Dang Wangi: A vibrant mash-up of past and present

KL City firmly embraces a modern vision, yet its rich heritage has never been forgotten. This fascinating mash-up of tradition and modernity is present in both its culture and infrastructure.

Besides old and new restaurants and hotels sitting side by side in Dang Wangi, the area is also famous for one other thing – its sleepless nightlife.

Before the manifestation of the infamous Changkat in Bukit Bintang, Dang Wangi was the home to Kuala Lumpur’s nightlife and party scene.

Located along Jalan Doraisamy was the Asian Heritage Row — 22 1940s shophouses which now have been revitalised and adapted into The Row.

Thanks to rapid gentrification, these 80-year old pre-war houses that were once abandoned and ignored, have now been given a new lease of life with F&B outlets of international standards.

Inspired by the transformation of The Row, many other once-dilapidated buildings have been restored and are now the new homes of remarkable F&B spots in the area.

Let’s start with the new ones.

Mojo

Housed in an 80-year-old pre-war house, Mojo is all about retro chic and funky modernity, with an old mango tree as its centrepiece.

Chamber 3

The latest opening of Chamber 3 in town breathes new soul to the nightlife here at The Row KL. You and your group of friends can stick to your own alcohol preferences from cocktails, beer, spirits and liquors in the drinks list that goes on and on.

Joloko

Located next to Woo Pin, Joloko is the latest addition to the Dang Wangi family. This Latin-Caribbean themed bar is the perfect spot to chill out with friends after a long day at work.

While we have the new bars blooming in Dang Wangi, let’s not forget the old entertainment hubs operating since the good old days. There’s Noovo KL (previously called Main Room) and Bollywood lounges like Sangam – 2, Mumbai Se, and Chakravartty.

Noovo KL.
Chakravartty Club.
Mumbai Se.
Sangam 2.

There is also a dance fitness studio called Viva Vertical — the first pole dance, aerial arts, burlesque, flyoga and bungee workout school founded in Malaysia.

Besides its fascinating nightlife, Dang Wangi is also known for many other things. Here are some memorable landmarks.

Ah Loke Tailor

One of the legends in the area, along with Yut Kee. Currently run by the second generation of Loke Kwong Yuen, this tailor shop has been here for more than 60 years.

Despite the mushrooming of new designers in the area (Wardrobe in Sheraton for example), Ah Loke’s business is doing well, with many of their orders coming from foreigners.

Dang Wangi Police Station

Image via Wikimapia.

The Police District of Dang Wangi covers a large and busy area in the heart of KL City with a 12-storey administrative building and separate high-rise living quarters for staff. There is also a surau and playground within the compound.

Wilayah Complex

Image via Wikimapia.

Fighting a losing battle, Wilayah Complex along Jalan Dang Wangi used to be a bustling shopping mall.

But somewhere along the way, business slowed to a trickle due to various reasons – economic downturn, recurring flash floods, and the emergence of newer malls, enticing retailers to move out and sparking an exodus of the building’s main tenants.

The younger generation doesn’t know about its existence as the building is only a shadow of its former self and many prefer Quill Mall City — a newer, more modern shopping mall just a stone’s throw away.

Truth be told, Dang Wangi has endured many ups and downs in its lifetime.

Now, with the revival of the neighbourhood and on-going gentrification, Dang Wangi can regain the glory of its good old days — positioning itself as a new landmark for culture, dining, and entertainment for both international tourists and locals.

This article first appeared in uppre.com