Every six months, Junior switches things up with a different cocktail concept. Its first was Noma, a showcase of mezcal and tequila and now it's shaken things up once more to bring you Magnolia. Named after the flower native to southern USA, the concept showcases New Orleans' cocktail culture, Creole cuisine and the distinctive tunes of the region. Magnolia celebrates this institution with cocktails like the Pimm's cup ($25), made with St George dry rye gin, champagne and citrus fermented blood orange tea, the Grasshopper ($25), a specialty of New Orlean's second-oldest restaurant, Tujague, which uses crème de menthe and crème de cacao to make a creamy treat that's a boozy version of an After Eight in cocktail and the truffled sazerac ($25), its take on the city's official cocktail that blends Pierre Ferrand Chestnut Barrel brandy and Willett three-year rye.
Pay a visit to the eighth seat on the Asia's 50 Best Bars list, a hidden second-floor sanctum on bustling Amoy Street that's dedicated to all things regional. Let the knowledgeable bar team led by Vijay Mudaliar educate you on spirits from Thailand, the Phillippines, India and beyond, paired with foraged ingredients to give you a taste of Southeast Asia in a cocktail. If you ask nicely, they'll lead you upstairs to see where they distill their house gins in flavours like matcha and coffee.
On the second level of Regent Singapore sits a portal to 19th-century New York City, where ladies are decorated in pearls and gentlemen dressed to the nines. Under lowered lights, large leather armchairs and sofas gather around tables to offer enough privacy for a clandestine rendezvous. The bar, where you’ll find manager Philip Bischoff, rests on a raised platform overlooking the night’s debauchery from the back of the room. Understanding the art of mixing up a drink begins with a visit to Manhattan’s rickhouse. It holds 106 American oak barrels, all ageing spirits, bitters and cocktails. In the Ingredients Room opposite the rickhouse, bell jars of herbs, spices, fruits and roots in various stages of drying, pickling and brining line the shelves – all used in their range of craft cocktails that trace New York's history through the years.
This grand art deco-inspired bar – complete with magnificent champagne-hued tapestries, intricate gold and bronze balconies and, of course, a massive gin tower standing imposingly over the space – is a definite must-visit. It houses the world's largest collection of gins, with over 1,000 bottles on its shelves, and an impressive champagne cellar to boot. The cocktails are just an impressive, get the Atlas Martini ($24), a spine-tingling blend of gin, Ambrato vermouth, orange bitters, champagne vinegar and pomelo or one of its other expertly crafted concoctions.
Warning: this basement bar hidden along a back alley at the junction of Club Street and Ann Siang Hill is terribly hard to find but the effort is well worth it. Look out for the illegible scrawlings above the door and descend into the lair lit by a cloud of bulbs above the bar. Operation Dagger is a hotbed of creativity and cocktail craftsmanship, try ts range of house-fermented wines or pick a cocktail from its ever-changing menu that still has the sense to keep firm faves like the Hot + Cold ($25).
This is hands down, every oenophiles' most beloved shrine to natural wines. And you know it’s legit because it’s always buzzing with industry folks. There’s no catalogue at this gastrobar – its 150-or-so labels (from $58) are all on display and constantly changing. If it’s an education you’re after, swing by every day (well, Tuesdays to Saturdays), because the wines-by-the-glass (one white and one red, from $12) change daily. Plus, the grub is excellent too.
Gibson feels like the old friend you visit when a night out calls for good conversation. It’s a disarming charm that worms its way into the snacks and cocktails. The namesake Gibson ($23) is a boozy creation served with three bite-sized portions of onion, pickle and quail’s egg – all cured in-house. Its recently updated menu houses Southeast Asian and Japanese inspired creations alongside a series of non-alcoholic beverages for those attempting dry July.
Long before craft joints were sprouting up all over the city, there was Smith Street Taps, one of the OGs of Singapore's beer scene housed in a hawker centre, no less. The stall offers 12 rotating international and local craft beers on tap, priced from an unbeatable $8 a pint. It's also a couple of steps away from The Good Beer Company that offers craft beers and sake by the bottle for the discerning kopitiam goer.
