You can’t not order a Singapore Sling when you’re in Singapore, but also know this: the country is teeming with new taverns, trendy bars, little Japanese izakayas and swish rooftop dens, many of them with the world’s most prestigious awards pinned on their sleeves.
Mixologist Arijit Bose has worked as head bartender and Man of the House at one such award-winning bar – 28 Hong Kong Street - which jumped from number 10 to number 7 on The World’s 50 Best Bars list during his time there – and also currently works as a consultant with some of the best bars across the globe. Taking time off from developing his new gin brand, The Lovers, in Amsterdam, he takes us through a trail of his favourite Singapore bars. Grab a glass and come along.
Spago: For The View
I welcome you to Singapore with a flute of champagne high up at Spago, perched prettily on the 57th floor. The first international offshoot of Wolfgang Puck’s renowned Beverly Hills restaurant, Spago offers a stunning view with the bay on one side, and the Formula One track on the other. Get a seat in the al fresco section and gaze longingly at their iconic infinity pool.
10 Bayfront Avenue L57, Sands SkyPark, Hotel Tower 2, Singapore, call +65 66889955, www.marinabaysands.com.
Employees Only and 28 Hongkong Street: For The Meanest Craft Cocktails
These two stellar cocktail destinations are repeatedly on Asia’s 50 Best Bars List for a reason. At Employees Only, originally an award-winning speakeasy from New York, one of my favourite Singapore bartenders, Jia Wei Bei makes a mean…well, anything really. Meanwhile, 28 Hong Kong Street is equal buzz and booze, where you’ll marvel at the potions, particularly at the bourbon ones; the mint julep is my favourite.
Skinny's Lounge: Where Bartenders Drink
Industry folk hang at this dive bar after duty; passing time and drinks at the pool table and karaoke room. Bombay people, think The Ghetto but without the neon lights.
#01, 82 Boat Quay, 02, Singapore, call +65 9653 8886.
Neon Pigeon & Ori Hara: For The Best Sake Cocktails
The neon lights and wasabi cocktails at Neon Pigeon’s “urban izakaya” thank Tokyo for inspiration. For a more humble slice of Japan, dip into hole-in-the-wall Ori Hara’s fantastic reserve of sake, and leave without a big hole in your wallet.
Atlas: To Be Truly Overwhelmed
It’s Disney Land for gin drinkers, this magnificent bar that serves over a 1000 varieties of gin, some dating back to 1910. High ceiling soars over gleaming wooden bannisters, marsala carpets and art deco lights, elements that come together to provide the feel of drinking in a grand old library. Probably why it was featured in Time Magazine’s Greatest Places, 2018. Yes, Atlas is in all the guide books, but tourists and excellent jazz age-inspired libations await. Now you choose.
Atlas, 600 North Bridge Rd, Parkview Square, Singapore, call +65 6396 4466, www.atlasbar.sg.
Junior Bar: To Meet My Favourite Bartender In Singapore
A fist-sized ten seater bar is where my favourite Singapore bartender, Peter Chua makes drinks. Every six months, the bar – from the interior to the menu – is overhauled, with Peter creating the most excellent bar programs each time. Other favourite bartenders include Brendon Khoo and Sasha at Operation Dagger.
Junior, 43 Tg Pagar Road, Singapore, call +65 8121 1462.
Manhattan: To Meet The Rankholder
Ranked no 3 on The World’ s 50 Best Bars List (2018), and no 1 in Asia two years running, this is Singapore’s cocktail mecca. Located at The Regent Hotel Singapore, Manhattan invites you into one of its Chesterfield armchairs, imploring you to browse over 200 rare bourbons, ryes and craft whiskeys, and deciding what you’re going to pair your next cocktail with. Leave all decisions to the staff and you will not be disappointed. They have the best brunch, complete with customisable Bloody Mary cart.
Manhattan, 1 Cuscaden Rd, Level 2 Regent Singapore, Singapore, call +65 6725 3377, www.regenthotels.com.
Spiffy Dapper: For Killer Negronis
If you love the sweet struggle, you should know this: The Spiffy Dapper team pretty much built the bar from scratch. “We did everything ourselves; the carpentry, painting, the furniture and the bar. We left the electricity and plumbing to the experts,” they say on their website. Their cocktails are built on solid foundation; the negronis are killer.
The Spiffy Dapper, 73 Amoy St, Second Floor, Singapore, call +65 8742 8908, spiffydapper.com.
The Other Room: For Tequila Older Than Your Dad
They have an aged tequila, tomato and kimchi drink that’s off the hook, but the barrel aged program is legit too! Also on Asia’s 50 Best Bars List, The Other Room has insane discounts and incentives for different days of the week, including free oysters accompanying glasses of bubbly, until 3 am. We’ll drink and shuck to that!
The Other Room, 320 Orchard Road, #01-05 Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, Singapore, call +65 8300 6085, www.theotherroom.com.sg.
Tip: For a great bar hopping experience, try and catch the Party Bus that can often be seen parked outside Employees Only.
For more local bar recommendations, go to visitsingapore.com.
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