A piece of old Malaya lives on in KL’s Coliseum Café

Coliseum Cafe is a KL institution that’s been around since 1921.

The Coliseum Café and Hotel is shabby, run-down, grubby and with indifferent service. But it is a KL institution which has been around since 1921.

For visitors who feel nostalgia for old Malaya or want to imagine what life must have been like for an off-duty planter, the Coliseum is a must-visit.

Vintage advertisement of Coliseum Cafe from the 1920s.

As shown in this vintage advertisement from the 1920s, Coliseum Café was “where everybody goes” and its weekly dances would have been popular with British rubber planters and miners in town for a taste of civilisation.

It was located next door to Coliseum Theatre, “Malaya’s Premier Picture Palace” so people could have a meal or drink before or after going to the cinema.

Both the Coliseum Café and the Coliseum Cinema are still going strong having survived the developer’s wrecking ball thus far. The cinema these days shows mainly Tamil movies.

The food served is a mix of standard Western fare (with British touches like sliced white bread and butter) and staple Asian dishes.

The bar is decorated with decades-old newspaper clippings and photos. They used to serve one of the finest chilled draft Tigers in town but have since switched to Carlsberg.

The Coliseum has opened a new branch in Petaling Jaya which is much cleaner and smarter than the original while still attempting to replicate some of the old character.

Coliseum Cafe and Hotel

98, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman
50100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.153627, 101.696394
Tel: +60 3-2692 6270

This article first appeared in malaysia-traveller.com