The entrance to this sexy saloon is hidden behind an unmarked door that blends into the surroundings of Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel. Press the buzzer and a hostess should lead you a den that offers thoughtful cocktail creations prepared by Dario Knox. There are no labels on the bottles here. That’s because each liquor – rum, whisky, moonshine, what-have-you – and its many expressions have been aged and finished in casks by Knox himself.
This monochromatic bar is your best bet if you’re looking for a crash course on wine. Praelum stocks about 350 labels in its walk-in cellar that you can order in tasting pours and half-portions. Or leave it to the knowledgeable somm, Gerald Lu, to recommend reds, whites, rosés, dessert and sparkling wines – an even mix of both classic and modern producers, refreshed every week – to suit your fancy.
This craft cocktail bar once held the eighth spot on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list but has since fallen out of favour, ranking at 41 in 2018. It’s hard to keep up with fickle consumers, but the complete refresh is exactly what the bar needed to return to its former glory. It still focuses on doing classics with a twist. There’s the Singapore Sling ($23) made with the usual Beefeater gin, pineapple and Heering Cherry Liqueur but given a smoky, tangy edge with lapsang souchong tea and rhubarb, the Jungle Bird ($23), Kuala Lumpur’s calling card of Phraya rum, lemongrass, clarified granny smith apple juice, Campari and lime and other well-loved tipples.
This legendary import from New York City is always crazy packed – even if the empty psychic booth lit by a neon sign doesn't give any indication of the madness that lies within. Jostle through the crowd of diehard regulars and industry types who jockey for the attentions of the chef-coat–clad barkeeps. There's more peace at the back of the room where you can enjoy plates from its mordern American menu and a boozy beverage of choice.
This gorgeously hip bar is worth a visit just for its jungle of overhanging bottles and quirky gummy bear menu alone. You're given a pack of them, each flavoured like the cocktail they correspond to as a teaser of what's to come. The red one represents Lust ($24), a smooth champagne cocktail of peach, tonka bean and vanilla. And if you dare, the purple gummy bear and accompanying cocktail, Supercar ($24) mixes white wine and gin with notes of citrus, butter and petrol...
Remember the cool kid at school who was indifferent to instruction but kept scoring top marks? That’s 28 HongKong Street. Calling the ground floor of an old shophouse home, it's one of Singapore's OG cocktail bars – and is still going strong despite its lack of marketing and social media presence. Instead it relies on a seamless blend of urban swag and American-styled libations: expect only hip-hop classics to cascade from those speakers and cocktails named after rappers like Fernet About Dre ($23), The Real Slim Shandy ($23) and Yeesuze ($23).
Just like how The Other Room redefined speakeasies in Singapore, The Other Roof is out to raise the bar of rooftop bars. Take the lift up the the top of Ann Siang House and be greeted by the massive space that seats 75 (or even 150 upon request) – a far cry from The Other Room's tiny space. Lounge al fresco while sipping on tea-infused spirits and snacking on light but tasty bites. Blending tea time with cocktail o'clock, the bar offers drinks like Stairway to Heaven ($22), a love-it-or-hate-it concoction of pineapple, coriander, celery and vanity tea rum, or La Boheme ($22), a refreshing blend of créme de cassis, bubbly and black currant soul tea gin. In true Other Room fashion, there are also tasting flights that showcase the tea-infused spirits in all their glory. Try The Plantation XO Flight ($48), where Plantation rum is finished with herbal tisane, blends and black tea as you nibble on a pesto and truffle bikini ($19) or Nduja bruschetta ($15).
Skinny's is as divey as it gets. Its pool table out front, graffiti-laced walls, private karaoke room and stiff AF drinks are all a part of its charm. The effortlessly cool bar is where all the industry folks hang out after hours. Its Fast and Cheap menu has drinks like the Americano and Paloma priced at $15 while the Make it Nice option allows more discerning drinkers to upgrade other classics ($18) with artisanal spirits at just a $3 top-up.
