They are more than just the average watering holes.
Singapore is now home to more than 20 craft beer bars, with a new wave of such bars opening in the last few months. They add to the diverse scene here which has everything from longstanding microbreweries such as RedDot BrewHouse and Brewerkz, to hawker centre craft beer haunts like Smith Street Taps and 3rd Culture Brewing Co., as well as the grungy, cool joints with cult followings like Freehouse and Mikkeller Bar Singapore.
But along with providing the spectrum of styles available in craft beers with highly curated beer lists, these new bars are also going beyond what their predecessors have done by creating multi-purpose spaces.
Don’t miss out these new additions to Singapore’s craft beer scene!
A mishmash of overturned crates, concrete slabs and tarpaulin form the seats, tables and roof in the outdoor area of Bunkerbunker, which opened in the Rochor-Bugis neighbourhood in September last year.
Here there are no beers on tap. Instead the beers, which average at around $12 a pop, are all in cans and bottles.
This allows founder Keola Ho to stock anywhere between 100 and 120 labels of beers, ciders and meads at any one time. There are new beers on offer every week. The beers and main bar area are housed in a repurposed container – formerly Danish craft beer joint Mikkeller, which has since moved to Purvis Street. The space is as much a craft beer bar and cafe, as it is an event space and micro gallery, showcasing artwork from artists in the neighbourhood, which is home to multiple arts schools.
Deck, 120A Prinsep Street, 187937, tel: 9182 1246
Open: Tuesday to Sunday, 11am to midnight. Closed on Monday.
At first glance through the fish tank-like glass windows, the stark, grey and white interiors of the month-old Almost Famous in Chijmes may seem cold and unwelcoming.
But every design choice, heavily influenced by co-founder Kenny Lee’s fine art background and high-end fashion stores from Japan, is meant to put the beers, and even the patrons themselves, front and centre. Unlike most beer bars which have taps and accompanying labels that indicate what beer is on tap, the 16 taps that line the bar back are unmarked.
“This is so that the customer won’t have to stress out when choosing a beer with the bartender looking at them,” says Mr Lee, who is 26.
“It is also to make the consumer enjoy the environment and then decide what mood and flavours they want after being in the bar.” The beer list comes on a menu instead, that customers can take their time to peruse. Craft beer pints are priced at $14, premium craft pints are $16, and there is also a $10-a-glass Czech pilsner for “the person who wants to transition from commercial into craft beers”.
But Almost Famous does not want to stop at just being a craft beer bar. Given the blank canvas that their space is, they are also looking to be a platform for upcoming designers and artists and “curating people who are good at their craft”, hence the name “almost famous”.
“We hope to expand the Almost Famous concept into many other aspects, curating a holistic retail and lifestyle experience for anything ranging from beer to coffee to fashion,” he adds.
#01-06, CHIJMES, 30 Victoria Street, 187996
Open: Daily, 3pm to midnight
Start and end the day with a “toast” at this month-old joint. From 7.30am to 6pm, the space is a Killiney Kopitiam franchise serving up kaya toast and other Singaporean breakfast staples. But at 4pm, the bar portion opens to start pouring out craft beers.
Called the Orh Gao Taproom – a nod to the Hokkien coffee shop slang for stouts – the bar is located at Serene Centre in Bukit Timah, taking over the space formerly occupied by ice cream shop Island Creamery.
While the majority of craft beer bars are located in the CBD or town area, founder Samuel Low, 30, sought to bring a similar experience to his neighbourhood. Here there are always 10 beers on tap, from light to dark beers, which Mr Low wants to keep accessible to entry-level drinkers. “Seventy to 80 per cent of the beers I bring in are beginner-friendly, both in terms of price and palate,” he says. Beers on tap range in price from $12 to $17 a pint, with most kegs rotating weekly.
But there is also a selection of more “extraordinary” bottled beers for the connoisseurs and beer geeks, ranging from a pecan pie imperial stout and a blueberry muffinpale ale.
As part of his vision to bring a “kampung vibe” to the bar, there is also a large communal table in front of the bar, so that “people can build connections and drink good beer”.
#01-03, Serene Centre, 10 Jalan Serene, 258748
Open: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday, 4pm to 11pm. Friday and Saturday, 4pm to midnight. Closed on Monday.
By Anjali Raguraman, The Straits Times, Jan 5, 2019 / Updated by Muneerah Bee, February 2019 / Images: Facebook
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