You probably already knew that the bar scene in Singapore is a vibrant and bustling one, but lesser known is the fact that many of the bars in the scene are world-class too. That’s right, and we aren’t talking about best in Asia either, but on global standard.
We’re basing the rankings off the official World’s 50 Best Bars list, which is compiled after collating votes of more than 500 drinks experts around the globe.
The voters, who are drinks experts – drinks consultants, renowned bartenders, prominent writers in the field or other experts in the industry – are simply asked to name the seven bars in which they have enjoyed the best experience over the last one and a half years.
No specialised categories or nitty gritty details, which is something we like. After all, what everyone looks for in a great bar is to have a good time and unwind with a delectable drink.
Read on to see which bars in Singapore have made the cut, starting from number 47, all the way to number 7.
No. 47: Native
Despite having been opened not too long ago, in December 2016, we think Native has definitely earned its spot on the list.
If you’ve already heard of Native before this, chances are you’ve heard of its ant cocktail (Antz, $23) which has been drawing mixed reactions. It’s made with Thai rum, coconut yoghurt, and is topped with a betel leaf that holds a cluster of crunchy ants sourced from Thailand. Crazy or genius? You decide.
But Native’s success comes from more than just this unique drink. Vijay Mudaliar, the head mixologist, believes strongly in sourcing for ingredients from Asia as far as possible. The types of alcohol are individually sourced as well.
No. 31: Tippling Club
Another bar that constantly breaks boundaries with seriously innovative drinks would be Tippling Club, which made it to the 31st spot in the list.
Its latest menu (The Sensorium) actually comes in the form of gummy bears that have been scented with the smell of an English candy store.
But before you think you’re being cheated of your money, get this: the gummy bears work as a sampler that help you decide which drink to order.
There are a total of 12 gummy bears which each represent its liquid and alcoholic counterpart. Each gummy bear is named after a specific dream or desire, and is infused with its associated flavours. For example, Happiness is a honeyed, citrus concoction spiked with tequila.
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No. 25: 28 Hong Kong Street
Photo: District W
If you’re the kinda girl who doesn’t like fancy tricks in her drinks, you’ll love 28 Hong Kong Street. This is the kind of bar that believes in sticking to the bare essentials and avoiding frills.
It’s almost hilarious how this philosophy manifests in their official website, which is nothing more than a single page with a lone photo and two email addresses listed in small text.
The drinks are what truly shine, and we’ve heard that the bar bites are pretty moreish too. Try the Old Fashioned and a bowl of Mac n’ Cheese balls that will hit the spot.
No. 24: Operation Dagger
Operation Dagger is one of those elusive bars that take a little bit of searching to find, being located in the basement of a nameless building at the junction of Club Street and Ann Siang Hill. Hard to find, but rewarding when you do locate it and get to toss back a tipple.
It has a handful of fermented drinks under its belt, and if you’re feeling bold, you could even try “Cabbage” ($22) which is made with a week-long fermented red cabbage, apples, and rose vinegar.
With fun and unique cocktails called G.O.A.T (made with goat’s cheese), Onion Gum, and Untitled #2, we’re pretty sure the alcoholically adventurous would love returning to Operation Dagger every now and then.
No. 15: ATLAS
Photo: Michelin Guide
Even if you’ve never been to ATLAS, we’re certain you would have caught a glimpse of its ornate, gold leaf-flecked interiors in your social media feed.
The ambience of the place is impressive, and we can’t think of anything better than cosying up in one of the plush armchairs with a drink of your choice to soak in the regally opulent atmosphere.
The crown jewel of the bar is its gin collection that fills a towering shelf that must be at least three storeys high. There’s over a thousand varieties of gin, so have a chat with the sommelier who will expertly recommend the perfect gin for you.
No. 6: Manhattan
Manhattan is the ultimate best bar in Asia, and number six, worldwide.
Manhattan is inspired by the 19th century which was the golden age of cocktails and refined drinking. Talk about old-school glamour.
Expect barrel and clay pot-aged spirits, which are aged in its very own rickhouse behind the bar. The menu is vast, and similar to ATLAS, you can ask the bartenders to recommend you the kind of drink that you’ll enjoy most. Sweet, spiced, smoky, or herbaceous? There’s bound to be something you’ll love.
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