Mar 19 2012

Photo essay: St Patrick’s Day party in Kuala Lumpur

Published by at 9:18 am under Photos


Just how big a party town Kuala Lumpur can be often comes as a shock to visitors, given the city’s status as the capital of a Muslim-majority country.

I got a feeling, that tonight's gonna be a good night.

I got a feeling, that tonight's gonna be a good night.

This year’s St Patrick’s Day party, centred on Changkat Bukit Bintang, KL’s premier entertainment district, showed just how lively things can get.

Blissfully traffic free.

Blissfully traffic free.

One of the most refreshing aspects of the party was the closure of the top half of Changkat to all motor vehicles — such a pleasant change from the normal traffic-clogged scenes.

St Patrick's central.

St Patrick's central.

As St Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, it should come as no surprise that his saint’s day is marked with particular gusto by KL’s many Irish pubs.

All for beer, beer for all.

All for beer, beer for all.

But almost all the dozens of bars and restaurants along Changkat joined in with the fun. For one night a year, everyone can be an honorary Paddy.

Arthur and his nights of the round glass.

Arthur and his nights of the round glass.

For one night also, the upmarket bar and restaurant Frangipani was transformed into Arthur’s Lounge, named after Arthur Guinness, the man who founded one of the world’s most famous breweries in 1759.

Getting a bit thirsty?

Getting a bit thirsty?

Malaysia has had a long love affair with Guinness, importing the first bottle back in 1893, and brewing it under licence on the outskirts of KL for nearly half a century.

Pulling Power

Pulling power.

Pulling a pint of the distinctive beer is a somewhat of an art — one which party-goers could try for themselves in Arthur’s Lounge.

Changkat ink.

Changkat ink.

Other diversions included body art (presumably non-permanent — if you’re interested in the permanent variety, see here), comedy, music, a parade and clowns.

The beers of a clown.

The beers of a clown.

But nothing sells beer better in Asia than attractive young women, although in this age, perhaps some eye candy should be provided for gay men and straight women too.

Chosen for their knowledge of Guinness

Looking for the yummy men.

In the run-up to the big day, organisers Guinness Anchor Berhad promised the largest St Patrick’s Day party in Asia, and it’s hard to dispute that claim after seeing the turnout on the night.

Have street, will party.

Have street, will party.

Well over 10,000 people thronged Changkat — a veritable sea of humanity. Despite the crowds, the atmosphere was extremely laid back, without any hint of rowdiness. KL really is a very pleasant place to have a drink or two. Further parties are planned until the end of the month around Malaysia; follow this link for details.

Hats off to the great crowd.

Hats off to the great crowd.

The highlight of the evening’s non-booze related entertainment was a fireworks display, which lit up the streets in and  around Changkat.

Celebrating Paddy's Day with a bang.

Celebrating Paddy's Day with a bang.

I’m not sure exactly when the display happened, because by then I was feeling a little bit tipsy. Indeed, the end of the evening is somewhat of a blur.

Seeing the world through beer goggles.

Seeing the world through beer goggles.

The signs calling for sensible drinking were all very well, but the whole point of St Patrick’s is to drink yourself insensible… especially when he’s your patron saint.

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