Bar Spectre, a cocktail bar in Tanjong Pagar, is a safe haven for anyone who seeks restoration in more ways than one
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If comedy can help change the world in a disarming way, so can a watering hole like Bar Spectre. Founded by Andrew Pang, a regional brand ambassador for Beam Suntory with a background in psychology, and Inch Chua, musician and MasterChef Singapore finalist, Bar Spectre hopes to make an impact on mental wellness through thoughtful cocktails and immersive experiences. It has also come up with Spectre Spirit Support, where members of the food and beverage industry can lean on for free therapy.
What’s it like at Bar Spectre?
It takes a little effort to get there, but worth it when you do. Hidden inside a restored shophouse in Tanjong Pagar, Bar Spectre is a safe haven for anyone who seeks restoration in more ways than one. Inspired by Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung’s concept of the shadow self (an unconscious part of the persona that isn’t obvious to the world), it hopes to pave the way in mental wellness for the challenging world of the food and beverage industry and beyond.
“A spectre is like an unknown presence in our lives,” says Chua. “Carl Jung believed that everyone carries a shadow: a shadow self that is not inherently negative or evil, but a natural and necessary part of human nature. I believe it’s important that our personal spectres are embodied in our conscious life.”
Bar Spectre sees beauty in imperfection through old-world apothecaries, which you will see in its jar-filled shelves of herbs and spices, and the Japanese art of kintsugi, evident in its floors of broken tiles, pieced together beautifully. In line with the wellness theme, think of it as a metaphor for the human condition, where unique experiences shape an individual.
What should we order?
Its aspirations are inspirational, and we like it, just as much as the drinks. The menu comes in the form of an apothecary box, where you may nose the various aromas that the drinks are built on. As a blast of the past with a contemporary twist, cocktails are created with adaptogens from traditional Chinese medicine and natural mood boosters. Bonseki, for instance, is made with mezcal, Chinese herbs and snake soup, which is said to nourish blood flow and skin quality. The Pepper Highball, on the other hand, gets its strength from vodka, chile liqueur and chilli pepper; chilli releases endorphins, so we have been told. Depending on what you order, there will fun and therapeutic activities interwoven into the cocktail journey—journaling and fire cleansing, for example.
As for the food, well, let’s just say we taste the potential. Dishes include Southeast Asian-inspired bites like a refreshing Silken Tofu with wood ear mushroom and ikura, and Spicy Popcorn Chicken, served with homemade garlic aioli. You might spy a Thermomix at the bar, but not to worry, it is typically used for sauces and blends. The real cooking is left to the team, Chua included.
What else should we know?
This February, bring a special someone, friend or even family member and celebrate the season of love with Bar Spectre. Inspired by American psychologist Robert J Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love, a study that suggests people’s varying degrees of intimacy, passion, and commitment at any one moment in time, a tasting dinner has been designed to explore everyone’s unique perception of love. In Alchemy of Affection (S$88 per head), guests will explore the five love languages (acts of service and quality time, for instance) over an interactive five-course dinner. Expect Heart in Hand, a heart-friendly TCM-inspired cocktail that’s just as friendly to lovers of gin; Southeast Asian-inspired dishes like Silken Tofu with Cucumber Salad; Mala Beef with Sweet Potato Noodles and more.
Happening this 14 to 28 February 2024 from 5pm to 12am. Make your bookings here.
120 Tanjong Pagar Road,
Tel: +65 9673 0595