Last Updated: June 30, 2016
We all love a good tipple, then what better way to spend your money than to go to a cocktail bar that delivers. I’d hate to have all you lovely people out there getting confused as to where to have a great evening, so I went on a little adventure to gather the top cocktail bars in Singapore that will definitely satisfy your alcoholic soul.
Pricey? Maybe a tad bit more expensive than your usual happy hour pours, but these are enticing cocktails that are made with love and liquor that are out to impress. And by that I mean strictly no overly coloured cocktails where you practically can’t taste the liquor and are convinced that you are just drinking artificially flavoured syrup.
The newest love child from the good people at Jigger and Pony, The Gibson is a vintage style cocktail bar that is eclectic yet rustic all at once.
Located above The Flagship, a traditional American dive bar, The Gibson boasts of a mixture of stained glass windows backing rows of magnificent fine spirits, including the likes of Yamazaki and many more.
The Gibson continuously surprises with their cocktail pairing with fresh seafood. You’re definitely in good hands because Aki, their head bartender is the ambassador for Absolut Elyx, and he isn’t shy in concocting up creative cocktails.
Aki created the signature Gibson ($24) cocktail, reinventing the classic martini and elevated it to the next level by combining two gins and serving it with unconventional condiments. Intriguing and exciting, Gibson is a bar to hop to if your friends and you are in for something enthralling.
Hidden amongst the old shophouses without any visible signage in front is 28 Hong Kong Street, a bar known to many for all of its merits. Once inside, the dark lighting creates a relaxed yet sophisticated ambience within this New York-esque hideaway.
28 Hong Kong Street is always busy, though never uncomfortably so, which creates a nice hum of excitement. It does mean however that it is worth booking a table in advance.
With knowledgeable bartenders and a cracking list of spirits, drinks are always well made and never rushed, irrespective of busyness. 28 Hong Kong Street is a great night out whatever the occasion, just don’t expect to be able to capture any of your fabulous memories here – photo’s are not allowed (we managed to get photos cos, you know, media request). I’ll let them get away with this one little bit of pretentious nonsense because the drinks are so good.
28 HongKong Street: 28 Hong Kong Street, 059667 | Tel: 6533 2001| Website
The Library needs no introduction and we are well aware of what it has in store for us. Albeit apothecary-like, The Library concocts up cocktails that are refreshingly interesting and pleasing to the eye.
They’ve split up their menu according to famous figures like Al Capone, Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe, and many more. It is no surprise that the Al Capone section holds the hardest drinks in store – their drinks are not only potently delectable, they look as good as they taste.
Duck Fever ($28). Absolutely adorable and lovingly made with Akvavit (a spicy, herbal Scandinavian spirit), gin, pineapple, ginger, coriander, fresh lemon, hops and bitters, this drink is thoroughly fancy. What inspired this drink was none other than a cooking recipe for duck. Basically they used that as their base and tweaked it accordingly to give a herbal and refreshing twist.
The team led by Adam Bursik loves their bar and drinks, that’s why they will only serve what they deem as their best. So go on down and spend a cosy evening there. Psst, you can also order food from The Study, so that’s really an evening sorted.
The Library: 47 Keong Saik Road
Right above Maison Ikkoku Cafe is the sister bar and it serves a full range of bespoke cocktails that have pretty much charmed me with my first sip. Cosy, sophisticated and definitely chic, Maison Ikkoku Bar will be able to cater to any of your needs, crazy or not, and I’ll vouch for that.
I’d definitely recommend going for their Tomyum Martini ($28), they weren’t kidding when they named it that, which is also why it’s dangerous. I couldn’t stop sipping on it even though it’s pretty strong.
Other than that, they have a list of cocktails that aren’t on the menu. All you have to do is to let the bartender know what sort of drink are you looking for and bam, sorted.
Maison Ikkoku Bar’s bespoke cocktails ranges from $28 onwards. Though they’re slightly on the pricier side, it’s surely worth spending on.
Maison Ikkoku Bar: Level 2, 20 Kandahar St, Singapore 198885 | Website
Located at the 6th floor of the newly opened National Art Gallery lies Smoke and Mirrors, which overlooks Marina Bay Sands. It is largely al fresco, with an indoor seating area that is perfect for lounging in their couches.
Taking the bar by storm is Yugnes Susela, who finished in the Top 4 of the 2015 Diageo World Class competition and was part of the team that clinched gold for Team Singapore at the Diageo Reserve World Class SEA Finals 2015. Having just returned from Belgium where he represented Singapore to showcase the cocktails, you’re definitely in for a treat at Smoke and Mirrors.
The Tiger Blood Daisy ($20) is an El Diablo with absinthe, and of course tiger daisy with passionfruit and ginger ale. There is tequila inside as well, and no, there’s no bad memories attached to this one – I’m definitely onto it. The Papaya Daiquiri ($20) is a must-try as well, you’ll never look at papaya the same way again.
Smoke and Mirrors will be the perfect bar to lounge over pre-lunch, tea time or anytime. Boasting a strikingly beautiful view, artisanal cocktails made by Yugnes, and early opening hours of 12pm, what’s stopping you?
Smoke and Mirrors: #06-01 National Gallery 1 St., St Andrew’s Rd, Singapore 178957 | Tel: +65 9234 8122 | Website
Oh hello there Jigger and Pony. With great names like Sugarhall, Humpback, The Gibson and The Flagship as family members, we know for sure that they will deliver.
