In bustling Singapore, there is never a shortage of places to have whatever your choice of tipple. After all, there’s good reason why Singapore’s bar scene is considered one of the world’s best. In 2018’s World’s 50 Best Bars list, Singapore leads the rankings of bars from Asia with five bars in total on the list. So the question is, how do you choose where to go when you’re searching for joints to knock back and catch up with your pals?
We’ve done the homework for you. From microbreweries to whiskey- and gin-centric bars, these eight trendy and unique watering holes are sure to make your friends mighty impressed with you.
1. The Whiskey Library
Photo: The Vagabond Club
A luxurious and extravagant interior greets guests the moment they set foot on its plush floors. Located within the compounds of boutique hotel The Vagabond Club, The Whiskey Library is beautifully decorated with ornate Art Deco designs curated by renowned designer Jacques Garcia. Artistic pieces such as a solid brass rhino and ginormous sculptures of elephants and a monkey are found all over the library, which resembles a charming old-school Parisian salon. It is here where you’d get over 1,000 whiskies on offer — some are rare and very exclusive bottlings — displayed behind vitrines designed and hand-crafted by a local woodsman. While sipping your beverage, you might be entertained by intimate theatre performances, musical showcases, book readings and more. A haven for whiskey connoisseurs.
Price: The cheapest drink here will set you back by $185, for a bottle of Bulliet Rye. Want something more indulgent? A bottle of their 23-year-old Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve Release 2016 will cost you a whopping $16,221. If you’d want special perks, sign up for their membership programme (an annual membership costs $3,000). Benefits include special bottle pricing, privileged access to 80 lockers (each with it own tasselled key in which you can store up to 15 bottles of whiskey), 10-room nights at The Vagabond Club, access to the Vagabond Club gym and reserved seating at regular Whiskey Club events and experiences. How very posh.
The Whiskey Library is at 39 Syed Alwi Road, Singapore 207630, tel: 6291 6677. Opens 5pm to 2am on Mondays to Sundays.
2. Atlas Bar
Photo: Atlas Bar’s website
Be prepared to be completely blown away by the grandiose Atlas bar. It currently stands at the number eight spot on the World’s 50 Best Bars 2018 list, thanks to its carefully crafted cocktails and opulent interior that boasts art deco designs from the 1920s. The incredibly tall painted ceiling and 15-metre gin tower adds to the jaw-dropping factor. Housed in a gothic-style building everyone fondly describes as Singapore’s “Gotham Building”, the elegant interior is said to be inspired by the skyscrapers of Europe and New York, and is the spot to be if you have friends of exquisite tastes.
Price: A glass of bubbly starts from $22 for their Louis Roederer “Brut Premier” Magnum ($240 for the bottle). But, F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote: “Too much of anything is bad, but too much champagne is just right.” If you would like to heed his advice, check out the bar’s most expensive bottle, the Bruno Paillard “Nec Plus Ultra” Rosé ($550). It’s okay to pamper yourself once in a while. Cocktails are available as well — martinis cost $24, Gin & Tonics cost $19 to $24, and a glass of Spanish Marqués de Tomares Crianza red costs $18 ($90 for a bottle). For something more indulgent, go for their Atlas Collections menu. It features 50,000 bottles of fine wine, over 10,000 bottles of whiskey, as well as two of the world’s most remarkable physical collections of gin and champagne. Prices start from $12 for a glass of Martini Rosso Vermouth to $190,700 (!!!) for a bottle of 1907 Heidsieck & Co. Monopole “Goût Américain” shipwreck champagne.
Atlas Bar is at Parkview Square, 600 North Bridge Rd, Singapore 188778, tel: 6396 4466. Opens 10am to 1am on Mondays to Thursdays, 10am to 2am on Fridays, 3pm to 2am on Saturdays, closed on Sundays.
3. Little Island Brewing Co
Photo: Little Island Brewing Co’s Facebook page
Fancy a pint of craft beer that is brewed on our very shores? It doesn’t get more unique than this. Drop by Changi Village’s Little Island Brewing Co, where you get to try out exquisitely crafted beers made in-house at their microbrewery. This 480-seater space spans over 10,000 square feet, and is stylised in an alfresco setting that overlooks the Straits’ waters. Here, you can unwind and enjoy the scenic view while chatting with friends. What’s more, you can satisfy your bartender fantasies with their self-pouring brewery section that allows you to control the amount you want to consume. Just perfect when one pint’s too little, and two’s too much. Tip: Make sure you tilt the glass as you’re pouring, or you’re just gonna end up with a whole lot of foam and very little booze. What fun!
