The haunting of this Dempsey Hill house doesn’t come in the form of a Bent-Neck Lady. To food and beverage operators, it’s tormented by something far scarier: a third-floor space that no one knows exists.
Barely a year after opening, ilLido Group’s Room For More is replaced with Maduro, a listening lounge and bar by Peter Ng. The 64-year-old is a first-time F&B owner, former jazz pianist, and real estate broker who spends his days shuttling between Singapore and London. Inspired by the many cigar bars he’s closed deals at in the UK, Maduro is split into two concepts. To the right, a living room jazz parlour that hosts a rotation of Singapore’s top music talent, and to the left, a by-invite-only private den open only to those in the know.
We try our luck to see how easy it is to catch a glimpse of the clandestine space. “Is there a cigar lounge in here?” we quiz the waitress. She defers the question to an older gentleman, who later introduces himself as the owner. Peter, or Mr P, graciously takes us on a tour despite our dressed down khaki-shorts-and messy-bun get-up before finding us a table at the back of the packed bar.
The alluring songstress Alemay Fernandez and the band are in the middle of their first set. They take turns entertaining the crowd with a mix of solos and group numbers – their soulful stylings pushing the night forward as people pour themselves glass after glass. There’s an admission fee of $30 on most Fridays and Saturdays when guest performers take the stage, but the cover charge is redeemable for a house-pour spirit or wine.
The rest of the menu is straight forward. Pick your poison by the bottle – there are whiskies from the accessible Talisker 10 Years ($230) to the ridiculous The Macallan M Black ($18000), and wines like the Château Haut-Pougnan Bordeaux Rouge ($90) as well as a 1952 Château Latour Premier Grand Cru ($2500). Alternatively, opt for a classic cocktail ($22), beer (a Corona will set you back $20) or a pour of other spirits (from $22).
Prices may seem steep, and the variety may leave you wanting, but you’re really here for the music. Settle into an orange couch and let the maestros whisk you away – each note scaring away the ghost of irrelevance that once haunted the space.
Time Out Singapore reviews anonymously and pays for all meals. What the stars mean:
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