The bar scene in Singapore is thriving and these are some of the hottest places to check out.
#1 Red Tail
Part of the new Zouk at Clarke Quay enclave, the restaurant/bar focuses on contemporary Asian sharing plates and a selection of craft cocktails that celebrate four of the hottest nightlife districts across Asia: Hong Kong’s Lan Kwai Fong, Seoul’s Itaewon, Kuala Lumpur’s The Row and Bali’s Jalan Legian.
Signature concoctions include Uphill Ding Dong (left, $20), a gin-based creation whose name references the iconic Ding Ding trams in Hong Kong, and Wild Pearl (right, $18), a Soju and dry vermouth-based drink with homemade sesame syrup and sesame oil (it’s named after perilla, a Korean word for wild sesame.
#01-04 3C River Valley Road
#2 Kilo Lounge
Re-opening in the Tanjong Pagar district, the space looks largely similar to its former home at Kallang (raw concrete furnishings are still a fixture). What’s new? It now has a larger capacity of almost 400 people (it could only hold 200 at its previous location), a bar that’s double the length of its former one, and a full Funktion One sound system (the British brand is renowned for being one of the best speaker manufacturers in the world).
Also new: the ‘underground’ entrance located along a back alley in Chinatown, with graffiti art by local artist Samantha Lo splashed onto the walls. The lounge will function as a cocktail bar on most weekdays, and transform into a dance floor on Fridays and the weekend. Don’t miss its After Dark New Year’s Countdown party on Dec 31 (there’s free-flow booze, guys).
21 Tanjong Pagar Road
#3 Little Bastard
Its name may sound rude, but it’s a reference to the restaurant-bar’s liberal mish-mash of Asian flavours in its food and drink (akin to having a love child, if you will). Dishes like Japanese udon come with a tom yam consomme ($20), while drinks are inspired by childhood favourites.
There’s Simply Yeo’s ($18), which uses bird’s nest alongside sous vide gin, lemon peel and barley; Cheng Tng Gao ($18), which laces the dessert with brandy; and Miss Siam ($22), a gin-based cocktail infused with red and green chillies. Tip: The bar is reportedly housed within The Refinery above a ‘secret’ stairwell.
115 King George’s Avenue
#4 The Library
The secret bar has long been known -and favoured- for its cosy, intimate setting. Now, The Library has expanded to the space previously occupied by The Study, and has also debuted a revamped cocktail menu. Drinks are now categorised into the following profiles: Strong & Dangerous; Sexy & Tropical; and Crazy & Sophisticated.
But that’s not all: The bar is also collaborating with Eu Yan Sang, one of Singapore’s most established institutions in traditional chinese medicine, in its new pop-up concept. Besides re-making the facade of The Library into a modern version of a Chinese medicine shop, the bar has also incorporated these ingredients, such as rooibos tea, ginger rice shrub and ginseng, into five cocktails. Hipnotique (above), for example, comes with absinthe, rooibos tea, burlesque bitters and egg white, while others like Rice & Shine incorporate ginger rice shrub, ginseng and crysanthemum.
47-49 Keong Saik Road
This rooftop bar is not new to the scene, but its new menu launch deserves mention. Created in collaboration with local chef Bjorn Shen (the man behind Bird Bird and Artichoke), its new plates are an edible interpretation of “Dude-Sin” aka Dude Singaporean cuisine, and features Asian flavours with a twist, like bacon garnished with Vietnamese pho herbs ($16), chilli crab fries ($15) and a B.C.M. grilled cheese ($18), which comprises sourdough bread stuffed with pork mince and mushrooms.
Drinks also feature quintessentially local flavours like pandan, sour plum, jackfruit and Milo. Must-tries include Kaya Lumpur (above, $19), a refreshing mix of kaya, soda, house bitters and pineapple rum, and Kopi Cat ($19), which has coffee, condensed milk and salted caramel-infused vodka. There are also two new group-serve cocktails (best shared between two to three people) to try. One is called PAP (Pineapple Action Party) ($36), which has cucumber-infused tequila, while the other’s called Great Singapore Sail ($38), made of light and dark rum, absinthe, banana and cold-drip coffee. Expect drinks to be presented in the most Instagram-worthy manner here too.
#03-07 Odeon Towers Rooftop, 331 North Bridge Road
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Article by Isabel Ong, originally appeared in Female.