What to expect? Classic 19th century cocktails made with artisanal craftsmanship and precision, will have you coming back for more. Try out its comprehensive list of unique cocktails like the Airmail, or go for the punch bowl named Pony Sangria, because ponies.
Dapper is what the bar is all about, complete with a stellar team – bartender Boo Jing Heng and Sim Kim Shin competed in the DIAGEO World Class Regional competitions 2016, and the latter was also one of the five finalists of Bacardi Legacy 2016.
Spiffy Dapper is definitely one inconspicuous bar, hiding in the midst of shophouses and labelled as ‘Dapper Coffee’, which sounds more like a cafe. A neat looking and almost pharmaceutical-like bar with in-house infused liquor resting on wooden shelves in clear beakers.
Beetroot Gin Sour, which was much earthier and offers more complexity in flavours. It looked just as aesthetically pleasing as it tasted. The warm red colour of the drink is contrasted by the foam from shaking, topped with beautiful rose petals that adds an extra aroma to the drink.
If you think that this drink is too lady-like, there are stronger drinks like the Negroni that is made with Mezcal and many more choices that will make it such a hard process to choose.
Spiffy Dapper is open all year round, so grab your team and head on over for a smashing good time. Cocktails range from $22 -$26 and I’m pretty sure the folks there will take good care of you like how they have with me, god speed.
You can read our extensive review of Spiffy Dapper here.
The Spiffy Dapper: 73 Amoy St, Singapore 069892 | Tel: 8722 4953 | Website
One of the first few restaurants that offer up molecular gastronomy in Singapore is the immaculate Tippling Club. Once situated at Dempsey, it has now relocated to Duxton, a hip and chic belt that showcases a myriad of crazy good restaurants.
Thing is, don’t just brush Tippling Club off as just a restaurant. Sure their food is amazing since we are talking about Ryan Clift here, but have you tried their bar because it is as kick ass as their food.
While their previous head bartender, Kamil Foultan, has recently moved on to Potato Head Folk in Bali, helming the bar right now is Joe Schofield, a 26 year old English bartender that has 10 years of bar experience and was a finalist for Bombay Sapphire World’s Most Imaginative Bartender, and yes, imaginative is where it’s at with Tippling Club.
Daruma Mazuma ($23).
New and exciting, Tippling Club’s bar is about to start a new chapter with Joe in the house and we can’t get any more excited than that really. Choose from a wide range of cocktails that has different taste profiles, so that means there’s something for you peaty monsters out there, and also cocktails for some of you who prefer sour drinks. Get on it.
Fallen Fruit (Part of a $150 Cocktail Omakase). It is served in a pear-like cup and the straw is made from a vanilla bean – talk about fascinating. The mother alcohol in this cocktail is overnight wine, mixed with in-house caramel and curry leaves. It is sweet and light at the same time, with a subtle hint of vanilla, very aromatic.
I really like Operation Dagger’s concept, being really minimal and reducing food wastage. Detailed ingredients are made from scratch, with a natural mindset, resulting in innovative drinks with contrasting flavours that work surprisingly well, which I simply can’t resist. Do try out their omakase for a well-balanced and intoxicated good time.
Operation Dagger is where you want to be when you’re so frustrated with the hustling and bustling of the city, it’ll provide a good respite and also potentially transport you elsewhere with their fantastic cocktails that are out of this world.
Operation Dagger: 7 Ann Siang Hill, Singapore 069791 | Tel: +65 6438 4057 | Website
Welcome to Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall, a hidden speakeasy with limited seats. Yes ‘seats’, you aren’t allowed to stand around in this little bar at all. There’s no menu per se, but there are some pretty bespoke signature cocktails you can request for.
Moo Daeng Cocktail ($23). Fat-washed whisky, lime and char siew. This is literally served with a piece of char siew that is torched. Sip on the cocktail after a bite of the smoky pork and be amazed as the flavour develops into something different.
Moo Daeng is Thai for ‘red pork’, and the drink is inspired by head bartender Edwin’s craving for some late night munchies while having Thai whisky in Bangkok.
He found a road side stall selling char siew, bought that back and continued having his whisky. The flavours magically complemented each other and the rest is history.
With such a dedicated bartender, you know you’re in for some treats. Psst, almost every syrup and ingredient is naturally made from scratch at this bar, so you can expect some fine flavours.
Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall: 60A Boat Quay, Singapore 049848 | Tel: +65 6535 0838 | Facebook
Oh Anti:Dote, do we even need to further explain how amazing this bar is? With a stellar team led by Tom Hogan, Anti:Dote continuously inspire and concocts up cocktails that are so detailed in flavour. Let’s not forget Bannie Kang, who recently won the Bacardi Legacy Competition 2016.
The interior of Anti:dote is modern, chic and comfortable. There are several different seating areas to choose from depending on your mood – you can sink into a plush velvet sofa after a hard day at work, or prop up a high table if you’re feeling slightly more energetic.
Fairmont Old Fashioned (Bourbon, Rum, simple syrup, angostura bitters).
Definitely not your run of the mill hotel bar, Anti:Dote serves up old classics and reinventions that will definitely wow you away. I still am not sure why am I elaborating on Anti:Dote when it’s clearly evident that this bar is phenomenal and will continue to excite your palates. So head on down, spend some money and get transported to the otherworldly.
Anti:Dote: Fairmont Hotel, Level 1, 2 Stamford Rd, Singapore, 189560 | Tel: 6431 5315 | Website