The team at Robb Report has been drinking on your behalf, only to find you the best bars in Singapore. Here’s a guide to some of our favourite places to enjoy a cocktail or two (or more)
Editor’s note: This story was first published in December 2018, and gets regular updates ever since.
With freedom in the air again (three cheers to Singapore lifting most of its pandemic restrictions), our nights now mostly end in a disorienting experience of fumbling and stumbling, for obvious reasons. So make it count. Find a good bar worthy of your time and drink to your heart’s content, such as Sugarhall. Resurfacing from its good old days at Amoy Street is everyone’s favourite rum room, a safe haven of fairy lights, upbeat funk, comforting pub fare and unique cocktails. People come here to get buzzed as early as 5.30pm on Davide Boncimino’s creations, like the popular Dark & Stormy, which is available upsized as the Mega Stormy, and the One Punch Rum, a S$250 bowl featuring Gosling’s 151 Proof Rum, passionfruit, coconut water, lime, cinnamon, and an entire bottle of Havana Club 7 Year Old for the extra… punch. Do also look forward to Sugarhall’s Rum of the Month if you’re keen to explore anything special, but above all, pad the stomach—preferably with the Fried Chicken or Chicken Liver Toast. The Wagyu Cheeseburger is decent, too, but not mind-blowing, if we are being honest.
Robb Tip: Order the Snack Basket to help a cause (charities rotate regularly), and if you’re an early bird like us, happy hour runs from 5.30pm to 7pm. Select cocktails like the Old Fashioned and Daiquiri go for S$14, while beer and wine will cost you S$12 a pop.
19 Cecil Street
Tel: +65 9815 0246
Innovation is king at Tippling Club, where the big-spenders go to impress and be impressed. Tucked inside three shophouse units with an ultra-luxe speakeasy vibe, chef-owner Ryan Clift’s progressive fine dining comes paired with Andrew Loudon’s roster of modern cocktails. A couple highlights include Poker Game, a heady blend of bourbon, frankincense, beeswax and hyogo smoked acid, and Dollar Sign, which for what it’s worth (S$125 to be exact), comes with Champagne and Louis XIII. And if you love your sparkling wines, request for a table at Tippling Terrace, its new al fresco space kitted out with the good folks at Telmont Champagne (fun fact: it’s an organic and sustainable brand that Leonardo DiCaprio advocates). For S$130, you will enjoy a flight of three Telmont wines and five different snacks by Clift. Think a Smoked Eel Beignet with beetroot and freeze-dried raspberry, A5 Wagyu Tartare served with rakkyo zuke and confit egg yolk, and Roasted Corn Chawanmushi with crab, ikura and preserved truffle.
38 Tanjong Pagar Road
Tel: +65 6475 2217
While Manhatten’s beguiling speakeasy vibe—add a splash of Great Gasby-esque opulence, with its dramatic ensemble of Chesterfield sofas, herringbone floors, and velvet armchairs and drapes—has longed held a seductive charm, it’s the superior libations that keep us coming back for more. No surprise there, given that each drink is mixed with barrel-aged spirits from the bar’s very own rickhouse.
Staying true to its namesake, the bar has unveiled an expanded collection of drinks paying homage to six iconic Manhattanites: Andy Warhol, Whoopi Goldberg, Irving Berlin, Yoko Ono, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Peas and Love, for instance—a herbaceous tipple infusing Tatsumi gin with cucumber cordial, basil and green peas—recalls the time Yoko Ono led a Pea Piece movement; while the Notorious R.B.G encapsulates the late justice’s fiery spirit with a strong Westland peated whisky-based concoction. This being the second iteration of Manhattan’s New York Personified menu, those who wish to relive past memorable creations can do so at the ‘Hall of Fame’ section, which wisely immortalises the best of the first edition.
Robb Tip: Enjoy an adults-only boozy brunch (S$188) on Sundays, which means free-flow cocktails, alcoholic milkshakes, barbecue and seafood. Add on S$40 for free-flow Champagne.