Price: To pour the beers yourself, purchase an RFID (radio-frequency identification) card from their cashiers and you’re good to go (it costs $2, which is a refundable deposit). The initial top-up is $10 and subsequent top-ups are in multiples of $5. The bill is charged according to the amount you drink. Draft beers starts from $2.20 for 100ml of Light Ale to $140 for their 4L tower of 19th Nervous Breakdown (oaked stock ale). Their beverage menu also includes draft wines (from $5 for 100ml to $10 for 200ml), cocktails ($6 or $8 for 100ml of Gin & Tonic and margarita respectively), mocktails (a passionfruit cooler is $2.50 for 100ml) and soda (they currently offer only an apple spritzer that’s $1.50 for 100ml). Food options are available as well. Their snack menu (from 3pm to 10.30pm) includes bite-sized delights like Crispy Salmon Skin ($8) and Wagyu Beef Brisket ($18).
Little Island Brewing Co is at #01-01/02, 6 Changi Village Road, Singapore 509907, tel: 6543 9100. Opens 12pm to 11pm on Mondays to Thursdays, 12pm to 12am on Fridays, 11am to 12am on Saturdays and 11am to 11pm on Sundays.
4. The Horse’s Mouth
Photo: The Horse’s Mouth
Established in October 2012, its secretive location and dim-lighting is what makes The Horse’s Mouth a quaint speakeasy that is perfect for a mysterious rendezvous. How secret is it? Well it’s stowed away at the basement of Forum, accessible only through a dark stairway — and that’s only if you ask Uma Uma Ramen’s staff where it is. Inspired by contemporary Japanese zen designs with dark teak furniture, rattan seating and Shoji-inspired light fixtures, this Izakaya bar prides itself on treasuring the works of all-things-creative and treats every cocktail on their menu as a piece of art. Gather your posse and watch the pros whip up something artistically remarkable.
Price: Cocktails are all priced at $25, and they’re as enigmatic as the location itself — they do not explicitly show the contents of their concoction online. Unique names like Cocky Locky and Dill with Guild are all you have to go with, so just dive in and take a risk. Other booze includes gin ($20 for a glass of Beefeater 24), tequila ($18 for a glass of Espolon Blanco), scotch ($20 for a glass of Angel’s Nectar) and bourbon ($18 for a glass of Bulleit), to name a few. If you want some light bites to go with your drink, their Japanese food menu includes sashimi ($25 to $98 for daily and premium upgrade respectively) and fried pork belly strips with nori ($8).
The Horse’s Mouth is at #B1-39 Forum the Shopping Mall, 583 Orchard Road, Singapore 238884, tel: 8188 0900. Opens 6pm to 12am on Mondays to Thursdays, 6pm to 1am on Fridays and Saturdays, closed on Sundays.
5. The Writing Club
Photo: The Writing Club
Established by couple Tan Soo San and Sherin Ong, The Writing Club was launched because Soo San’s extensive collection of prized vintage whiskeys from distilleries and liquor stores around the world was overcrowding the couple’s apartment. Their solution: Turning his hobby into a business, by giving everyone an opportunity to taste and indulge in his “liquid gold” collection. This whiskey-focused bar boasts an upscale, masculine and sophisticated interior that’s complete with plush leather sofas, gold accents and woody furniture — just like an old-world gentlemen’s club. Very chic.
Price: Cocktails start from $24 for a glass of Gin & Tonic, whereas their bespoke drinks (customisable according to your preferences) will cost you $30 per glass. Their signature drinks, such as The Writing Club Old Fashioned and Signature Negroni (both priced at $28 each), come highly recommended by regulars. Of course, this being a whiskey-driven bar, you wouldn’t go wrong with any of its selection of 500 whiskeys. Whiskeys come in two types of pour, either half ($16 for 20ml) or full ($20 for 45ml). From bottles like Williamson 2005 and Cadenhead Linkwood 28 years to Speyside Region 1973, whiskey aficionados, you’re in for a treat.
The Writing Club is at Palais Renaissance, #02-10, 390 Orchard Road, Singapore 238871, tel: 9362 8626. Opens 12pm to 12am on Tuesdays to Thursdays, 1pm to 12am on Fridays and Saturdays, 12pm to 10pm on Sundays and Mondays.
