Think of wine bars and what often first comes to mind first are chic, sexy lounges with towering fridges filled with labels from the Old World. But as more people beyond the debonair become interested in wines, wine bars too have to adapt. It's not just about making spaces less exclusive and more welcoming; it's also about bringing in labels that surprise and delight – regardless of the price point.
Rebel Rebel ticks all the right boxes. The cheery space is filled with portraits of winemakers smiling at you drape yourself over a leather couch or sink deeper into an oversized armchair. The food isn't what you'd come to expect either. Chef Deborah Yeo, who previously cooked at Burnt Ends, swaps out the typical cheeseboard for dishes that excite. Slices of sourdough ($6) come alongside whipped pork fat topped with farro and barley for a touch of sweetness. There's also the Pig's Head Tagliatelle ($28), aggressively spiced with chilli and lime and topped with fried pig's ears – any other wine bar would be mad to serve it with delicate bottles in fear of it overwhelming your palate, but Rebel Rebel is crazy enough.
As with any wine bar, feel free to ask the sommelier for recommendations from its 200-strong list. It offers a variety of bottles below $100, more mid-range options in the $200 bracket as well as 'unicorn' wines prized for their rarity. But you don't have to spend a pretty penny in order to have a taste of wines you won't usually find in Singapore. Thanks to Rebel Rebel's direct relationships with its winemakers, it's able to bring in bottles like the Fujimaru Table Top Daidai Iro from a small-batch producer based in Japan – and it gives you a taste at $20 a glass. Made by fermenting Delaware grapes, the skin-contact wine has a sweet kyoho grape-like aroma and is unexpectedly dry on the palate. Yet another wonderful surprise at Rebel Rebel waiting to be discovered.