3 minutes with CK Kho of Coley and Pahit

The award-winning Malaysian bartender spared us a few minutes ahead of his gig at Tiffin Food Court

By Verinia Khoo | Published: 30 Nov 2017

ELLE talks to CK Kho
Photo: Tiffin

Anyone who is a fan of the growing cocktail scene in Kuala Lumpur will know two of the city's top two bars, the award-winning Coley and newcomer Pahit. While we know quite a fair bit about the bars' delicious menus, what do we know about Chee Keong 'CK' Kho, the award-winning bartender behind the two popular watering holes?

Ahead of his gig at Tiffin's three-weekend pop-up food court in Kelana Jaya, we caught up with the busy mixology genius for a quick chat.

"I've been in the industry around 16 years now," he told ELLE. "I started my career from scratch and gradually made my way up the ladder by working on different bar concepts in Kuala Lumpur. I am also privileged enough to have worked with truly inspiring people like Matthieu Lartigue, Colin Chung, Benjamin Yong from BIG, and Adrian Yap from Freeform."


A post shared by Coley Cocktail Bar (@coleylumpur) on

Of course, his success isn't without lots of hard work. Being a bartender is not all about just sitting behind the counter, CK insists.

"People always see the glamorous side of this job," he said. "Standing behind the bar, having fun mixing cocktails. But there is actually a lot of hard work before and after the shift. We have to prepare the ingredients, wash up and the list just goes on."

So what does he prefer to drink when winding down? "Beer or a glass of Old Fashioned," CK says. "I like a cold one by the beach or anywhere that I can strike a good conversation with the bartender." CK's also got some nuggets of wisdom for aspiring mixologists. "Persevere, believe in yourself and continue improving. Keep going, day after day after day."

Head to the Tiffin Food Court at Sungai Way in Petaling Jaya to try CK's concoctions first-hand. RSVP for the event here.

Related: Tiffin is hosting a pop-up food court
Related: Bar of the Week: Deuce KL


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