Bar crawl: Orchard

Skip the infamous Four Floors and take your liver on a spin ’round these cocktail bars instead
By Iliyas Ong |
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Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Manhattan Bar

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Begin your night at this swish lounge, in Regent Singapore, that puts most other hotel bars to shame. Top spot on this year’s Asia’s 50 Best Bars list notwithstanding, Manhattan has made a name for itself for its unflinching recipe: take cult and craft American spirits, mix with a do-it-yourself ethic that has seen bartenders barrel-age liquors and infusions on the premises, and garnish with a gorgeous leather-bound and marble-lined space.

Order the namesake cocktail ($25), which is one of head bartender Philip Bischoff’s signatures – he uses Michter’s US1 Straight Rye whiskey, housemade cherry brandy, vermouth and Angostura bitters. There on a Sunday? Its cocktail brunch ($150) lays out a spread of classic New York nosh and an unlimited supply of libation. 

Bars and pubs

The Writing Club

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Consider yourself the next Hemingway or Faulkner? Then make your way to The Writing Club, a gentlemen’s club-esque whisky bar. Knock back drams of rare whiskies from its 500-bottle-strong collection, including single-malts from independent bottler Hunter Laing’s First Editions Authors’ Series, which celebrates the likes of Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens. Dreaming up your next bestseller will be easy in the bar’s plush leather sofas, with a glass of liquid inspiration in hand, of course. After all, even the literary greats wrote drunk – just be sure to leave the editing for another day. 

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Bars and pubs

Horse's Mouth

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Step behind the curtain next to the entrance of Uma Uma Ramen and follow the staircase down into The Horse’s Mouth. The colourful display of origami flowers and hanging paper lanterns should clue you into the fact that you’ve entered a Japanese cocktail bar. And the menu will quash any remaining doubts – the cocktails showcase various Nihon ingredients and sake labels you won’t find anywhere else on the island. Once you’ve had your share of revelry, exit via the secret door and you’ll find yourself back on Orchard Road for easy access to your next stop.

Bars and pubs

The Other Room

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A boundary-pushing speakeasy is probably the last thing you’d expect to find in a straight-laced hotel like the Marriott, but behind a door that easily blends into the rest of the wall lies The Other Room. Bartending extraordinaire Dario Knox doesn’t believe in labels, so don’t expect to find a bottle of your favourite spirit here. Instead, Knox ages and finishes everything in various casks. Order a flight of whisky, rum, gin or whatever your choice of poison may be and select the one you like best. He’ll then whip up a cocktail with that spirit, tailor-made just for you.

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Bars and pubs

Izakaya Tamako

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By now, your head’s spinning and your belly’s aching for some grub. So stumble into Concorde Hotel and muster up the energy to find this boisterous hole-in-the-wall. Izakaya Tamako is a cosy – read: tiny – Japanese bar that’s big on hospitality. The hostess typically plies you with Sapporo, sake, soju or makgeolli, while the yakitori man is glad to play drinking games with you while flipping skewers on the grill. (Head’s up: you’ll lose.)

Three late-night supper haunts in Orchard

Restaurants

Gyoza no Ohsho

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At this Japanese diner, huddle over communal tables and rub shoulders with fellow boozed-up patrons as you tuck into stick-to-your-ribs dishes. Go for the dinner set ($18) if you’re starving: it comes with fried rice, scrambled eggs, teppanyaki pork liver and the stall’s signature gyozas. 

Restaurants, Vietnamese

Thiên Long Vietnamese Food

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Amid the risque nightclubs in Orchard Tower sits Thiên Long, a quaint, frills-free Vietnamese eatery. Its signature is the noodle salad with stir-fried beef ($6), but an assortment of pho and small bites should be enough to pad your tummy for tomorrow’s hangover.

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Restaurants, Asian

Spize

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No list of supper haunts in town will be complete without this institution. There’s every dish you can imagine on the menu that reads like a prescription for a heart attack: from maggi goreng pattaya ($7.50) to burgers and fries ($8.90) to Sriracha- and honey-glazed chicken wings ($10.90). To really put your arteries under attack, order the Mama Mia Murtabak ($12): it oozes an unusual combination of keema, mushroom and cheese. 

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