Getting through the 9-to-5 grind can be exhausting, but thanks to Singapore’s ever-booming bar scene, there are plenty of places to top up your reserves.
But if you’re not sure where to start, fret not, because we’ve done the hard work for you and rounded up eight of the island’s smartest watering holes for a fun night out with your workmates.
This bar’s original outpost in Hong Kong is still riding high after snagging the top spot at the 2019 edition of Asia’s 50 Best Bars, but how does The Old Man Singapore stack up against its sister outlet? Very well, judging by the crowds that swarm in each night for a feel of the bar’s impressive menu.
Literary great Ernest Hemingway serves as the inspiration for the bar’s nine cocktails and decor. Even the ingredients used in each cocktail are some of Hemingway’s known favourites – think beeswax-infused whisky and fat-washed gin. Top favourites here include The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Green Hills of Africa and Across the River Into The Trees.
At 55 Keong Saik Rd, #01-04, Singapore 089158; tel: 6909 5505. Visit www.facebook.com/TheOldManSG
This snazzy new hideaway may specialise in all-day dining, but its cocktails are worth every sip. Focusing on a communal sharing concept, cocktails here aren’t designed for solo drinkers. Instead, 51 Soho’s alcoholic creations are made for groups of nine or 12 and served in individual porcelain cups.
Be warned, the tipples here are not for newbies, as each one contains heavy doses of traditional Chinese rice, bamboo or plum wines. We’d recommend you pair picks such as the fruity Prosperity Cup or the herb-infused Dancing in the Moonlight with standout nibbles such as its grilled pork belly meat skewers or the fiery Our Spicy Pasta.
Want a little privacy and a smooth pint? This underground bar in Dhoby Ghaut has it all. To get here, you’ll first need to find the yellow staircase within Haw Par Glass Tower and head down into the basement. Not only does it stock pints on tap, there’s also a well-curated, constantly rotating craft beer selection from Hong Kong Black Kite Brewery and Young Master Ales to
choose from. The bar is also loved for its entertainment options. Take in a game of darts or pool, opt for a spot of beer pong or sit back with board games such as Monopoly or Cards Against Humanity.
At 178 Clemenceau Ave, Haw Par Glass Tower, B1-00 Singapore 239926; tel: 6904 4019. Visit www.hopheadsbar.com
Wanderlusters will love this gorgeous cocktail bar that’s tucked within the luxurious confines of InterContinental Singapore. Inspired by the golden age of travel, 10 cities along the popular Transatlantic Route serve as the muses for this laidback lounge’s signature concoctions.
Artisanal spirits from small-batch distilleries, rare vintages and modern techniques come together to form crowd favourites such as the Shaftesbury Theatre, Sugarloaf and Passage to Havana. Be sure to stay for the live music, which features a rotating band that plays the blues, a touch of swing and lots of jazz.
At InterContinental Singapore, Lobby Level, 80, Middle Rd, Singapore 188966; tel: 6825 1045. Visit https://idlewild.sg
By day, this space houses an unsuspecting kopitiam, but come nightfall, it morphs into a snazzy watering hole for worker bees looking for respite. The bar’s name is of Hokkien origin, and translates to ‘black stout beer brews’ but stout isn’t the only beverage you’ll find here.
Instead, its 10 rotating taps dole out international and local craft brews from the likes of Black Kite, That Singapore Beer Project, Rogue Ales and Pasteur Street Brewing Company – and all in bespoke beer mugs, too. Alternatively, go for one of its bottled craft beers, available in flavours such as salted chocolate, espresso and yuzu, just to name a few.
At 10 Jln Serene, #01-03 Serene Centre, Singapore 258748; tel: 8749 2755. Visit www.facebook.com/orhgaotaproom
If it’s peace and quiet you want, this vintage whisky bar is the place to be. Unintrusive music is played at low levels and the cosy interiors are inviting, so you can sink into any of the bar’s well-cushioned armchairs before picking out a rare bottling from its extensive menu. We’d recommend a glass of Douglas Laing’s Big Peat Singapore Edition – only 600 bottles were made, and this bar
is the only place to get your paws on some. There’s also a 140-year-old piano within, and if you’re interested in tinkling away on the monochrome keys, just ask the friendly bar staff for permission.
At Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, 8 Raffles Ave, Esplanade Mall, #02-27, Singapore 039802; tel: 6963 1192. Visit www.theexciseman.com
The brainchild of veteran sommeliers Alvin Gho and Ian Lim, RVLT is the island’s very first natural wine bar. But don’t waste time asking for a menu here, because there isn’t one. Instead, explore the various Old and New World bottlings on the shelves that sit within the nondescript space and pick one that suits your fancy. The menu changes at least twice a month, so you won’t find the same bottle twice. Alternatively, ask for a tasting flight if you’d like to savour more than one brand of vino.
At 38 Carpenter St, Level 1, Singapore 059917; tel: 6909 5709. Visit https://winervlt.sg/index.html
Exclusivity reigns supreme at this tiny 10-seater, which introduces patrons to the vibrant New Orleans spirit. Hidden behind an inconspicuous white door along Tanjong Pagar Road, what’s revolutionary about Junior is that it’s constantly revamping itself.
Don’t expect basic G&Ts here, because every six months, the bar’s selection of spirits, interior design and drinks menu undergo a complete upgrade to reflect a radically different theme. What stays constant, however, is the bar’s range of heartwarming Creole food. Don’t miss out on the hearty jambalaya, po’ boys that are stuffed with a variety of fillings and the classic beignet, dusted to perfection with icing sugar.
At 43 Tanjong Pagar Rd, Singapore 088464; tel: 8121 1462. Visit www.facebook.com/JuniorThePocketBar
Photos: Respective bars Instagrams and Facebook
By Hazel Joanne Vincent De Paul, August 2019
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