The Coliseum Cafe 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.
As shown in this vintage advertisement from the 1920’s, 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 on my last visit they had 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.
How to Get to Coliseum Cafe and Hotel
98, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, City Centre, 50100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+60 3-2692 6270
You can read more about Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman (once known as Batu Road) on my Thrifty Traveller blog.