28 Hong Kong Street
1. 28 Hong Kong Street (Singapore)
The five-year-old speakeasy that prides itself on anonymity (its entrance is completely inconspicuous; you need to look for its unit number to find it) and unexpected concoctions.
Visit this for potent cocktails (no girly drinks here) and the best bar bites around (we could have their truffle mac and cheese balls everyday).
28 Hongkong St, Singapore 059667
2. Speak Low (Shanghai)
Like 28 Hong Kong Street, this four-storey bar is very well-hidden: its discreet entrance can be found behind a bookshelf at bartending equipment shop Ocho.
Head up the stairs and you’ll find house signatures like Sawadee-Cup (a blend of Thai iced tea and buttered rum). The third floor houses more Japanese spirits like hibiki whisky, while a luxe, intimate VIP lounge occupies the fourth floor.
579 Fuxing Zhou Lu, near Ruijin Er Lu, Huangpu District, Shanghai
3. High Five Bar (Tokyo)
Its founder/top man behind the bar, Hidetsugu Ueno, is well-respected in the industry for his superb cocktail mixing skills.
It’s in an office building that’s cosy, and its staff are all snazzily dressed (suspenders and all).
There are no menus available, so place yourself at the mercy of the mixologists’ deft hands.
Efflore Ginza 5 building, BF 5-4-15 Ginza Chuo-ward 104-0061, Tokyo
4. Lobster Bar & Grill (Hong Kong)
Like our very own Bar & Billiard Room in Raffles Hotel, this hotel bar pulls out all the stops, from the service (impeccable) to the drinks (classic favourites).
It also landed a post on the World’s 50 Best Bars list last year.
Island Shangri-la, Supreme Court Road, Level 6, Pacific Place, Central, Hong Kong
5. Manhattan Bar (Singapore)
Don’t just head there for the Instagram-worthy cocktails that taste just as good as they look – their bar food is top notch too, and comes courtesy of American head chef Nicholas Troisen.
Expect plush leather seats in an intimate gentleman club setting, and make it a point to check out the well-stocked rickhouse located within.
Regent Hotel Singapore, 1 Cuscaden Rd, Singapore 249715
6. Quinary (Hong Kong)
The three-year-old cocktail bar touts itself as a place to “engage all five senses”, and it does so by offering inventive cocktails like Marshmellow Duo (Absolute vanilla, marshmallow milkshake cream, and egg white) and Earl Grey Caviar martini (elderflower syrup, Cointreau and earl grey caviar).
That’s not all, however: the presentation of their cocktails are also apparently out of this world.
56-58 Hollywood Rd, Central, Hong Kong
7. Operation Dagger (Singapore)
Another undeground cocktail bar in Singapore, its USP is how arty its interior is (just try not to be awed by the cloud of light bulbs hanging above the bar).
The drinks here – served up by head barsmith Luke Whearty – change often, so expect to be pleasantly surprised on every visit.
7 Ann Siang Hill, Singapore 069791
8. Jigger & Pony (Singapore)
This popular hangout for CBD folks celebrates three types of drinks: classics (think pisco sours and negronis), Vintage (like a New York sour), and Signatures (with cheeky names like Corpse Reviver #1 and Bad Blood).
The other reason why they’re a crowd-pleaser: they offer alcoholic punch bowls that contain up to 15-20 servings.
101 Amoy St, Singapore 069921
9. Union Trading Company (Shanghai)
The American-style cocktail bar is the place to go to unwind and kick back. It opened its doors in 2014 and is still going strong today with a cocktail menu that gets refreshed every three months under bar maestro Yao Lu.
64 Fenyang Road, Xuhui, Shanghai, China
10. Omakase + Appreciate (Kuala Lumpur)
Reviewer Hamish Smith dubs the bartenders’ “free-styling” as the main draw here.
And while its “secret” location makes this spot rather difficult to stumble upon, you’ll be rewarded with delectable Japanese dishes (that’s the omakase part) and attentive barmen who will do their best to whip up something to your liking (that’s the appreciate part).
Ampang Bangunan Ming Annexe, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
By Isabel Ong, Female, 7 April 2016