She Said: Behold the emperor!



This cocktail bar is hidden among the pre-war shophouses in Ipoh’s Old Town along Jalan Sultan Yussuf. Inhabiting the least expected of places not too far off from the Birch Memorial Clock Tower, She Said | Hidden Lounge sits above a similarly hidden hotpot restaurant, Red Inn Hotpot (under the same management).
Elements of ancient China form the basis of this bar’s decor and interior. Old Chinese memorabilia (with inspiration from Imperial China) are found scattered throughout the lounge. Notably, a hanging emperor’s costume greets visitors as they make their way up the stairs. According to mixologist and co-founder Desmond Beh, She Said | Hidden Lounge aims to evoke nostalgic memories of Old Shanghai.

Both the hotpot restaurant and the lounge are decorated in a shabby-chic style of pre-war Ipoh. “We intentionally kept the walls exposed and un-plastered. Plus, we filled up the place with old oriental furniture,” he explains.

Finding the place is an adventure in itself as there are no signboards, just two red lanterns hanging at the entrance of the corner shop unit. 

Patrons must find the “courage” to enter and resist the temptation of the savoury hotpot dishes and pass a brief “interrogation” to access the bar upstairs.

The cocktails prove quite a feast for the eyes as well. Their signature concoction, 皇上吉祥 (huáng shàng jí xiáng) features a classic favourite to soothe an irritated throat — pei pa koa herbal syrup paired with bourbon, triple sec and plum orange peel served in a ceramic Chinese wine pot teamed with dainty wine cups with rims dipped in sour plum powder. 



后宫佳丽 (hòu gōng jiā lì), meanwhile, creatively blends tau fu fah (soya bean curd) with gin, vanilla syrup and elderflower liquor. This concoction is served in a Chinese tea mug. 

She Said | Hidden Lounge
124, Jalan Sultan Yussof, 
30000 Ipoh, Perak
Opening hours: Tue to Sun 
from 7pm to 3am,
closed on Mondays 
IG: @shesaid_hiddenlounge

This report is part of the "Excuse me, feed the phone first!" segment in Live! 2020. 

This story first appeared in Live! 2020 magazine. Download your copy of the magazine here.

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