The Powder Room at The Black Swan hasn’t yet found itself on the local bar-hopping circuit – and that’s undeservedly so.
Yes, its smack-in-the-CBD location means it’s yet another watering hole for the post-work set. But group bar mentor Julian Serna’s menu revamp breathes new life into the cocktails here. Themed to match The Powder Room’s flapper ’20s décor, the playful mixes that encourage you to loosen your tie or kick off your heels are sectioned into categories (Light & Fruity, Rich & Full-flavoured, Complex & Stiff) for easy navigation.
Highlights by the ex-Eau De Vie alum include Bubble Yum – a fizzy prosecco, lime, mint, raspberry and bubblegum vodka mix that’s served with a helium balloon ($21) – and Thank You for Smoking ($21, pictured), a spirited mix with notes of cigar, coffee, whisky and cherry.
Joining the new cohort of bar talent is made-in-Berlin barman, Philip Bischoff. He’s racked up experience at places like the Tales of the Cocktail-lauded Le Lion Bar de Paris in Hamburg and Amano in Berlin, before arriving here just last month to take the bar manager position at the Regent Singapore’s Manhattan.
He has plans to ramp up production at Manhattan’s rickhouse with more aged cocktails and solera-aged Negronis, but this will take a while to materialise. For now, we have more guest shifts at Manhattan to look forward to as Bischoff capitalises on his black book of bartender and distiller friends to add glitz to the bar.
His first Friends of Manhattan takeover happens on July 4 this month, during which he hands over the reins to local bar star, Joe Alessandroni, for a posh American Independence Day bash.
One and a half years after its debut on Tras Street, the House of Dandy gets a new look and face behind the bar. The grander aesthetic, with booth seating and a wider bar counter, is a better rendition of the gentlemen’s club vibe it’s gunning for.
Taking care of the bar is Ryan Rhodes, who comes to Singapore via Scotland. For his local debut, he’s put in the extra effort to age tinctures and infusions of cranberry and cloves, smoked cashew nuts, lemon balm, and cigar to be deployed in his drinks. He also continues the House’s bespoke service, amps up its whisky programme (he’s Scottish, after all), and serves up glasses of Baked Alaskan ($22) with gin, orange sugar, lemon juice, green chartreuse and floral egg white, and Life’s a Peach ($24) with Balvenie, créme de pêche, and dandelion and burdock bitters.
The bar known for cocktails with Asian flavours ropes in a new bar manager, Adam Bursik from Slovakia. He didn’t grow up in Asia and has only been here a few months, but he doesn’t consider that an impediment: ‘We actually use a lot of Asian ingredients in our country, so they aren’t that new to me.’
Bursik’s contributions to the menu prove the point: there’s the refreshing Coco Hand ($20, pictured) with coconut oil-washed rum, coconut treacle, limes, jasmine and aloe vera tea, and the Good Ole Fashioned Revolution ($20) with pandan-infused rye whisky, toasted coconut and a side of ikan bilis.
David Thompson’s Thai casual opened with rave reviews for its in-your-face cuisine, but not much is said about the cocktails. Newcomer Jason Gray is here to change that.
He was nominated Bartender of the Year 2013 by our pals from Time Out Sydney for his work in rum-focused Lobo Plantation before being poached to head the bar programme at Long Chim. Here, he works with forgotten ingredients to recreate flavours not in vogue and improve the current menu. Among his new additions is the BukRuk ($18, pictured), his version of the daiquiri, dropping Thai basil in the mix.