11 George Town Cafes in Penang, That’s Great For Chilling Out!
George Town has many nostalgic shophouses, vintage shops and old streets that are so hard to come by in big cities these days. Among these old streets, boutique niche cafes are also springing out. While each cafe in Penang is special in their own ways, many of them has a rustic charm that attracted a good pool of cafe goers.
During my 3 days in Penang, I have planned a whole list of cafes I wish to visit. I am so glad that I manage to cover 6 of them, with every cafe reminded me to slow down my pace in life. We spent our time talking about anything and everything under the sun, relax by reading a book while sipping coffee, leisurely surfing the net — life can be so simple.
Here’s a quote for you from Rachel Dillon: “We spend too much time making a living and too little time living and making.“
CAFE 55 _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Out of the many cafes I visited in Penang, Cafe 55 is my top favourite. It is a part of Coffee Atelier which also houses the Gehrig Art Gallery, 47 & 49 Residence and Coffee Museum (which used to be Kim Guan Coffee Factory). The building is a beautifully-restored early 20th century shophouse and the name hopes to celebrate the memory of this artisanal trade from a bygone era.
A must try here is their 3D coffee art because Cafe 55 is the only cafe in Penang that does 3D coffee art. While many come in for their coffee (I love my double shot latte), the cafe also serves excellent Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. We had the Grilled Salmon with Teriyaki Sauce (RM22) which goes very well with their homemade french baguette (RM8 for 6 pcs). I love their Beef Tenderloin with Roasting Jus (RM32) and Beef Cheeks which was braised for 72 hours (RM42). Their service staffs are all super friendly and helpful. We went on the first day and on our last day, we were nearby with our heavy luggage, looking for other cafes. I popped by and asked if we can just leave our luggage with them for a while and they agreed.
Address: 47-55 Lorong Stewart, George Town
Tel: +604 261 2261
Opening hours: 9am to 5pm daily
Wifi in the cafe? Yes.
MOONTREE 47 _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Housed in a traditional Malaysian shophouse built in the 1920s, MoonTree 47 is a homestay + cafe in Muntri Street. The cafe is furnished simply with rustic decor. There are many recycled items in the cafe, with tables and chairs that are purposely mismatched. What catches my eyes is the whole row of old school clocks on the wall.
I went to the cafe twice. First time, I reached at 5.45pm and they told me they were closed for the day (I remembered they wrote on their FB that they closed at 7pm). So the second time, I went in the afternoon. We had a cup of illy’s Cappuccino (RM10) and a plate of Cocona Pancake (RM13). Nothing good to shout about their food. But their service staffs are people with attitude and character because they never smile, they get impatient when we were deciding what to eat, and they stared at us when we were taking photos. What to do, they probably have one of the cafe with the nicest vintage decor.
Address: 47 Muntri Street, George Town
Tel: +604 264 4021
Opening hours: Mon to Tue 9am – 7pm; Thu to Sun 9am – 7pm
Wifi in the cafe? No.
ARMENIAN HOUSE _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Situated on the ever popular heritage street of Lebuh Armenian, Armenian House is a renovated old shop house and offers wallet-friendly accommodation and food. All the old sewing machines are converted into a little tables for us to sit back, relax and enjoy.
We had the Armenian House set meal which consist of a plate of seafood spaghetti, cheeesecake and lime juice for RM25. I enjoyed its homemade cheese cake which is not too rich or cloying. What I enjoyed most is the conversation with the owner, Chimino, who has so kindly shared with us some lovely places to visit in George Town.
Address: 35 Lebuh Armenian, George Town
Tel: +6016 486 8309
Opening Hours: 9am to 6pm daily
Wifi in the cafe? Yes.
KWONG SANG HOUSE _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
A tailor shop transformed into a café, Kwong Sang House (廣生洋服) still keeps the originality in this shop. When we walked into the shop, we felt like we were here to tailor make our dresses. There’s a range of vintage collection all over the shop. From a television, a fan, shelves of books to a chess set, a typewriter, a sewing machine, which depicts the rustic charm of Penang’s past.
