It’s been a hot minute since drinking at bars beyond the 10:30PM curfew was possible but with the pandemic slowly loosening its grip on the world, the Singapore government finally saw it fit to lift certain restrictions. Ladies, we know you’re excited to gather your crew and paint the town red so that’s why we’ve carefully curated a list of 10 of Singapore’s hottest cocktail establishments for you and the girls to have an enjoyable night out — in style.
Whether you’re hankering after a classic cocktail done properly or something a little wilder, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got a culture-forward cocktail bar that pays homage to Indian culture by means of yummy libations crafted using traditional Indian spices, a swanky gin bar sporting a three-storey-high gin shelf where you can get the best martini in the country and more. We hope you brought your comfy shoes because it’s going to be a wild ride.
It’s hard to top the sheer opulence that ATLAS provides with its New York Art-deco inspired look and to boot, its gin-focused cocktail programme doesn’t fall short in terms of wow factor either. A mainstay on the World’s 50 Best Bars list for several years running, ATLAS is home to over 1,300 bottles of gin and is the home ground for some of Asia’s most prolific bartenders. At ATLAS Bar, expect well-executed interpretations of the classics that are anything but textbook — we hear their dirty martini is one of the best in the nation — as well as playful renditions of familiar cocktails.
Not many bars can say they were the number 1 bar in Asia for a spell, but Jigger & Pony most certainly can. Skillful, inventive, and meticulous with every pour, every drop and every garnish, the folks running the bar can conjure some of the most delicious bespoke drinks in town. The theme surrounding Jigger & Pony is largely centered around upscale 19th-century cocktail establishments when cocktail recipes were listed as ‘Jiggers’ and ‘Ponies’. If you love a good espresso martini, you’ll be thrilled to know that these folks whip up one of the best in town!
An intimate little pocket located amidst a row of Ann Siang Hill’s more buzzy bar establishments, Junior The Pocket Bar offers a nice cosy escape replete with delicious drinks and plush red interiors and heritage touches that give it a certain eclectic zing. A standout drink, CACAO impresses with its boozy forwardness, bold flavours and chocolatey aroma. A spirit-forward cocktail that’s not for the faint of heart, it’s made using cacao nib-infused rye whiskey and rum as well as sherry and sweet vermouth.
If you’re looking to enjoy familiar classics executed right, then the newly opened Last Word is the place to visit. Located directly above sister-bar Nutmeg & Clove, Last Word — named after the classic gin cocktail — is a restaurant and cocktail bar that primarily focuses on the classics accompanied by small Japanese-inspired plates such as edamame and chicken karaage. The interior is kept minimal with a long bar counter as the centrepiece and plenty of wood — in proper Japanese fashion. Stylish, refined yet cosy through and through, a great spot for after-work cocktails.
You know a bar means business when they have their own walk-in rick house, filled from floor to ceiling with over a hundred American oak barrels used to age spirits. Embodying the spirit of a true 19th-century speakeasy bar, Manhattan at Regent Singapore gets it spot-on from its artful decor, spiffily dressed bartenders and stiff libations. The bar’s vast drinks menu is a tour of old Manhattan, with each drink built using its own barrel-aged spirits. Oh, and if you’re something of a cocktail aficionado, you’ll also know that Manhattan is one of the top bars in the world, according to The World’s 50 Best Bars list.
Located on the fourth floor of Mandarin Oriental Singapore is a spiffy, award-winning cocktail bar that goes above and beyond your typical hotel bar in every sense of the word. The bar’s sleek interiors and imaginative libations are enough to draw you in but it’s the stellar five-star service — in true Mandarin Oriental fashion — that keeps people coming back. Its ever-changing drink programme shines a light on flavours inspired by popular dishes in and around the Asia-Pacific region. We once had a savoury Korean-inspired tequila cocktail made with clarified tomato, kimchi and black garlic that tasted absolutely out of this world.
Prices start at SGD39 per person.
Spotlighting fond memories of olden day Singapore through its well thought out food and drinks programme, Nutmeg & Clove on Purvis Street is a bar that we knew we couldn’t leave out. Satiate your hungry bellies with its bevvy of locally inspired dishes such as the SG Scotch Egg made using a combination of minced kurobuta pork and Lap Cheung (Chinese sausage) or the drool-inducing Beef Rendang Mac & Cheese. On the drinks front, comb your way through Singapore’s past and present with cocktails by Hong Kong-born Shelley Tai, a 2019 Diageo World Class HK & Macau Bartender of the Year. For something fairly whimsical, we recommend ordering the “Can Bubble Gum?", a delicious cocktail that’s also a jab at Singapore’s law against the selling of bubble gum. It’s constructed using mezcal, strawberry, distilled tabasco and bubble gum foam. It’s fun, effervescent and a sheer delight.
Offering panoramic views of the Padang, this convivial cocktail bar atop National Gallery is a hot spot for first dates and worth its weight in class is its repertoire of brilliant bespoke cocktails. During the day, the views are pretty darn splendid but it’s when night falls over Singapore’s CBD where true opulence is revealed. It’s obvious that the best seats in the house are by the balcony, so grab a date, a seat and let an epic evening unfold.
Hidden on the second floor of an otherwise unassuming shophouse at Keong Saik — if not for one Michelin-starred Burnt Ends directly below it — The Elephant Room joins the long list of bars in the vicinity. The brainchild of owner-bartender Yugnes Susela, formerly from Smoke and Mirrors, the bar adopts a culture-forward approach to food and drinks, paying homage to the culturally rich country of India. Inspired by the culture, trade, people and history of Singapore's Little India, The Elephant Room’s knack for creating nuanced and deceptively simple drinks has earned it a stellar reputation. For starters, the ingredients (the serving ware too probably) that go into their infusions and fermentations are all freshly sourced from the markets and little shops in Little India.
Located along Neil Road, just around the corner of bustling bar-laden Duxton is this humble speakeasy that offers warm hospitality, delicious tapas and a solid array of handcrafted cocktails all in generous measure. Helming the bar is veteran bartender, Hirman, who is something of a celebrity in Southeast Asia's bartending scene. The Store’s drinks programme features a long list of unique handcrafted cocktails crafted in true Hirman fashion that you won’t find anywhere else. His extensive knowledge and unparalleled skillsets allow him to create interesting ingredients such as coffee kombucha and tajin which he infuses into his drinks for that extra oomph factor. Go for their biscuit infused Smonkey Biscuit Sour. Fresh lemon, hazelnut syrup, and chocolate bitters seal the deal with this one. Don’t miss out on their “11 @ 11” happy hour that features a decent selection of cocktails for SGD11 and snacks as well.
(Photo from: Alvin Tan)
P.S. Don't miss out on these great rooftop bars too!
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