In bustling Singapore, there is never a shortage of places to have whatever your choice of tipple. After all, there’s good reason why Singapore’s bar scene is considered one of the world’s best. In 2018’s World’s 50 Best Bars list, Singapore leads the rankings of bars from Asia with five bars in total on the list. So the question is, how do you choose where to go when you’re searching for joints to knock back and catch up with your gals?
We’ve done the homework for you. From microbreweries to whiskey- and gin-centric bars, these 11 trendy and unique watering holes are sure to make your friends/co-workers mighty impressed with you:
From the guys behind F1 party series The Podium Lounge and the now-defunct superclub Pangea comes The Monarchy, a cocktail bar and “Ultra Lounge” themed after British royalty and what seems like Peaky Blinders.
The front door’s fashioned after what you’ll find at 10 Downing Street; although there aren’t any UK politicians (or are there?) to be found behind these doors. Drinks are the brainchild of Rob Scott (ex-bar manager of Meatsmith/Rogue Traders/Burnt Ends), who has created a Britrock-inspired lineup that includes the Stairway to Heaven, a refreshing, fizzy tipple of vodka, lemon, apple liqueur, and rhubarb.
If you start feeling a bustle in your hedgerow after one too many drinks, then dance it away at their ultra lounge, which opens weekends and eve of public holidays from 10 pm.
Monarchy is at 56/58 Tras Street.
Sansiri’s multi-concept space also includes a cocktail programme run by the guys behind Sunday Punch, who have introduced a series of signatures, and Thai-inspired classics.
Their version of the negroni comes with Thai red tea; while their signatures include the eyebrow-raising Spudni, a savoury, boozy combination of gin, sour cream, and onion chutney. For something a little more conventional, try the Maize Runner, a roasted coconut, bourbon, and peanut foam concoction with a corn salt rim.
Siri House is at #01-02, 8D Dempsey Hill, Dempsey Road.
Yet another gin bar joins the fray with beGIN. Fittingly enough, the bar is situated just above The Penny Black, Singapore’s oldest traditional English Pub.
Explore the juniper-laced spirit with their collection of over 50 labels, which are available as tasting flights that will let you understand the progression between the gin styles of different eras.
They even have genever, a Dutch distilled malt liquor flavoured with juniper that’s said to be the granddaddy of all gins — hence the term “Dutch Courage”. There are also signature cocktails, like the Yukie, a sours-style drink prepared with matcha.
beGIN is at Level 2, 27A Boat Quay.
One half of Nordic-Asian-French restaurant-bar Mythz and Myths, Myths is a cocktail bar that turns out potent tipples inspired by, well, mythology. Don’t discount it as a mere gimmick though. Pastry chef-turned-bartender Darren Lim has created a menu of well-balanced, complex drinks that belie the fact that they all have names that sound like video game characters.
The Ancient One, like its name, is a heady spirit-foward concoction of VSOP brandy, Benedictine, coffee, and Cointreau that you can just imagine a jaded immortal being sipping; while the puzzlingly-named X Y (1,0) is a compellingly savoury twist on a vodka martini with lemon, dill-infused Reyka and kombu-infused Mancino Secco vermouth. Garnished with an oyster leaf, the cocktail is an ocean spray in a shell-shaped glass.
Darren also accepts requests for bespoke drinks, should nothing on the menu catch your fancy.
Myths is a t #01-00, CMO Building, 50 South Bridge Road.
Be prepared to be completely blown away by the grandiose Atlas bar. It currently stands at the number eight spot on the World’s 50 Best Bars 2018 list, thanks to its carefully crafted cocktails and opulent interior that boasts art deco designs from the 1920s. The incredibly tall painted ceiling and 15-metre gin tower adds to the jaw-dropping factor.
Housed in a gothic-style building everyone fondly describes as Singapore’s “Gotham Building”, the elegant interior is said to be inspired by the skyscrapers of Europe and New York, and is the spot to be if you have friends of exquisite tastes.
A glass of bubbly starts from $22 for their Louis Roederer “Brut Premier” Magnum ($240 for the bottle). Cocktails are available as well — martinis cost $24, Gin & Tonics cost $19 to $24, and a glass of Spanish Marqués de Tomares Crianza red costs $18 ($90 for a bottle).
For something more indulgent, go for their Atlas Collections menu. It features 50,000 bottles of fine wine, over 10,000 bottles of whiskey, as well as two of the world’s most remarkable physical collections of gin and champagne.
Atlas Bar is at Parkview Square, 600 North Bridge Rd.
Fancy a pint of craft beer that is brewed on our very shores? It doesn’t get more unique than this. Drop by Changi Village’s Little Island Brewing Co, where you get to try out exquisitely crafted beers made in-house at their microbrewery. This 480-seater space spans over 10,000 square feet, and is stylised in an alfresco setting that overlooks the Straits’ waters.
Here, you can unwind and enjoy the scenic view while chatting with friends. What’s more, you can satisfy your bartender fantasies with their self-pouring brewery section that allows you to control the amount you want to consume. Just perfect when one pint’s too little, and two’s too much.
To pour the beers yourself, purchase an RFID (radio-frequency identification) card from their cashiers and you’re good to go (it costs $2, which is a refundable deposit). The initial top-up is $10 and subsequent top-ups are in multiples of $5. The bill is charged according to the amount you drink.
Tip: Make sure you tilt the glass as you’re pouring, or you’re just gonna end up with a whole lot of foam and very little booze. What fun!
