Going Live Now At Kim Haus Loft Campbell Street Penang

Going Live Now At Kim Haus Loft Campbell Street Penang

Going Live Now At Kim Haus Loft Campbell Street Penang

Caffeine-fuelled addiction and late nights are about Going Live Now At Kim Haus Loft Campbell Street Penang. The café nightspots in Penang’s alternative night scene. If what you have in mind is a place where you could bring your mom or even young children in pajamas on a night out to town, then you’re in the right city.

George Town World Heritage Site since its inception on 7 July 2008 has morphed into a vibrant heritage city, taking over deserted streets and binging in the locals and tourists literally down the road less traveled; known for being “dead” at night.

No Longer Dead At Night

Godowns have opened up. Narrow and inhabitable shophouses become relevant and aesthetically appealing in an eclectic shabby chic manner. Tourists and locals look forward to sitting on some discarded furniture, hammered in with a few new nails for good measure. Eat off mismatched plates with ergonomically challenged utensils.

Forks too long, spoon to short? Drinking out of canteen mugs. Not a problem.

Some find it cute!

So does shabby chic rock? Is there prose in peeling paint and plaster? Tenderness and love bloom in young hearts on many a date night like these.

I really don’t know the difference.

But I appreciate the effort to spruce up with a clean design that is well thought out and works. Certainly a small firm No, to an ensemble of discarded furniture pass off as seating.

Spot the difference.

Going Live Now At Kim Haus Loft Campbell Street Penang_Jack Sparrow
Captain Jack Sparrow as the mural guardian to all that is gold and silver.


Days of pop-culture referencing the beauty of both the tangible and intangible heritage values of George Town, conversing with heritage buildings now refurbished into quirky or even swanky F&B joints have arrived.

With aplomb.

But of course!

Take a drive or a slow walk down Chulia Street at night and the scene is one of bars and booze with girls and boys staying up late for the party.

We’re not talking school going children in pajamas here either.

But on the street running parallel, Campbell Street which unfurls like a tailor’s measuring tape from Penang Road ending up Buckingham Street,  the atmosphere is well mannered; different.

The crowd is quieter. Scrubbed clean.  Mom will approve. Yayyy!

On a street is best known for its cloth merchants and goldsmith shops, Campbell Street was the darling shopping street of Penang before Komtar was built and shoppers developed a sophisticated mall culture and migrated there.

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The interior of Kim Haus with the same plastering hacked off. Use of discarded wooden crates as tables with chairs in different colors but overall the look is pulled together. Neat! Photo: Kim Haus FB page
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A little kitsch but this “billboard” with its paper signage secured with wooden clothes pegs onto black metal mesh is picture worthy. Wooden crate furniture, now did I see that on Pinterest before? Photo: Kim Haus FB page
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And then, there’s the NET. Fancy hanging out? Photo: Kim Haus FB page
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Nice, big decent and clean washroom is a must! This one is well ventilated and cool. Photo: Kim Haus FB page


The street culture changed with the first quirky café that opened in August 2013. The once trendy and faddish Moustache Houze which had a good following has since closed down.

In the same row, you will find Sugar Honey, a café selling food, drinks and some crafts. Next to it, is The Safe Room, pushing the slightly pricier Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream apart from Mains, Cakes, and Coffee.

The trend is changing as new owners have taken up and refurbished two other old shophouses across the street.

Café Lagenda with iconic poster boy, P. Ramlee’s mural serves up Malay-Western Fusion food.

Introducing the new kid on the block, Kim Haus.

Going Live Now At Kim Haus Loft Campbell Street Penang_Pasta
The writer asked for sampling portions to share with the artistes during morning interview before the EP Launch party. Good nerves going on. But great vibes with friendships built, Penang style. Photo: Paul Ang

The good news is with the opening of quirky cafes, the music scene on the island is changing from jukebox musicians at beer hangouts and has moved into coffee powerhouses that encourage youths and musicians to hang out.

With young professionals on their Saturday night, Open Mic slot; many singers and musicians get to live out their dreams playing and jamming in the chillax atmosphere.

Recently two Malay artistes launched their EPs to showcase the versatility of the musicians at Kim Haus, which is a hipster café, bar, and bakery housed in a refurbished goldsmith’s shop.

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Fingerstyle guitarist Andy Ngew opening the show before the EP launch. Photo: Doris Lim


Lead by international fingerstyle guitarist, Leon Thum who mooted the idea to help highlight bold local talents, the Open Mic slot happens every Saturday of the week from 8 pm onwards.

Leon is a musician at heart and plays a soulful guitar, stepping in whenever he is needed to fill in the gaps since the café started their first session.

“It was a jam session with some friends; just enjoying ourselves and picking up a guitar and passing it around that started this,” he said.

Leon is helped by saxophonist Felix Quaik and guitarist Brian Gan from the boutique The Guitar Lair who doubles up as the soundman.

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Leon Thum seated with musician friends L to R, Mike MY, Sheila Julis, Nick Choong, Victor Ng, Brian Gan, Andy Ngew, and Yasunari. Photo: Doris Lim


Bald and powerful Penang boy, Ariff “The Spoiler” Ismail has been playing gigs with his band since 2007. Called Thirteen Hundred the four-piece band composes their own songs in English and Malay.
“Satu” which is one of the songs released in this EP launch is Ariff’s take on spirituality and his move to unifying humanity through music which is not pegged to any religion per se. This song is a personal journey for Ariff who searches for the open spaces in his mind for the Creator.

Doing the Swamp Thing!

“In fact when we wanted to record our song, we went to the mangrove swamp areas in the mainland where there are fewer developments so we could feel closer to nature. We used a drone to film our debut music video entitled ‘Follow My Lead’ which is uploaded on the band’s official YouTube channel.
This track is featured on their new release called ‘The Nigh Near EP’ which will be included in the upcoming full-length album is due to be released later this year.
“We wanted to capture just that one moment in time,” said Ariff who is the son of a musician father. Vinoth Mohan on Lead Guitar, Emmanuel Blemin on Bass and Lewis Liau on Drums make up the rest of the band.

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Thirteen Hundred performing both songs on their EP. Photo: Doris Lim


Not your typical Penang Indie artist who not only sings solo. Azwi doubles up as frontman and guitarist in Penang’s underground progressive metal bands. In 2001, Azwi played in Predicate Not Defined. In 2014, he started with Penang Radical Death Metal band, Cakerawala.

As a rocker, Azwi undertook to record and launch his EP as a personal side project to share his songwriting in pop and ballads.
Do drop by Kim Haus. The nosh and coffee are good.
The music is something else. What are musicians and Rockstars like? Pretty cool folks who live by passion and that’s a good thing.
It’s not every day that you get a chance to meet a Rockstar in the house!

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AZ Azwi Zulkefli shows a softer side of himself, singing ballads. Photo: Doris Lim

Az Samad Getaran Jiwa – Solo Malaysian Fingerstyle Guitar

May 5, 2016

Shree Sadagopan of Quadraphonix from Honolulu

May 26, 2016

April 30, 2016
This story appeared in Malay Mail under “Indie Scene Thrives in Penang”

If you enjoy a bit of live indie music with your cup of coffee or tea or fruit juice, then head on down to #kimhaus for some Open Mic action every Saturday at 9.00pm

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