Brightly lit with a minimalist aesthetic, Fancy is not your usual den shrouded in shrouded leather and mahogany. The relaxed vibe and affable service from Sin Kim Shin and Jayden Ong make this bar approachable even for those new to drinking. The drinks menu named Pollen features 12 cocktails named after a flower. Start with the Rose ($22), a simple blend of peach and floral gin spiked with ginger to tingle the tongue. Or try the Hops ($22), a take on a pisco sour shaken with hops-infused mezcal, dill, lemon and egg white ’til silky smooth.
Come for the Happy Hour negroni, stay for the view and the hearty Italian food – we're looking at you, veal meatballs. Jigger and Pony, one of Singapore's main bar groups, teams up with chef David Tang, formerly of Cut by Wolfgang Puck in New York, to present modern Italian fare and drinks that hits the spot. Happy hour from 5pm to 7.30pm is the best time to visit. There are frosés at $12, spritzes for $13 and specialty cocktails going at $15 – a real steal for those looking for a sundowner poised against an unbeatable backdrop.
Anti:dote is what you get when you cross a utilitarian hotel bar with the whimsical imaginations of husband and wife team, Tryson Quek and Bannie Kang. Kang helms the bar, offering a solid menu of nine mixed drinks of reinvented classics alongside an impressive list of spirits available in 45ml or 60ml pours. The Rabbit Hole ($23) is a refreshing one to start with – a mix of carrot juice spiked with Hendrick's Gin, Mancino Bianco and elderflower liqueur – best paired with chicken liver parfait from Quek's progressive European-meets-Asian tapas menu.
In skyscraper-dense Singapore, rooftop bars are no rarity. But when one's perched on the Old Supreme Court Building, where the National Gallery currently stands, you know it's pretty special. Local head bartender, Yugnes Susela, previously of Tippling Club, enchants with cocktail chemistry that fuses Asian flavours with riffs on the classics. Perhaps its the setting, but the drinks have an aesthetic appeal too to compete with the unbeatable view and collection of art.
The Flagship proudly proclaims itself the 'home of the Old Fashioned'. And with 200 labels of whisky behind the bar, you know it takes its tagline to heart. But instead of overwhelming diners with an impossible range of Old Fashioned variations, there are just four to choose from. There’s the Classic Old Fashioned, Wine of the South, Apple Tree and Sherry Cask Old Fashioned, all retailing at $22. But you're not feeling what's on the menu, the bartender can mix you something from the whiskies, gins or rums available on the shelf.
There are few bars as intensely personal as Shin Gi Tai. A cocktail specialist co-owned by Anthony Zhong (ex-Jigger & Pony), the operation is a one-man-show on most nights. The mood is chatty and convivial. Share your preferred spirits and flavour profiles, and Zhong can whip up something to suit. There are an impressive 180 off-the-menu options in his repertoire. (Hint: you can’t go wrong with his signature Negroni, equal parts gin, sweet vermouth and Campari.) Otherwise, there’s a list of updated classics to order from. Standouts include the osmanthus gimlet – a bright floral mix of Gordon’s Gin, osmanthus syrup and lime – and Granny’s Old Drink: Zhong’s take on an Old Fashioned, made with cognac and Grand Marnier instead of bourbon and an orange twist.
For a refined wine and whisky experience, La Terre doesn't disappoint. But we warned, it's going to cost you. Japanese sommelier Daisuke Kawai – formerly from two-Michelin-starred Les Amis – recommends only the best bottles to pair with your meal. And that's no easy task given that the wine list has thousands of bottles of champagnes, red and whites and whiskies. Depending on what you order, prices can hit the thousands too, with a 1999 bottle of Henri Jayer Vosne-Romanee Cros Parantoux from Burgundy, a headline-grabbing hot favourite at wine auctions, topping the price list at $23,006.
With over 600 labels and 3000 bottles of wine in its leather-bound tome of a menu, Ma Cuisine has cemented itself as a gastro wine bar for the serious connoisseurs. That's not to say that only the stuffy Bordeaux sipping elite are welcomed here – the restaurant's young owners Anthony Charmetant and Mathieu Escoffier want to share their passion for wine with beginners and experts alike, all within a casual setting that also serves homey French food. Sample wines such as a La Vie On Y Est Domaine Gramenon 2016 ($98) from Rhone, a Chardonnay Champ Perrier Domaine Tessier 2014 ($88) from Bourgogne and a Pinot Noir Domaine Duroche 2014 ($118) from Gevrey Chambertin. The wines are the focus here, but Escoffier, who used to cook in the kitchen of Saint Pierre, recommends traditional dishes like homemade terrine ($27) and lamb shoulder with root vegetables (market price) to complete the experience.