Little Island Brewing Co is at #01-01/02, 6 Changi Village Road.
Established in October 2012, its secretive location and dim-lighting is what makes The Horse’s Mouth a quaint speakeasy that is perfect for a mysterious rendezvous.
How secret is it? Well it’s stowed away at the basement of Forum, accessible only through a dark stairway — and that’s only if you ask Uma Uma Ramen’s staff where it is. Inspired by contemporary Japanese zen designs with dark teak furniture, rattan seating and Shoji-inspired light fixtures, this Izakaya bar prides itself on treasuring the works of all-things-creative and treats every cocktail on their menu as a piece of art. Gather your posse and watch the pros whip up something artistically remarkable.
Cocktails are all priced at $25, and they’re as enigmatic as the location itself — they do not explicitly show the contents of their concoction online. Unique names like Cocky Locky and Dill with Guild are all you have to go with, so just dive in and take a risk.
The Horse’s Mouth is at #B1-39 Forum the Shopping Mall, 583 Orchard Road.
Established by couple Tan Soo San and Sherin Ong, The Writing Club was launched because Soo San’s extensive collection of prized vintage whiskeys from distilleries and liquor stores around the world was overcrowding the couple’s apartment.
Their solution: Turning his hobby into a business, by giving everyone an opportunity to taste and indulge in his “liquid gold” collection. This whiskey-focused bar boasts an upscale, masculine and sophisticated interior that’s complete with plush leather sofas, gold accents and woody furniture — just like an old-world gentlemen’s club. Very chic.
Cocktails start from $24 for a glass of Gin & Tonic, whereas their bespoke drinks (customisable according to your preferences) will cost you $30 per glass. Their signature drinks, such as The Writing Club Old Fashioned and Signature Negroni (both priced at $28 each), come highly recommended by regulars. Of course, this being a whiskey-driven bar, you wouldn’t go wrong with any of its selection of 500 whiskeys. Whiskeys come in two types of pour, either half ($16 for 20ml) or full ($20 for 45ml).
The Writing Club is at Palais Renaissance, #02-10, 390 Orchard Road.
From their gold-accented interior to the antique ceiling, it’s all about an interesting blend of old-meets-new at Gibson Bar. Tucked away at the second floor of a shophouse at Bukit Pasoh Road, this cocktail haven’s old-school setting is contrasted with its contemporary menu that’s bursting with Asian flavours.
Their goal is to reflect Singapore’s cultural melting pot while being universally inclusive, so their concoctions comprise a mix of local and international ingredients discovered from their travels around Asia. An unpretentious spot, here’s where you can have some laid-back fun without worrying about appearances.
From classics (like The Gibson and Gibson Whiskey Sour) to Japanese-inspired drinks (a Sake-tini or Banana Ume, anyone?) to tipples with a touch of South-East Asia (Wild Nectar, Chestnut Blazer and Buddha’s Mule are a few of our faves), cocktails are priced at $23 per glass.
If you’re going in a large group of eight to 12 people, go for their Punch Bowls ($170) that comes in four different flavours. Also, if you’re down for a snack, oyster happy hour starts from 6pm to 8pm daily, but head there on Tuesdays where it goes on all-night long (prices vary on day-to-day basis). Not a fan of this delicacy? Satiate your tummy with bite-sized nibbles, like their Bikini Sandwich ($17) or Crispy Golden Beetroot ($15).
Gibson Bar is on the 2nd Floor, 20 Bukit Pasoh Road.
Perched at level 33 of The Westin hotel, this hotel gastropub impresses with its amazing view of the Marina Bay. Not only that, its suave, leathery interior resembles an updated, modernised version of a British pub (more classy, less gritty) and its elegant dark wood fixtures, black marble bar-top and live band every Friday evening (from 6pm onwards) is also the reason why we think you should head over there, stat.
Beer lovers, check out some of their draught offerings — such as the Pilsner Urquell ($11 and $14 for half and full pint respectively) and Kirin Ichiban ($11 for half a pint, and $13 for a full pint) — as well as bottled beers that start from $12 for a San Miguel.
Not a fan of fermented malt? Their cocktails are all priced at $18. Two of their signature cocktails, the Ruby Duchess (a mix of strawberry and ginger with vodka) and Choconana (chocolate puree and banana with Bailey’s and vodka) sound absolutely divine. Classics like the Cosmopolitan (Sex and the City fans, you know what we’re talking about) and the Mojito are available as well. If you’re feeling peckish, nibble on some of their pad thai fries ($16) or the ‘Yukhoe’ korean styled beef tartar ($19).
Cook & Brew is on Level 33 of The Westin, 12 Marina View Asia Square Tower 2.
With its sleek gold furnishing and cool blue leathery seats, this retro den is the place to be for gin lovers, or if you simply want to soak in a vibe of refined, old-school glamour. Its name, Cin Cin, was derived from the sound of clinking made by glasses during festivities — so head on over there with your besties and do some cheering of your own. Apart from its elegant setting, this bar offers up to 100 different labels of gin and a curated range of tonic, which means you have 500 ways to create your very own martinis and G&Ts. Impressive.
Cocktails start from $18 for their Earlgroni, which has a satisfyingly bitter taste with tinge of citrus sweetness, and Poppy War, which boasts sweet notes of Poppy and citrus. Don’t forget to give their customisable martinis a go, where you get to choose your favourite gin label as a base.
Cin Cin is on Level 1 of Oasia Hotel Downtown, 100 Peck Seah Street.
Text: Sean Tham, and Weets Goh/The Peak