Combining CHIJMES' striking black and white colonial exterior with raw industrial design, Almost Famous Craft Beer Bar has an aesthetic that’s bound to draw in the Virgil Abloh devotees. Smooth blocks of cement seat people around concrete slab tables and cold metal chairs, while adjustable panel lighting makes sure its pints and bar snacks are always Instagram-ready.
It makes sense then that one of founder Kenny Lee’s partners is Tan Chun Rong, a professional food stylist and photographer. Together with two other associates, the former barista launched Almost Famous to showcase artisans – beer brewers or otherwise – that are, well, almost famous. It has 16 rotating taps on offer and focuses on beers from around the region. This includes the Hangry Donut ($14) from Hong Kong brewery, Heroes, the rare Iwate Kura Oyster Stout ($16) from Sekinoichi Shuzo and Singapore’s very own Brewlander Love Wild IPA ($14).
If you’re new to craft beer, the well-trained staff confidently give recommendations to ease you into things, making the process a lot less intimidating for people who aren’t hopheads. There’s the spicy Zeffer Apple Crumble ($14), a light cider that smells exactly like how you’d imagine , as well as Pilsner Urquell ($10) in a Milko pour of full-foam if the bitterness of beer doesn’t appeal. The food’s not too bad either, with munchies like the Luxurious Fries ($16), double fried fries doused in truffle oil and cheese served with a side of caviar and truffle aioli. Or if you prefer something less extravagant, the Encierro Garlic Wings ($14) and Tom Yum Gyoza ($10) – fried gyozas served with a creamy tom yum sauce – are more exciting than typical pub grub. But for a bar that touts accessibility, there’s only one non-alcoholic drink on the menu: Dr Pepper at $5 a can.
On the flipside, you’re in luck if you’re a beer geek looking for something new. You can find Young Master and Cloudwater’s collaboration brew, Be Water, My Friend ($16), a nuanced blend of hops and citrus that smells of pine mixed with a zing of lemon. A craft beer bar isn’t complete without an array of India Pale Ale and Almost Famous pours them out in spades – think Deschutes’ Fresh Haze IPA, Pasteur Street’s Pomelo IPA and Rocky Ridge’s Peach Invasion IPA – to deliver that hoppy punch.
With more craft beer bars opening in Singapore, Almost Famous is a welcome addition to the burgeoning scene. Its newbie-friendly approach to craft beer in an unintimidating space is a breath of fresh air.