No prizes for guessing on which floor this bar and restaurant is perched. Billed as the world’s highest microbrewery, Level33 gloriously overlooks the Marina Bay, and, thanks to the decor and service, is perhaps the most sophisticated place to quaff a locally brewed beer. Five brews are permanently on the menu: an IPA, stout, wheat beer, house porter and blonde lager. They bear classic flavour profiles – the brewery claims to use ‘authentic recipes and brewing methods’ – so don’t expect funky American-style notes here.
The OG of local rooftop bars might be – literally – overshadowed by younger upstarts on taller buildings, but it hasn't yet lost its place on our list of watering holes for a fun night out. The beer is cold, the vibe casual, and the food now deserves special mention, thanks to Bjorn Shen. The chef-owner of Artichoke brings his 'dude food' leanings to Loof. We're talking over-the-top and greasy-in-a-good-way dishes that you wish you could save in the fridge for when the munchies hit all paired with cheeky locally inspired cocktails.
Located on the quiet second floor of the Rendezvous Hotel, the bar’s out-of-the-way surrounds should suit the crowd-averse malt sipper. It has over 1,500 whiskies including 1863 (yes) to 2000 vintages. The labels are collected from all over the world, and the history on show can definitely be intimidating for budding connoisseurs – the book-like menu certainly doesn’t help much, either. But once you take a seat – either at the bar or on one of the chesterfield couches – the friendly staff and knowledgeable service unfurl a bit of the perceived stuffiness of the space.
These warriors are laying waste to tired ideas of what a great taproom should be, with a minimalist space that looks and smells like a modernist log cabin, and rare brews from throughout Europe and North America. This 23-tap bar on gentrified Tyrwhitt Road gets its name from the Singapore Chinese Druggists Association, which it shares the building with. Beer geeks have an advanced selection of imperial stouts, IPAs and sour beers by the likes of Mikkeller, To Øl and Prairie Artisan Ales to imbibe from $6.
This dapper lounge with accents of teak and British racing green is a handsome den that still retains a relaxed, tropical resort vibe. With private booths and plenty of wicker sofas, it's easy to spend the entire night here and lose track of time. Embark on a journey through Singapore’s history with drinks inspired by five key districts on the island: Orchard, Chinatown, Little India, Boat Quay and Marina Bay, with each section using different ingredients to tell the story of the place. Orchard – a spot once covered with farms and spice gardens before its current life as Singapore’s glitzy shopping belt – features fresh and fruity drinks such as Miss Joaquim ($23), a light and refreshing concoction of orchid, rambutan, pomegranate, sherry and vodka that’s an easy one to start the night.
At this second-storey den along hip and happening Haji Lane, you're expected to pull up a seat at the bar and share your life story. From there, the expert bar team led by David Koh creates a bespoke cocktail ($20-25) that captures the mood of your tale with its range of elixirs, mixers and house-made syrups. Koh keeps the programming organic and fluid by procuring interesting ingredients and inspirations like Kyoho grapes and kaya toast for the surprise drinks.
Don’t be fooled by its size – this intimate bar houses fridges full of shochu, umeshu and jizake (artisanal sake) from boutique breweries in Japan. None of the labels stocked here are run-of-the-mill. Orihara carries many seasonal, rare and onetime productions among its 200-strong bottles. They range from $60 to $2,000 for dine-in and $35 to $1,500 for retail. Though you can’t order sake by the glass, Orihara does offer tasting flights ($30). The best way to imbibe is to get a staff to introduce the sake of the day, which changes by the season, or have them recommend you one to suit your palate: how dry, floral or strong you like your rice wine.
Embark on a journey through Singapore's history through the drinks at Nutmeg and Clove. Asian flavours play a dominant part of the flavour profiles here, with Singaporean twists using regional herbs, fruits and spices on classic cocktails. Order a standard Milk Punch with milk, cream, sugar and rum or splash out on the King & Queen, which mixes rum and clarified milk with durian, mangosteen, coffee and pandan to take the standard punch to a new level.