21 Cuscaden Road
Tel: +65 6725 3377
Nutmeg & Clove
Colin Chia must be proud to be Singaporean. His bar, which left Ann Siang Hill for Purvis Street in January, is committed to take guests down Singapore’s memory lane, peddling its different bits of history through food and drink. Enjoy creative local dishes such as the SG Scotch Egg (minced kurobuta and Chinese sausage), or play it safe with the Otak Otak. Power through Singapore’s past and present with cocktails by Shelley Tai, a 2019 Diageo World Class HK & Macau Bartender of the Year. Order the K-Tea-V, a whisky- and matcha-based cocktail that’s a major upgrade from the karaoke goer’s green tea and whisky; and don’t miss out on Can Bubble Gum?, a reminder of what the country has against fun. It comes with mezcal, strawberry, distilled Tabasco and bubble gum foam, and it is delicious.
Nutmeg & Clove
8 Purvis Street
Tel: +65 9389 9301
Inside the Mandarin Oriental is one of the city’s most underrated cocktail bars, and it’s a wonder why so. Mo Bar, a beautiful bar with sleek interiors, promises you five-star service, expansive views of the Marina Bay and a well-priced food and drink menu (currently their fourth edition) to boot. Order the tequila and apple-spiked Sonamu to start the night off, and never leave without the Formosan, an Irish coffee-inspired cocktail made with coconut cream. Throw in some Truffle Cheese Naan and the Tandoori platter, and your night is all set.
Robb Tip: Drop by on a Wednesday between 6pm and 9pm to enjoy fresh oysters (a dozen) and all-you-can-drink Ruinart and select cocktails. All that for S$78.
5 Raffles Avenue
Tel: +65 6885 3500
Jigger & Pony
Named after the double-coned measuring device that bartenders use, Jigger & Pony is all about paying homage to the 19th century, when cocktail recipes were listed as ‘Jiggers’ and ‘Ponies’. With an immersive atmosphere, welcoming service and classic drinks, Jigger & Pony is the place to be for a laid-back aperitif. We highly recommend the Espresso Martini, which fills you up like a warm hug on a winter day, and the Corn Colada, if you love sweet rum, butter and egg white.
Robb Tip: Happy hour happens daily from 4pm to 7pm, featuring S$16 cocktails, S$14 wines and S$12 bottled beers. And in case you’d want to carry the party back home, there will be bottled cocktails for sale, such as the Momo 75. Based on the French 75, it comes made with gin, Champagne reduction, peach and mint.
Jigger & Pony
165 Tanjong Pagar Road
Tel: +65 96211074
There is absolutely no shame in day drinking and there’s no more pleasant a venue to do it than at the One-Ninety Bar by Four Seasons, a day-to-night bar destination with an alfresco terrace set among the hotel’s lush tropical gardens. Run by bar manager Gabriel Carlos (formerly of Manhattan), signature cocktails include the Wild Flower, which comes with gin, elderflower liquor, lemon, lavender bitters and prosecco.
Robb Tip: Head there during ‘Blue Hour’ from 5.30pm to 7.30pm. There will be a spread of Mediterranean snacks, cold cuts and cheeses are complimentary with any drink order, be it a cocktail, mocktail or one of the 100 wines available. Also available is the Afternoon Tea by Nicolai Bergmann (until 26 June 2022), a Tokyo-based Danish artist known for his flower boxes. It’s S$68 per person if you can stomach a cocktail, tea, coffee and a ton of sweets and savouries.
Four Seasons Hotel Singapore
190 Orchard Boulevard
Tel: +65 6831 7250
The bar, which derives its name from the ‘remedy’ concept of mixology, boasts solid cocktails featuring fresh herbs, fruit and vegetables grown organically in the Fairmont’s own edible roof garden. Favourites include the English Garden, an easy butterfly pea and lavender G&T, and the Bread and Butter, which sees burnt butter-washed Monkey Shoulder mixed with vanilla, raisin and chocolate bitters. Bar bites and a proper food menu are available, too. You won’t go wrong with the A:D Fish & Chips or the beer-battered Crisp Chicken that comes served with a citrus mayonnaise.
