Jibril, which is the Arabic name for the angel Gabriel, is a hidden speakeasy in the suburb of Subang Jaya, about half an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur. This little bar may be hard to spot for first timers, as it’s actually found behind a rather nondescript door at the back of an ice cream shop. In fact, you may miss the entrance altogether as there isn’t even sign board over it.
Jibril’s presence actually spread by word of mouth, and in the mostly young, student-centric and hip neighbourhood of SS15, Subang Jaya, this means a lot. Once you do find the door though, you’ll enter a completely different world.
As your eyes get used to dim light, you’ll notice cozy sofas surrounding low tables, with retro wallpapers reminiscent of old 1920s speakeasies, the hidden bars of the American Prohibition Era. An antique telephone hangs in one corner and the walls are dotted with black and white pictures of famous personalities.
There’s only one catch though; this bar doesn’t serve a single drop of alcohol. Yes, you read that right. All of the drinks here are mocktails made with non-alcoholic beverages, making it a pretty popular hang -out spot for Muslim youths who are barred from consuming alcohol by their religion. The crowd here is pretty diverse and Malaysians, no matter their personal beliefs, come in for the awesome food and drinks.
With names like Potter, Monroe and Gandhi, the mocktails here are creative enough to show that you don’t actually need booze to have a good time. One of the more popular drinks here is the Gandhi, which is a The Tarik (foamy milk tea) blended with lychee and palm sugar. If you don’t fancy a mocktail, they serve the usual litany of coffees like Flat Whites and Americanos. Guests seem to love the Butterscotch Latte the most, as well as the Salted Caramel Latte.
The bar doesn’t just serve drinks. There are appetizers, desserts and full meals as well. Their salted egg butter chicken is a bestseller, and comes served with a bowl of steaming white rice. There’s also Pineapple Fried Rice, Glazed Suecia Meatballs, Golden Singapore Murtabak and several more to try out.
But beyond the tasty food and drinks is of course the ambience, which visitors just love as it offers a quiet and private space for long chats. The way the bar is laid out promotes a sense of relaxation and closeness that’s not easy to replicate. Jibril Lounge is one of several non-alcoholic bars that have sprouted up in the city and is changing the way young people hang out in this day and age.
So the next time you find yourself in SS15, Subang Jaya, just look out for the Sangkaya Ice Cream Shop, and find the outline of a door on the red brick wall in the background. Push on it and savour the unique offerings within.