6. Gibson Bar
Photo: Gibson Bar’s website
From their gold-accented interior to the antique ceiling, it’s all about an interesting blend of old-meets-new at Gibson Bar. Tucked away at the second floor of a shophouse at Bukit Pasoh Road, this cocktail haven’s old-school setting is contrasted with its contemporary menu that’s bursting with Asian flavours. Their goal is to reflect Singapore’s cultural melting pot while being universally inclusive, so their concoctions comprise a mix of local and international ingredients discovered from their travels around Asia. An unpretentious spot, here’s where you can have some laid-back fun without worrying about appearances.
Price: From classics (like The Gibson and Gibson Whiskey Sour) to Japanese-inspired drinks (a Sake-tini or Banana Ume, anyone?) to tipples with a touch of South-East Asia (Wild Nectar, Chestnut Blazer and Buddha’s Mule are a few of our faves), cocktails are priced at $23 per glass. If you’re going in a large group of eight to 12 people, go for their Punch Bowls ($170) that comes in four different flavours. Also, if you’re down for a snack, oyster happy hour starts from 6pm to 8pm daily, but head there on Tuesdays where it goes on all-night long (prices vary on day-to-day basis). Not a fan of this delicacy? Satiate your tummy with bite-sized nibbles, like their Bikini Sandwich ($17) or Crispy Golden Beetroot ($15).
Gibson Bar is on the 2nd Floor, 20 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore 089834, tel: 9114 8385. Opens 6pm to 1am on Mondays to Thursdays, 6pm to 2am on Fridays and Saturdays, closed on Sundays.
7. Cook & Brew
Photo: Cook & Brew’s website
Perched at level 33 of The Westin hotel, this hotel gastropub impresses with its amazing view of the Marina Bay. Not only that, its suave, leathery interior resembles an updated, modernised version of a British pub (more classy, less gritty) and its elegant dark wood fixtures, black marble bar-top and live band every Friday evening (from 6pm onwards) is also the reason why we think you should head over there, stat.
Price: Beer lovers, check out some of their draught offerings — such as the Pilsner Urquell ($11 and $14 for half and full pint respectively) and Kirin Ichiban ($11 for half a pint, and $13 for a full pint) — as well as bottled beers that start from $12 for a San Miguel. Not a fan of fermented malt? Their cocktails are all priced at $18. Two of their signature cocktails, the Ruby Duchess (a mix of strawberry and ginger with vodka) and Choconana (chocolate puree and banana with Bailey’s and vodka) sound absolutely divine. Classics like the Cosmopolitan (Sex and the City fans, you know what we’re talking about) and the Mojito are available as well. If you’re feeling peckish, nibble on some of their pad thai fries ($16) or the ‘Yukhoe’ korean styled beef tartar ($19).
Cook & Brew is on Level 33 of The Westin, 12 Marina View Asia Square Tower 2, Singapore 018961, tel: 6922 6948. Opens daily from 11am to 11.45pm (till 12.45am for Friday), closed on Sundays.
8. Cin Cin
Photo: Cin Cin
With its sleek gold furnishing and cool blue leathery seats, this retro den is the place to be for gin lovers, or if you simply want to soak in a vibe of refined, old-school glamour. Its name, Cin Cin, was derived from the sound of clinking made by glasses during festivities — so head on over there with your buddies and do some cheering of your own. Apart from its elegant setting, this bar offers up to 100 different labels of gin and a curated range of tonic, which means you have 500 ways to create your very own martinis and G&Ts. Impressive.
Price: Cocktails start from $18 for their Earlgroni, which has a satisfyingly bitter taste with tinge of citrus sweetness, and Poppy War, which boasts sweet notes of Poppy and citrus. Don’t forget to give their customisable martinis a go, where you get to choose your favourite gin label as a base. The Hayman’s London Dry ($18) or Monkey 47 ($26) are our poisons of choice. Then pick one out of three types of vermouth, have them shaken or stirred by the nifty bartender (who might do a few more tricks on request), who will then topped the drink off with optional bitters and a garnish. Too mediocre for you? Drink all you want with their three-hour long gin buffet ($68).
Cin Cin is on Level 1 of Oasia Hotel Downtown, 100 Peck Seah Street, Singapore 079333, tel: 6385 2604. Opens 5pm to 12am on Mondays to Wednesdays, 5pm to 1am on Thursdays to Saturdays, closed on Sundays.