2 Stamford Road
Tel: +65 6431 5315
If you love gin and the opulence of Art Deco, you’ll like Atlas. Currently 16th on the World’s 50 Best Bars list, Atlas is where the world’s largest gin collection resides (this goes as far as gins from Brazil and Peru); behind a three-story-tall gin tower of carved wooden columns. The lightly renovated space still plays to the building’s Art Deco style but now feels refreshed and looks fetching, like it fell out of a Lolita Lempicka painting.
Falling in line with the grandeur of Art Deco is the new menu, which endeavours to connect guests with the architecture of Atlas and the many grand Art Deco landmarks of the world. Start yourself off with the low-ABV Sun Gate Spritz, a raspberry-infused sherry tonic that pays homage to Madrid’s Edificio de la Unión y el Fénix Español, before moving on to the Vapour Guide, a Battersea Power Station-inspired drink of peach oolong-infused vodka, English gin and bianco vermouth.
Robb Tip: The head bartender, Jesse Vida, is on hand to help you wade through Atlas’ extensive cocktail menu and choose the perfect gin to go into your G&T or martini. If you’re hungry, the Mini Croque Monsieur is worth ordering.
600 North Bridge Road
Tel: +65 6396 4466
Barbary Coast: Deadfall and The Ballroom
Run by industry veterans Celia Schoonraad and Michael Callahan (the very chatty founding bartender of 28 HongKong Street), it is inspired by the chaos and excitement of its namesake: mid-1800s Barbary Coast of San Francisco, a district born amid the frenetic 1849 California Gold Rush. It is also home to two kinds of watering holes. Deadfall, a recreation of the gritty dive bars of the time, welcomes you with honest pours at honest prices (S$10 draft beers and S$21 cocktails, for instance) and greasy grub like Jalapeño Poppers, tater tot sandos and House Nachos with bottomless queso.
For something intimate and a lot more lavish, head on upstairs to the Ballroom. Decorated with upcycled furniture, plush chandeliers and vintage wallpaper, the space is centred around lounges, couches and private booths, which offer Billecart Champagne-on-demand, at just a push of a button. But the cocktails are what you really want. Highlights include the potent Pea-Ness, made from Navy Strength gin, lacto-fermented apple, pea water and lemon – Schoonraad’s background lies in food science, so you know where the R&D comes from – and goes exceptionally well with the signature Cheese & Charcuterie board.
Robb Tip: Good news to all dog lovers. Deadball is pet-friendly—bring your dog anytime or get cosy with Nugget, Callahan’s dog, from Monday to Wednesday.
16 North Canal Road
Tel: +65 8869 4798
Junior The Pocket Bar
Tucked away inside a shophouse, with its plush red interiors, high ceilings and heritage touches, Junior The Pocket Bar feels like a world of its own and one of Singapore’s best-kept secrets. But it’s a secret that’s worth sharing. Formerly a part of The Proof Collective, Junior The Pocket Bar is now independently owned by Joe Alessandroni, and has relocated to a more spacious, but no less intimate, space on Ann Siang Hill. The menu now includes the Lacto Lime Soda that comes with or without tequila (we obviously recommend the latter), and several Chinese New Year-inspired cocktails. For luck, order the Guaranteed Abundance, which comes made with fino sherry, green walnut liqueur, lapsang souchang and uh, braised abalone.
Robb Tip: Come here for dinner and don’t leave without the Junior Meatballs, Orange Chicken and Baked Spinach Dip.
