One of the most prominent bartenders in Malaysia, award-winning CK Kho is behind two of the best cocktail bars in Asia, Coley and Pahit

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CK Kho is an award-winning bartender and the founder of Coley, one of the top cocktail bars in Kuala Lumpur, known for its innovative creations inspired by timeless classics and Malaysian flavours. It was named one of the best bars in Asia in William Reed’s Asia’s Extended 51-100 Best Bars list for 2021.

A hospitality graduate, Kho cut his teeth bartending at various clubs before serving at Spanish restaurant and bar La Bodega. He later worked for an F&B group, helping them with the launch of several restaurants and bars, including a pop-up bar. In 2016, he decided to venture out on his own and opened Coley at the back half of Dr.Inc Café in Bangsar.

Named after Ada “Coley” Coleman, the head bartender at London’s Savoy Hotel known for the cocktail, the “Hanky Panky”, the cocktail bar quickly grew into a hotspot for quality cocktails and original contemporary creations. A couple of years later, Kho moved Coley into its own intimate space a few doors away. The venue, reminiscent of an underground bar with sophisticated interiors, continued to get rave reviews, and received prestigious industry awards including Best Cocktail Bar and Bartender of the Year for Kho at The Bar Awards 2017. It has also featured in Asia’s 50 Best Bars from 2018-2021.

Following his success with Coley, Kho founded Pahit, another watering hole in Kuala Lumpur's Bukit Bintang district, which specialises in gin; it also made it onto Asia’s Best Bars list in 2021.

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Kho, whose full name is Chee Keong Kho, revealed to Tatler Dining that the pandemic has helped him become healthier, giving him time to exercise and reduce his alcohol consumption. 

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