About No Black Tie

Walking into No Black Tie for the first time resembles an initiation rite into a unique fraternity that embodies the artistic soul and essence of Kuala Lumpur. Every city should have a venue that captures a microcosm of its society and for the capital of Malaysia, NBT, as it is affectionately known by its loyal patrons, is the place.

Founded in 1998 by Evelyn Hii – born on the island of Borneo in Sarawak, trained in the United States as a classical pianist – this once humble establishment has now become an institution in KL.

Its incomparable stage has seen remarkable performances, not just by the finest singers and musicians from Malaysia and South East Asia, but standout international acts from Japan and Australia, Europe, the USA and South America. And at the same time, NBT became the watering hole of choice for KL’s intellectual, cultural, social and corporate communities.

NBT Interior Image

What started as a venue to serve as an alternative platform for classical music, No Black Tie has evolved to become the region’s most respected live music address, offering an eclectic programme of Jazz, Latin, R&B, Brazilian, World, Indie, Blues, Hip-Hop, Classical and Experimental music, described by The New York Times as, “one of the city’s coolest and most eclectic night spots”. Uncompromising in its acoustics and sound quality, NBT has the reputation of being the most sought-after stage for both emerging and established musicians, and is the venue of choice for KL’s most discerning music lovers.

And today, No Black Tie is not just a live music venue as the brand has become known as an independent music institution.

One such example is No Black Tie Records, that has produced and released 11 CDs to date. Besides that, numerous musicians have released albums recorded during their live performances at NBT, illustrating both the club’s exceptional sound quality and an inspiring atmosphere for musicians and audience.

No Black Tie Presents is another project of NBT. It serves to bring live music to the public beyond the walls of the jazz club. In recent years, No Black Tie Presents has curated and organized some of the most significant music festivals in Malaysia such as Publika Jazz and Borneo Jazz Festival.

Besides curating and managing festivals, NBT has also organized numerous music workshops such as Eco Drum Workshop & Eco Drum Jam – community drumming events – which aim to teach the public and mostly children on how to creatively transform recyclable materials into unique drums and percussion instruments.

In December 2019 the fans of NBT were shocked to hear the announcement – “No Black Tie club is closing its doors and taking a sabbatical.”

As surprising as the news sounded at that moment, it turned out to be almost prophetic – with the Covid-19 pandemic striking the world with all music venues closing for an indefinite period of time.

However, Evelyn Hii and her brand stand for too many crucial principles for music lovers, and there was no possibility of surrendering to these difficult circumstances. Driven by a passion for music and a mission for facilitating cross-cultural understanding, NBT decided to innovate, to look to the future and start a new project – No Black Tie Virtual.

This venture sees NBT sharing the rich and extensive archive of the club, while at the same time taking the initiative to produce new and exciting content to be featured online for a global audience.

No Black Tie is back, only online!