Millennial pink wallpaper stamped with leaves, ceiling planters, and tiki cocktails – all the right ingredients to create that island-paradise vibe. Bee’s Island Drinkery is a pop-up bar that acts as a colourful front for The Nomads, a sleek open-kitchen space dishing out Central Asian cuisine. The concepts work in tandem – with the restaurant providing bar snacks to the front and the bar shaking up drinks for the tasting menu at the back – and the idea is to have them feel completely different from each other.
Even within Bee’s Island Drinkery, the disparity is apparent. The food fares better than the cocktails, with generous portions of smoked-kissed leeks ($6), oyster mushrooms ($10) and charred Wagyu rib fingers ($15) dressed in all manner of deliciousness coming straight from the charcoal grill. But given too-low bar stools and narrow countertop that doesn’t shield from possible accidents – it’s hard to successfully navigate each morsel from plate to mouth without fear of drips or runaway nosh.
The drinks are tropical, fruity and diluted. The Tropicana ($18), a combination of Monkey 47 dry gin, yellow watermelon juice and Midori melon liqueur is watered down from the first sip, as is the Beach Please ($18), a twist on a Pina Colada that comes in a massive urn filled to the brim with ice. The most flavourful cocktail comes in the form of the Pineapple Negroni ($18) mixed with pineapple- and coconut-infused rum, Campari and martini rosso –it starts off bitter but more sweetness comes through with each sip.
With $18 tipples and affordable small plates, Bee’s Island Drinkery makes for a cheap and cheerful addition to the Telok Ayer stretch but it still needs to earn its wings to make a buzz.