during the three hours we were there the staff served up a continuous assortment of nuts, stuffed olives, and delicious corn chips, which was welcomed.

We left a little tipsy, and a lot happy[2. Sometimes you gotta forsake proper spelling and grammar for artistic reasons.]. We thanked the staff as we left and I’m sure they were thanking us as well, hoping that we’d spread the word about the semi-secret bar called Tate. Which, I guess, I am.

Despite it being a really fun night, Tate did have a couple of negatives which I must mention. First, The Cypriot’s glass of water had what appeared to be a lipstick mark on it. Upon notification the glass was taken away and quickly and apologetically replaced. Secondly, and this may not be such a bad thing, The Cypriot’s pomegranate cocktails were not on the bill. Upon notification (being the lawful citizens we are) the bill was taken away and quickly and apologetically replaced.

I’ll put these down to teething issues, and give them a pass (I might let them suffer that second gripe another time though ;). I think we’ll be back.

  • Kevin
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    Kevin Kevin

    Hi Bart,
    Pleasure to read your blog post on Tate, and of course a greater pleasure in serving you here the previous week.
    Glad that you had a great time with your friends and looking forward to have you and your friends back here soon.
    Cheers;
    Kevin