Without a doubt the most buzzworthy city on Malaysian Borneo, Kota Kinabalu, has more than enough nightlife choices to satisfy any mountaineer, beach-goer, sailor or traveller. The most popular for tourists is located at the waterfront promenade but bar options are all over town. Because it isn’t a tax free country, liquor prices are extremely high compared to the rest of Asia. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a great night by spending big bucks, you can buy cheap liquor from a local shop or Orange. If you are lucky enough to be arriving in Kota Kinabalu via Labuan, the duty free Island, you can definitely pick up a couple bottles of liquor!
BB cafe: One of the closest bars to Australia place, a backpacker hostel haven. Live keyboard band everynight playing mostly oldies and Malay hits (they take requests too). Great place to meet other travellers. Happy hour specials until 9.
Cheap beer!! And great happy hour specials. Great place to meet locals, travelers, and expats. The food is western, on the expensive side but still good for its value. On some weekends they have live music.
Bed: The waterfront promenade’s largest party venue is a laser filled party seedy palace. Live performances warm up for late night DJ sets. Don’t expect posh liquor in this club, all cheap dodgy drinks. When I mean dodgy drinks, also means the club is as well.
Hito: Modern, stylish karaoke bar by the waterfront promenade. Everyone has to sing karaoke in Asia once!
Shamrock: The choice of Irish and British expats is styled exactly as one would expect from an Irish pub. 2 rules are listed on the wall: #1 the barman is always right. 2 if the barman is wrong, refer to rule 1. A great place for a pint of Guinness and Snakebite. Not to mention, one of the bars on the waterfront that has a restroom located inside!
Loft Party club: A bit of and uninspired name but two levels of lounge on the waterfront can draw a crowd on the weekend.
White room: Located in KK’s Times Square. A big white room full of people who know how to dance. Times square is definitely the place that has better music than in town, but really…they’re just playing all the Hits over and over. This place is not dodgy, but a warning for expat men: Don’t hit on every local girl in the club, you could have an uninvited scuffle from the local men who are annoyed.
Shenanigans: attached to the Hyatt Regency hotel. This place is ridiculously expensive, 30 rm for a small beer. (expect Hyatt Regency prices). Although they do have a decent live band and it’s always crowded.
Cock and Bull: An old ex-pat favourite located next to Jesselton Pier and another on the waterfront, has pool tables, food, and a projector screen (always showing football matches).