The Bar Hop: Folio by APW Bangsar
A Place Where...
...traditions intersect with current trends, APW, a retired printing factory turned creative campus, hasn't forgotten its roots. Its newest bar is even a paean to paper and print.
“Notice the martini glass sandwiched between two book ends?” asks Ee Soon Wei, pointing at Folio's logo and prompting us to take a better look. "Folio alludes to organisation. Any good bartender should own a notebook for his or her records," explains APW's CEO.
Not just any 'good bartender,' CK Kho, owner of Coley and Pahit, is Folio's bar consultant. Never one to do things half arsed, CK conducted rigorous research on the printing industry, which explains some of the more technical sounding cocktails. Not every drink is christened after printing jargon, however, as Soon Wei insisted on including some casual expressions. Lucky, a green tea cocktail with a rum and sherry base, is named for a stray dog that wandered into APW one day, serendipitously becoming APW's resident pet.
Fun Fact: A Frankenstein kind of space, Folio was pieced together using old bits of machinery. For all its resemble to green organ keys, part of the bar's countertop was, in fact, salvaged from a Yellow Pages binder.
6 Thirst Quenchers At Folio
Dolin Blanc, Dill, Watermelon, Lime, Soda
Soon Wei's drink of choice at Folio, the Hue sees dill-infused Dolin Blanc as the star and slow-pressed watermelon juice, lime and soda in supporting roles. Providing sweet relief in the sweltering heat, the concoction could easily be sold by the carafe. Staunch believers of the slow-juice movement would approve of Loco, CK's right-hand man, using a cold press to extract the best of the watermelon flesh.
Vodka, Kaffir Lime, Limoncello, Tea, Lemon, Cucumber, Sugar
Dubbed “an intermediate drinking experience" by Loco, this sweet and sour cocktail sucks us in with its trio of citrusy notes – kaffir lime, Italian lemon liquor, and orange tea. Fans of Arnold Palmer’s boozy brother John Daly will doff their hat to this one.
Midori, Lychee, Lime, Sugar, Sparkling
Most Midori cocktails have monikers that fetishise the 'Orient' (the Geisha Delight and the Japanese Slipper are just two examples), making Folio's a breath of fresh air. Intaglio, a printing technique involving the application of ink to incisions, is translated into a juicy melon-lychee cocktail that pairs well with the bar snacks from Kaiju next door.
Dolin Blanc, Elderflower Tonic, Lavender Bitters
Some speculate that the first cocktail ever served was the Sazerac (rye whiskey, bitters, lemon, sugar) but Loco believes otherwise: “The first cocktail to be invented was vermouth, water, sugar and bitters." An homage to the 'Adam of cocktails,' the Exposure has a nice salinity that makes for easy sipping. Lavender bitters inspire us to think of it as aromatherapy in a glass.
Aperol, Rosemary, Honey, Lemon, Salted Plum, Ginger Ale
Bartending is a lot like golf, where you have specific clubs for different scenarios. On that note, Loco, who was separating solids from liquids with a strainer minutes ago is now making music with a cocktail shaker. Furious rattling results in a salted plum drink reminiscent of Chinese suan mei tang or Vietnamese soda xi muoi.
Good news for beer guzzlers; if cocktails don't cut it for you, two craft beers are available on tap: the BrewDog Punk IPA from Scotland (hoppy) and the Two Birds Sunset Ale (like liquid bread) from an all-female brewery in Australia.
Quench Your Thirst Here:
Folio | 29, Jalan Riong, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur | Opens every day from 5pm onwards | View the full menu.