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This intimate after-hours den—whose name combines the Malay words for independence (“merdeka”) and works (“karya”)—is a longtime favorite among KL partygoers. Launched by musician Brian Gomez, it’s the city’s original live music hub, where regulars congregate in a modest two-story shophouse for the legendary open mic nights. While admission is free (though patrons must buy at least one drink), what makes Merdekarya truly for the people is that anyone, from newbies to seasoned performers, can sign up to play, making it the place to discover grassroots local talent. There are slots for acoustic and full bands spanning indie pop, jazz, rock, folk, and alternative grunge. Stay hydrated with cocktails that incorporate tuak (rice wine) or langkau (a spirit distilled from tuak), both of which hail from Sarawak. For a uniquely Malaysian concoction, order the Langkau Maple and Malt: a blend of the rice-based moonshine, asam boi (preserved plum), and a homemade lemon-lime mix. —Dana Ter

merdekarya.com
+60 18 661 4553
352 (1/F), Jln. 5/57, Bukit Gasing, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia