On the 23rd floor of Hyatt Centric Kota Kinabalu is the latest and trendiest rooftop bar in town: ON23 Sky Bar. The entrance itself is dramatic and impressive – a majestic spiral staircase from the hotel’s signature restaurant ON22 below, which leads visitors to the rooftop watering hole with stunning panoramic views, making it the best location to catch the magical sunset in Kota Kinabalu.
Featuring spectacular views of Kota Kinabalu with Signal Hill on one end and the South China Sea on the other, ON23 Sky Bar is ideal for daytime relaxation by the infinity pool or a chic nightlife in Kota Kinabalu. Its different pockets of space exude casual yet snazzy vibes, from intimate cosy corners for a romantic date to open areas with spacious seatings perfect for group events. Coupled with a visually striking design incorporating the natural beauty of Sabah, lively atmosphere and fun staff attire designed by renowned local designer Melinda Looi, ON23 Sky Bar is the place to see and be seen, promising something fun, energetic and new for everyone.
Shaking things up sky high at the rooftop bar is ON23 Bar Manager, Kenneth Klassen (a graduate from Taylor’s University Kuala Lumpur), who has worked in the hospitality industry for over 15 years with prestigious international hotel brands in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, as well as at the Wynn Macau. A true-blue Sabahan, he has crafted an elaborate drinks menu that pays homage to his hometown using fresh local ingredients.
“We hope to build a cocktail culture here at ON23 Sky Bar, beginning with a place where people can come to chill and discover both classic and new cocktails while having a good time against a backdrop of magnificent views,” says Klassen. “We believe that there’s a cocktail with your name on it here.”
Signature Drinks to Toast to
Drinks at ON23 Sky Bar present unmistakable flavours of Sabah in a glass.
Try the signature cocktail Haus Bah!!!, inspired by the highly popular local sour plum drink otherwise known as kit chai ping. Ingredients used include lihing rice wine shaken with fresh calamansi, sour plum, Uinah Ginger Land and finished off with rum and local craft soda for a sweet and sour cocktail that is refreshing as it is invigorating. Another favourite is the Citrus Market, a tangy aperitif perfect before a meal using Cointreau, local rice wine montoku, fresh calamansi, lemon, lime, orange yuzu and grenadine combine to present a zesty cocktail of Sabah’s best citruses.
The Chaya Borneo with sips that draws inspiration from the sun rays that warm the window of ON23 Sky Bar during sunset, is favoured among hotel guests. Local rice wine lihing marries Haku Vodka, Midori, passion fruit and rosemary with a top-off of soda and lemonade for a warm, fruity profile that is as effervescent on the tongue as the first rays of light. Miss not the Pineapple Margarita that lends a tropical spin to the classic cocktail, with tequila and Cointreau sweetened with fresh pineapple juice and lime, rounded off with a rim of Himalayan pink salt.
Bar Bites to Bolster the Fun
Rounding up the flavours of the drinks is a selection of bar bites carefully curated by Chef Jun Yip Ho to complement the profiles. The graduate of Taylor’s University Kuala Lumpur with a Diploma in Culinary Arts and a Bachelor’s Degree in F&B Management borrows from his experience training and working in France and Singapore to create the ON23 snacks menu.
The Sweet Shoyu Chicken Karaage are addictive chunks of fried chicken first marinated in shoyu for little umami bombs while the Torched Salmon with Yuzu Ponzu presents savoury slivers of salmon lightly torched and drizzled with a dash of yuzu ponzu to retain the buttery texture of the fish.
More seafood delights come with the Marinated Crab on Toast for sweet crab flesh spread on toast as well as the Marinated Prawn Tartare of springy sashimi-grade raw prawns minced and mixed with a medley of herbs and spices to release its oceanic sweetness with each bite. Hot food can be savoured with the Grilled Beef Brisket Bao of juicy shredded beef brisket stuffed into pillowy soft mantou buns and Garlic Stir-Fry Prawns that envelopes sweet prawns with a smoky garlicky fragrance from a quick toss in the wok.
A Space for Relaxation, Events and More
Banking on its sights, sounds and sips, ON23 Sky Bar takes the opportunity to be a place for community gatherings with in-house events that it organises periodically.
The Paint & Sip activity takes place every third Thursday of the month where guests are invited to paint an artwork guided by local artists Sarah Wasli and Jared Abdul Rahman with a choice of cocktail or mocktail in hand. On a weekly basis, there are live band sessions with tasteful lineups of musical sounds and genres, with local bands taking the stage every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Enquiries for private events are also welcomed, led by a team of young, vibrant, and friendly staff, promising a memorable occasion for everyone.
ON23 Sky Bar is more than just a rooftop bar – it seeks to serve as a stylish community gathering spot to celebrate arts and culture, the vibrant nightlife, enjoyed with a drink or two and set against the most beautiful backdrop of nature and sunsets of Kota Kinabalu.