Singapore’s top bars this year were declared at the Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2022 awards with 11 contenders from the Republic making the list. And with restrictions lifting and nightlife returning, you know where to go this weekend – but do you know what to order? Consider the list below your ultimate life hack.
Singapore’s best bar for 2022 – and Asia’s second best – has matured from its Amoy Street digs to a sumptuous new locale at Amara Hotel. At this OG homegrown cocktail bar, order Madame President, a deconstructed Negroni. It’s a much lighter shade than usual, featuring Monkey 47 Gin, kaffir dry vermouth, orchid and bittermelon liqueur, and a Campari lollipop. The floral orchid notes were inspired by the Botanic Gardens, and the name’s a nod to Halimah Yacob, the nation’s first woman president.
Benefitting from close proximity to Marina Bay, this hotel bar with an “indie cocktail lab” spirit lets guests choose flavours from Asia that they want to explore. Sample the stunning Full Moon, inspired by Korea, boasting rum, wheatgrass and pear notes. On top: a paper moon with a bunny print for that perfect photo.
As its name suggests, the cocktail list at this bar – “New York Personified” – features drinks that take their cues from the Big Apple’s notable personalities. F-sharp is the establishment’s twist on Jack Rose, invented in the 1890s around the same time self-taught musician Irving Berlin created the transposing piano, which allowed him to use the F sharp key to play songs of other keys. The drink employs Michter’s Straight Rye whiskey, Laird’s Applejack, Dry Curacao, havdalah spices, lemon, egg white, and Angostura Bitters.
This one-year-old new entrant from the Ritz Carlton pays homage to the swinging 60s and its liquid history. Comprising Monkey Shoulder whisky, tropical cordial, pineapple juice, and earl grey tea, Timeless Beauty is inspired by the classic elegance of the Singapore Girl, flight stewardesses on the national carrier whose iconic sarong kebayas of batik silk were first worn in 1968. The name is a nod to the slogan: “She remains timeless across generations.”
With owners formerly hailing from Operation Dagger and 28 HongKong Street, this Keong Saik establishment has come a long way since its pop-up on Club Street. The guava and salted plum combination that inspires this gin and tonic is based on the childhood snack co-owner Juan Yi Jun’s mother used to make, now given a sophisticated twist with black plum gin, clarified guava, sakura Vermouth and house tonic, topped with a fermented plum and compressed guava.
Batman. Great Gatsby. These are the franchises that usually pop up when referencing this triple-height-ceiling, art-deco-style bar in Parkview Square. Home to one of the largest gin libraries in the world, it’s no surprise that the signature martini uses a base of London Dry Gin, paired with Ambrato Vermouth, orange bitters, and champagne vinegar. It’s characterised as “strong, cold, floral, with a little lick of the wild”.
This establishment is attached to a fine-dining restaurant run by chef-owner Ryan Clift, whose molecular gastronomy techniques also find their way into the cocktail programme. The current menu, A Guide to Modern Drinking Vol II, was inspired by art – with its Dollar Sign cocktail taking cues from a work of the same name by pop art king Andy Warhol. Features Louis XIII cognac, champagne, kokuto (Okinawa brown sugar), bitters, and a fleur-de-lis.
Leaping 18 spots up from last year’s ranking, this lockdown-born bar by veterans from 28 HongKong Street and Spiffy Dapper features an interior built by hand, mostly from upcycled materials. Drinks vary weekly according to local ingredients, but six classic styles of cocktails will always be available. This one, named after the Singlish phrase for “reverse”, uses Roku Gin, green chartreuse, strawberry, mangosteen shrub, citrus, and lemongrass cordial. In true irreverent style, the tasting notes make almost no sense: “Tastes like: Dude you missed our exit, can gostan?“
From this Singapore-centric bar comes local flavours as progressive cocktails, with the latest menu resembling a tourist’s journal packed with unique facts about the nation. This creation is a spin on the Michael Jackson, a soy milk and grass jelly drink that can be had at any hawker centre, but Nutmeg & Clove’s rendition isn’t black or white. Instead, its flavour profile is recreated with Fernet Branca, Roku Gin, and clarified soy milk, plus herby, pine notes from Braulio.
This newcomer’s star has risen surprisingly fast. The two-year-old establishment by Vijay Mudaliar of Native is 100% plant-based, and its centrepiece is an undulating aquamarine counter 3D-printed from 1,600 kilos of recycled plastic bottles. Spaceman, made of gin, Cocchi, Campari, peanut butter and Kyoho grapes, is but one of the drinks that employ ingredients with less impact on the environment, swapping out chocolate for carob and chicory for coffee.
With a nondescript door and no address, this speakeasy embraces its role of secret spot only for those in the know. To a soundtrack of 90s US hip-hop sip on this smoky-but-fruity cocktail, a nod to the lyrics of “Lean On” by Major Lazer and DJ Snake. It’s the house’s take on a Planter’s punch, made by mixing forest berry tea syrup, maraschino cherry liquor and citrus with smoky Alipus Mezcal Joven tequila and Yellow Chartreuse.
This article was first published in The Peak.