Up in the Stratosphere
Words by Craig J Selby
Photos by The Yum List (Monica Tindall)
Viewing Petaling Jaya from an open rooftop some 30-something stories above 1 Utama and its surrounding districts is quite an awesome experience. Ignoring the haze, which to be truthful obstructed the gorgeous view, the vista that fell before our eyes was still nothing short of spectacular. The lights in the distance, the minute houses and cars, and ants (I mean people) walking around at street level, were still a sight to behold.
It was date night, and although my group ended up more like double-dating with a fifth wheel (me), Stratosphere is certainly a place to come to hang out with your intended. Nestled on top of the One Avenue Building, Stratosphere at the Roof is an open air, functional helipad, converted into a stunning evening bar with wide views of PJ, and I’m told the wider KL landscape too (no haze, of course).
The walkup to Stratosphere is via a few flights of easy-going stairs – comfortable enough that even after a few pre-roof drinks one can easily meander up; not to mention an elevator facility for disabled and older customers, should the stairs prove to be less-inviting.
|Great Spot at Sunset|
As you reach the top of the stairs (best as dusk is setting), Stratosphere’s hospitable staff greet their customers, and its hard not to notice the enticing and colourful subdued lighting scattered around the entrance and the helipad main floor.
With a mild breeze up there, it is easy to forget that we are still in tropical KL; rather a sense of Cameron or Genting comes to mind, and the cool air is certainly appreciated. Covered in grass (I am glad I don’t have the job to water that), with cobblestone pathways to guide customers to its many comfy sofas and occasional tables, Stratopsphere’s ambiance is minimalist-chic.
A central bar area, from where our liquid refreshments emerged, along with an impressive sound system, make this venue stand out from others in the city. Walking around the edge was not as daunting as expected – safety is of prime importance and the structuring of fencing and other safety mechanisms really puts you at ease – yet does not distract from the view (brownie points here). Usually, I shy away at this stage, but tonight I was a more-than-willing accomplice to view PJ from this vantage point.
Led to our sofa area, each one with a stunning view I may add, the drinks started to be served. Serving a limited range of well-known beers, I opted for one of my list favourites, Asahi. For me, this beer is great for hot weather, and I love drinking it cold out of the bottle. My hosts offered a chilled glass, which I refused, preferring to be old-school and enjoy beer the way I was brought up to – with direct contact between mouth and bottle.
For our second (and third) round, we opted to explore the cocktail menu. Ok, there is no signature cocktail up here, and many on the list were standard cocktails seen at any bar, but then again, I came for the view!
I did however, opt for a Flaming Lamborghini – yes, I wanted to see the flame against the night’s sky. Served with the spirit being poured down a Galiano bottle (I so love Galliano), the flame was an impressive two feet tall! Now that’s a flaming! I was not disappointed. I did resist the urge (and poking from my friends) to singe my eyebrows, and downed the drink slightly after extinguishment – a much safer solution for me – especially as I’ve lost the occassional eye brow on earlier attempts. A good solid flaming – well worth the asking price. As frankly, were all the drinks.
I found it strange that bar snacks or light meals were not served at Stratosphere; but downstairs there were plenty of options for dining. Anyway, food is not the reason you come up to stratosphere – the view is, the simplicity of being with your date or friends, and the ambience that only being on the top of a tall building can provide. It’s a venue to enjoy, drink, chit chat (and not be overpowered with music), and just soak up the scale of life that we so often miss.
So yes, when you are looking for a novel place to bring your date, give a second thought to Stratosphere, and put it on your Bucket List for 2014. You won’t regret it.
Reason to visit: Spectacular views; great rooftop ambience; classy yet casual feel.
1 First Avenue
47800 Petaling Jaya