Every evening, Free the Robot's coffee and sandwiches make way for Bitters & Love's bespoke cocktails and singalong sessions to its killer playlist. Order the famed Kaya Toast cocktail ($26), complete with a slice of bread dolloped with kaya. It joins other locally inspired cocktails on the menu including the Nonya Confessions and head bartender Naz Arjuna's bespoke creations.
Run by Daiki Kanetaka, who's trained under Bar High Five's legendary Hidetsugu Ueno, D.Bespoke puts everything we love about Japanese precision and eye for detail into a bar. The 28-seater shophouse speakeasy hides behind a lifestyle retail front selling the bar’s glassware and leather products. Inside, Kanetaka puts his 16 years of experience to work and you're expected to trust him entirely – guests aren't told how much the food or drinks cost but there's a minimum spend of $60 per person so you're in for a surprise and a treat.
This dark minimalist space is no pretentious cocktail den. Tess Bar & Kitchen doesn't take itself too seriously. The décor features a couple of offbeat details like dog-shaped cushions and plays a fun track of ’90s dance music. Whether you're after serious cocktails like the super Godfather ($22) or less fussy beers and wines, Tess has you covered.
Before it became a part of the grand JW Marriott Singapore, this former military court was where military defaulters and troublemakers used to stand 50 years or so ago. It's now been transformed into a 55-seater specialty cocktail bar helmed by bartender June Baek, offering a heritage-inspired drinks menu featuring barrel-aged classics and homemade infusions.
Leering at you from the street with its neon pink-lit lobby is three-storey dining and drinking complex Sum Yi Tai. It's Hong Kong triad décor, complete with a Chinese dragon in mid-dance dares you to enter. Sandy, Faye, Leon and their fellow belters fill the air with a retro vibe, though the drinks at the rooftop bar are anything but. Cocktails like the Chinese Mojito ($21) and Date a Gangster ($21) incorporate Chinese TCM ingredients like chrysanthemum and red dates with potent alcohols to form beautifully complex drinks.
Once a shophouse that used to offer manicures by day and drinks by night – hence its name that highlights the dual personalities of the space – Jekyll & Hyde is now all about the drinks. The quiet bar offers bespoke cocktails as well as a short list of signatures its grown over the years. Most interestingly, look out for Mr Bean ($23), a dou hua inspired cocktail with butterscotch liqeuer, kaya, frangelico and vodka.
Looking for the best martinis in town? Then head towards the bar that’s named after the tipple: Martini Bar. A firm favourite in the city’s vibrant bar scene, the cocktail joint at the Grand Hyatt Singapore is one of the city's first. You might appreciate its creative concoctions such as gummy bear, apple truffle and blueberry citrus, but we prefer to stick with the tried and true cucumber martini whenever we find ourselves here. 'Mezzatime' happens from 5pm to 9pm daily and is the best time to visit. During these four hours, all martinis, handcrafted gin and tonics, wines and house pours are priced at $14 per glass.
Singapore is the first international outpost for Wolfgang Puck's modern Cali-fusion restaurant and he couldn't have picked a better spot. Perched at the top of Marina Bay Sands, the breezy bar has panoramic views, dim lighting and a friendly bar team that makes you feel right at home. In true American fashion, the cocktails like the Run Like Hell ($26), a light and refreshing tipple of Botanist gin, elderflower, lavender, come in goblets the size of your face.
Opened by three Brits aching for a taste of home, Oxwell and Co transports diners to the UK with its English-style decor and nosh. Grab a quick drink by the bar on the first level, settle down for a rustic dinner on the second, or find a quiet corner on the third-floor Apothecary to sip on a cocktail. And you can’t leave and roll down the street without sipping on some Gin and Chronic ($15), a subtly spiced version of the classic tipple.