Junior The Pocket Bar
6 Ann Siang Hill
Tel: +65 8121 1462
If you want the feel of a prim and proper Japanese bar, but with none of that stiff pretentiousness, go to Live Twice. Succeeding Flagship (Jigger & Pony’s failed attempt at a dive bar) as an understated, post-war Ginza bar, Live Twice feels like a little clandestine world of its own, far removed from reality. Work your way through the 14 spirit-forward cocktails – the Vesper is a signature that features Tempus Fugit Kina L’Aero D’Or, vodka and navy strength gin – go simple with natural wine or Cognac, and do not leave without finishing a Wagyu Beef or Ebi and Corn Katsu Sando.
Robb Tip: Go on an empty stomach. The food menu, as brief it might be, is enough to keep you happy. There’s happy hour happening daily from 4pm to 7pm, too, when you’ll have sandos at half off for every cocktail that you order.
20 Bukit Pasoh Road
Tel: +65 9011 8304
One of the world’s best bars (12th, to be exact), Native takes inspiration from all around us and forages for authentic ingredients locally. Sustainability is the name of the game at Native. Founded by Vijay Mudaliar, Native is committed to using local and regional produce and supporting local and regional craftsmen. The cocktail menu here is unique as well, utilising unorthodox ingredients such as pulverised grasshoppers and obscure spirits. If the thought of having insects in your drink bugs you, their Pineapple Arrack should get your night going.
52A Amoy Street
Tel: +65 8869 6520
The Other Room
Prohibition-era inspired in decor, cocktails and spirit, The Other Room at Marriott Tang Plaza harkens back to the free-wheeling 1920s when drinks were strong and men made their own moonshine. Multi award-winning master bartender Dario Knox’s dominion lies in this intimate drinking house behind the velvet curtain and he personally ages and casks each liquor – rum, whisky, moonshine and more – himself. And for your reading pleasure, each drink in the extensive menu will be accompanied by its history, ingredients, strength and flavour profile.
Robb Tip: Its sister bar The Other Roof offers a wide range of tea-infused cocktails. The Teaspresso Martini, for example, is made with Patron XO, cold brew, tequila and tiramisu tea vodka. Find it on 28 Ann Siang Road.
The Other Room
320 Orchard Road
01-05, Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel
Tel: +65 8300 6085
The Old Man Singapore
Inspired by a literature classic, Ernest Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea, The Old Man was initially incepted in Hong Kong and launched in Singapore in May 2019. The cocktail menu comprises of 16 libations named after Hemingway’s classic novels and short stories – each a reflection of Hemingway’s best work, with a distinct Asian touch and complexity of fat-washing, sous vide and rotary evaporation. Favourites include the #1952, a murderous concoction of casa elemental, sous-vide capsicum distillate and cointreau, and the #1899, where rum, soy milk kefir, rotovap pandan distillate, gomme, orange phosphate and fermented textured vegetable protein are shaken together. The sous-vide coffee vinegar and cacao rum-based #1921 is also recommended.
Robb Tip: Got a sweet tooth? Olivia Restaurant & Lounge next door offers a delicious Warm Chocolate Foam Temptation – made from bitter chocolate foam, hazelnut praline, fresh passionfruit, cookies, olive oil and cocoa nibs nougatine. Order that and skip the so-called famous Creamy Homemade Cheesecake. It’s never consistent.
The Old Man Singapore
55 Keong Saik Rd
Tel: +65 6909 5505
When only hand-carved ice made from the purest of water will do, it’s time to have one of the luxe cocktails made by head bartender and owner at D.Bespoke, Daiki Kanetaka. Seating just 28 guests, this cosy Ginza-style bar ensures each client gets Kanetaka’s full attention. Kanetaka’s 16 years of experience in the highly strict Ginza bar system and stints in the whisky distilleries of Scotland ensure that you are in good hands. In fact, he will almost always insist on mixing your first drink, taking into account length, aroma, body and strength as well as taste when doing so.
Robb Tip: RPM by D.Bespoke, its younger (and possibly friendlier) sibling with a love of shochu and vinyl, is just down the road on 16 Duxton Road.
2 Bukit Pasoh Rd
Tel: +65 8141 5741