Specialist bars in Singapore

Whatever your poison, you’ll find it at these bars that are dedicated to a single liquor
By Iliyas Ong |
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Restaurants, Soul and southern American

American whiskey

icon-location-pin Marina Bay

The Bird Southern Table & Bar

The hyped-up import from the US giddies up to Marina Bay Sands with a menu of hearty Southern classics and a gold mine of bourbon and rye. Go for a dram of Blanton’s Straight from the Barrel ($30) to sample how bourbon should taste like, then order a cocktail like the Watermelon Sling ($24) – Death’s Door white whiskey, Aperol, rosemary and watermelon juice – to go with your fried chicken ($35-$45). Better yet, spring for a measure of rare bourbon if your wallet’s up for it: the AH Hirsch 1974 16-year Reserve clocks in at a cool $600 a shot.

Bars and pubs

Gin

icon-location-pin Rochor

ATLAS

At this art deco-inspired bar that Jay Gatsby himself would’ve been proud to patronise, ordering a simple G&T won’t do. There are upwards of 1,000 bottles of gin, housed in a three-storey-high tower, that have been sourced from more than 40 countries – so if you’ve ever wanted to sample a gin from Greece, Estonia or Moldova, here’s your chance. Most of these are rare or vintage spirits, too, with prices to match: a martini made with gin from the 1910s, for instance, will set you back $250. Yes, for one cocktail.

But pull yourself back to Earth and scan through the leather-bound menu for more affordable tipple. A classic G&T is just $19, while The ATLAS Martini – both drinks use London Dry Gin – runs for $24. There’s even a short selection of mocktails if you’re not keen on putting on those rose-coloured glasses of life. 

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Restaurants, Japanese

Japanese whisky

icon-location-pin Tanjong Pagar

The Wall

Shelves of backlit bottles cast an amber glow upon this cavernous restaurant and bar that deals in sumiyaki and whisky. While you’ll find whiskies the world over on the menu here, The Wall is especially proud of its Japanese malt collection – and rightfully so. There is much more on offer than the sought-after expressions from the exalted Suntory distilleries of Yamazaki and Hakushu. Single-grain whisky from Chita, special Ichiro’s Malt expressions from Chichibu and Hanyu, and ultra-rare bottles from Karuizawa (a vintage from 1963, anyone?) are available, too.

Bars and pubs

Rum

icon-location-pin Outram

Bago at Lime House

Palm plants, rattan furniture and hanging bird cages make this second-floor shophouse bar seem more like a friend’s living room – until you spy the racks of spirits that line the wall. Given owner Chris Morris’ Caribbean roots, Bago is devoted to all manner of rums. There are dozens of labels of rum, rhum and ron (respectively, British-, French- and Spanish-style rums) that you can sip neat or shaken up in a cocktail.

From typical Bacardi expressions to cult favourites like Diplomatico Reserva to little-known distilleries such as New Grove in Mauritius, Bago isn’t kidding about its rum credentials. The bar even concocts its own rum infusions with herbs and spices. If you can’t decide which to go for, check out the menu’s Bago Build section: you pick your flavours and ‘mood’, and let the bartender mix up a tipple ($25) based on your preferences.

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Restaurants, Korean

Makgeolli

icon-location-pin Rochor

Joo Bar

When translated, the name of this modern Korean bar and restaurant means ‘alcohol’. Specifically, it’s makgeolli – Korean rice wine – that takes centre-stage, with owners Jamie and Kristin Lim brewing and serving this milky white drink on tap. Newbies to makgeolli can try the sampler ($35), which includes Joo’s homebrew and four in-house creations with ingredients such as yucha, mango and strawberry. The house-brewed makgeolli ($7/mini, $15/small, $28/large) can be paired with Kimcheese Bacon Pancake ($22) and Joo bossam, made with boiled Mangalitsa pork belly ($28).

Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Pisco

icon-location-pin Raffles Place

Vasco

‘Eat, sleep, pisco sour, repeat,’ screams a spray-painted sign at the entrance to this narrow shophouse bar. You should heed the advice. The Latin American cocktail served here ($20) is one of the best in the city. It’s shaken up in the Peruvian fashion, with a foamy egg white cap, and is equal parts tart and sweet – it’s deceptively easy to down. The spirit also makes appearances in other cocktails – go for the Cusco Puta ($22), a potion made fiery thanks to the addition of capsicum and chilli. 

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