Before dismissing Uma Uma Ramen as yet another Japanese noodle house, take a closer look at the other door by the entrance. It snakes down into The Horse’s Mouth, a sleek basement bar lit by boxy paper lanterns and peppered with quirky objets d’art, such as a hanging origami display. The concoctions are just as classy and relatively spirit-forward, a style that stems from the bar staff’s training in Japanese techniques. Most drinks are crafted to showcase various Nihon ingredients and, of course, sake exclusive to The Horse’s Mouth. This isn’t to say that accountant-turned-bar manager Guo Jun Guang doesn’t get to flex his creative muscles: he even uses wagyu beef trimmings from Kaiseki Yoshiyuki next door to fatwash cocktails. Uma Uma Ramen also contributes bowls of ramen to the food menu, which offers decent dinner options.
Named after St Regis founded John Jacob Astor IV, the swish bar’s polished red leather seats, wooden finishings and artwork from Picasso’s Toros series set the stage for a sophisticated, after-work tipple – choose from over 50 cocktails including their daredevil-suited signature Chili Padi Mary (a Bloody Mary spiked with chinese ginger, lemon grass and blazing-hot chillies), vintage champagnes, wines and spirits.
The curtains are drawn and the scene is set. Lanterns cast a dim red glow over the bar as you settle into your seat, waiting for the show to begin. Without missing a beat, the waiter descends upon the table with bottles of sake, each more beautiful in taste than the last to keep you enthralled throughout the evening. Like the Japanese art of Kabuki, which combines dance and drama, Kabuke combines sake and bar bites in an accessible way. With tasting flights and detailed notes on each sake available, this is the place to learn about the spirit sans any pretense.
Yet another second-floor shophouse unit on Amoy Street, this watering hole stocks more craft beers, spirits beyond Spiffy’s already extensive selection of gin and tonic waters, and a barrel-aged cocktail programme you can buy and enjoy at the tavern-like establishment. In the daytime, the bar is take over by Dapper Coffee operations if you'd rather trade alcohol for caffeine.
Okay, okay, Going Om is more of a live music joint than a bar but we love the vibe here so much, we had to include it. It has a pool of Ed Sheeran wannabes that fill the air with their acoustic renditions of Top 40 hits. Between Tuesday and Sunday nights, settle yourself at alfresco café – or even sit by the side of the road – and be accompanied by street performers as they belt out tunes.
Hidden in plain sight, The Secret Mermaid is the alter ego of Shinkansen, a design-your-own salad bar in the CBD. The shared space, outfitted with black grilles and brass piping, morphs into a hole-in-the-wall cocktail bar after five in the evening. Bottles of gin, rum, tequila, vodka and whisky occupy every nook and cranny in this miniscule hideout, and the bar also has one of the largest collections of American craft spirits.
With over 100 labels of gin sitting slick behind its counter, have a martini or gin and tonic your way at Cin Cin. Some recommended gins to try include the Del Gin Professore Madame ($17 glass, $200 bottle), The Corsair Steampunk ($22 glass, $300 bottle) and the Sipsmith VJOP (Very Junipery Over Proof) ($22 glass, $300 bottle). The characters of these gins are so unusual it’ll surprise even the most seasoned of gin drinkers. Sometimes too much choice can be a burden, especially when there are 500 possible ways to construct a simple martini or G&T. Cin Cin simplifies things by having a list of 12 gin cocktails permanently on the menu. The Cin Cin ($20) is its take on the classic martini – made with Bulldog gin, Togarashi Infused Lillet Blanc, grapefruit bitters and garnished with a grapefruit peel – it’s crisp with a subtle note of heat that hits the back of the throat.
Modelled after Gordon Ramsay's casual restaurant of the same name in London, this two-storey restaurant has an excellent bar run by industry veteran William Pravda. Sit at the al fresco area that's best for people watching – there are joggers, curious tourists and shopaholics lugging plenty of bags – and sip on classic and innovative cocktails as well as an array of wines.
No list of Singapore bars would be complete without the legendary Long Bar at Raffles Hotel, the birthplace of the iconic Singapore Sling. Don't expect upscale, chichi vibes despite its five-star surrounds, the bar is littered with peanut shells so the ladies should probably leave the Blahniks at home. There are a couple of variations of the sling ($25) available to try if you must. Here's a toast to history in one of the oldest bars in Singapore.