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Insider’s guide to Singapore: Vijay Mudaliar

Go drinking and dining with the owner of one of Singapore’s best bars, Native

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Portrait of Vijay Mudaliar
Photograph: Ahmad Iskandar Bin Mohamed Ibrahim

Singapore’s nightlife and bar scene is diverse and booming, and Vijay Mudaliar is one of its stars. In 2018, Vijay Mudaliar’s Native bar in Chinatown made it onto the lists of both Asia’s 50 Best Bars and the World’s 50 Best Bars.

“At Native, we work exclusively with regional produce and craftspeople,” says Vijay. “We don’t stock common spirits, rather, we serve local and regional liquors, such as Singaporean gin, Indian whisky and Filipino rum. This idea extends to our furniture, aprons, ceramics, artwork and music. We want to feel closer to home and work with other like-minded small-batch craftspeople.”

A visit to Native promises the experience of cocktails true to their locale, culture, time and place. “Singapore is such a multicultural society with a rich history. One famous example of our culture is Peranakan cuisine, which is unique to this part of the world. Our cocktail, Peranakan, is inspired by these flavours, and contains jackfruit rum, laksa leaves, palm sugar, candlenuts and pandan.”

Discover where the socialisers – clubbers, pubbers, music lovers, minglers – meet, at

Vijay’s tips for socialisers

Try one of Vijay’s favourite Singapore bars and eateries

Operation Dagger
Photograph: Supplied

Operation Dagger (Chinatown)

Visit one of the World’s 50 Best Bars for forward-thinking drinks in a back-alley basement setting.

Manhattan at Regent Singapore
Photograph: Tom White

Manhattan Bar (Orchard)

This 19th-century New York City-style hotel bar is hidden within the Regent Hotel Singapore, but it’s widely considered to be Asia’s best bar.

Famous authentic German beer set in Chinatown at Smith Street Taps
Photograph: Supplied

Smith Street Taps (Chinatown)

Go here for local and international craft beers in a bare-bones hawker (food market) setting. Smith Street Taps alway boast an affordable, well-curated list.

Food at Cheek by Jowl
Photograph: Supplied

Cheek by Jowl (Boon Tat Street)

Michelin-starred Mod-Oz comfort food at an affordable price, and in a great setting.

New Ubin Seafood (Bukit Batok & Chijmes)
Photograph: Time Out Singapore

New Ubin Seafood (Bukit Batok & Chijmes)

Visit New Ubin Seafood for Singaporean classics with a modern take, such as chilli crab and ‘heart attack fried rice’.

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