The cafe serves a good variety of western dishes and the waiter recommended us to try their pizzas. Unfortunately, we were too full so we only had a plate of Prawn Aglio Olio (RM16.90) which has al dente pasta spiked with chilli and garlic. That bit of heat really lifts the olive oil and garlic pasta dish, and we love the big prawns. Be sure to walk up to level 2 which is a mini library and a collection of vintage items.
Kwong Sang House (廣生洋服)
Address: 36 Leith Street, George Town
Tel: +6012-556 5509
Opening Hours: Mon to Wed 12pm – 2:30 pm, 6pm – 11pm; Fri to Sun 12pm – 2:30pm, 6pm – 11pm. Closed on Thursdays
Wifi in the cafe? Yes.
We initially wanted to visit Cozy in the Rocket, but unfortunately they are closed on Monday. So we went to China House instead, which is a recommendation from FM93.3 DJ Xie Jia Fa. It was the best decision ever, I LOVE IT SO MUCH! It is a traditional compound of 3 heritage buildings linked by an open air courtyard. Now converted into 14 existing spaces with shops, cafés, restaurants, galleries and theatre.
Dessert lovers will love their long table of home made desserts. Every piece looked utterly delectable, every piece inviting, begging to be savor. A piece of cake, a cup of coffee or a glass of red wine, what else could I ask for. China House serves one of the best tiramisu I ever had, with unexpected potent hit of coffee liqueur, with layers of bittersweet alcohol, coffee and moist chocolate mousse. I was pleasantly surprised and reached out for a second spoonful, a third spoonful… and finished the whole cake with satisfaction.
Address: 153 & 155, Lebuh Pantai, George Town
Tel: +604 263 7299
Opening times: 11am – 11pm daily
Wifi in the cafe? Yes.
BEHIND 50 _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Most of the cafes in George Town closes by 6pm. But Behind 50 is one of the very few cafes that opens after 6pm. If you’re wondering, Behind 50 is named as such because it is located behind a building called ‘50’. This quaint little place used to be a bicycle repair shop back in the days. Its old school decors and memorabilia has attracted quite a crowd. We chose to sit on their high chair looking over the roadside.
Love the nostalgic, rustic ambience, and generally reminiscent of old-school Penang. There are scribbles on the walls, and there is also a vintage gramophone! The menu came in these old stamp books which is quite a novel idea. There are also specials of the day on the blackboard made up of western poultry dishes. We had a plate of Hawaii Chicken (RM18.90) where the grilled chicken is so tender and juicy. To go along with it, we ordered a peanut butter shake (RM8.90). Behind 50 has adopted the ‘suspended coffee’ programme where donations given by the patrons go towards providing a hot beverage for the underprivileged and the homeless.
Address: 50 Lorong Love, George Town
Tel: +6012 493 9230
Opening hours: Mon to Wed 6pm – 1am; Fri to Sun 6pm – 1am
Wifi in the cafe? No.
Hope you like my Penang cafe guide! This is definitely not the most extensive list but I hope it helps you a little when you are planning your trip to Penang. I have spent A LOT of time planning for the cafe feature. It is a pity some cafes are closed on the day of our visit. Here are some other cafes which I wanted to visit but didn’t have the chance. That said, I will be back to Penang soon!
Chai Diam Ma Restaurant
Address: 15, Lebuh Queen, 10200 Georgetown
Opening hours: Mon to Sun 12pm – 9pm, Fri and Sat 12pm – 11pm, Closed on Tue
Cozy in the Rocket
Address: 262 & 264, Lebuh Pantai, George Town
Tel: +6012 496 7838
Opening hours: Tue to Sun 10am – 5pm (including public holiday); Closed on Mon
Address: 38, Lebuh Armenian, George Town
Tel: +604 261 8935
Opening hours: Tue to Fri 12pm – 3pm & 6pm – 10pm; Sat 11am – 10pm; Sun 11am – 6pm; Closed on Mon
Address: 79, Lebuh Carnarvon, George Town
Tel: +6017 4350922
Opening Hours: 11am – 6:30 pm daily
Address: 24, Campbell Street, George Town
Contact Number: +604 262 2228
Opening Hours: 4:30pm – 10pm daily
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