If the namesake led to an inkling about an Edward Hopper painting from the 20th century, you’re most certainly quite the literate. But for those of you who’re just looking for a new watering hole, Night Hawk ought to sort your evening out just as fine. Found around a meandering bend connecting Tras Street and Tanjong Pagar, this 22-seater hole-in-a-wall serves up innovative tipples with a side of urban alienation.
Staying true to the painting, the interiors scream time capsule of the 40s to 70’s retro metropolitan vibe where past, present and future intersect. A quick gander at the iconic sunken booths in the far back reveals a plush lounge for those who prefer a little privacy. But all eyes on the analogue Flipboard flickering eclectic messages that make for great Instagrammable moments.
Dreamed up by Peter Chua – someone who is no stranger to the industry and also co-owns Junior the Pocket Bar and Nemesis – the menu showcases modern and classic techniques with thoughtful extraction methods leaning toward reducing wastage. Once you’ve settled in, you’re handed a mid-century matchbook that entails a QR menu and a mint for freshening purposes.
Of course, the signature cocktail, Night Hawks ($25), pays homage to Hopper's iconic painting of “Nighthawks”. A play on juxtaposing temperatures sees a cold mix of coffee infused with rum, vodka and amaro generously layered with the warmth and depth of the coconut and gula melaka foam. “This tastes just like if an Espresso Martini and an Irish Coffee had a baby,” said my dining companion with a wide grin – which will be a statement that many will agree with.
With Midori (Japanese melon liquor) showing signs of yet another comeuppance, the team re-imagines the iconic Midori sour with the Gamma-Ray Holiday ($25). This familiar juice in diner sitch is gin-based and laced with citrus and pineapple notes followed by a pleasantly mild bitter finish from – you may not want to find out – bitter gourd. Though, it also strangely triggers distant memories of a certain childhood lime-flavoured ice cream.
Other highlights include the Kick Artist Fix ($25) where the ode to a classic Manhattan showcases flavours of American diner maple pancakes and a spice-forward Greenhouse Brew ($25) that is a vibrant smoky take on a classic Bloody Mary. For the peckish, there is a range of nibbles such as paprika-spiked grilled baby corn ($12), unctuous loaded fries with beef chilli ($15) and comforting sriracha mac and cheese ($14).
What goes behind the complexities of Night Hawk is best left in the hands of the professionals behind the bar. But for the curious, ask and you shall receive, as easter eggs are lying around for you to uncover that may just turn good evenings into great. Paired with tasty tipples, the idea of a solid night out isn’t all rocket science and trust that Night Hawk knows.