Last Updated: November 9, 2016
Who doesn’t love to unwind with a little sake. Sake 酒 is a type of Japanese rice wine that is produced by fermenting polished rice through a brewing process, that is really more similar to beer than wine actually.
We tend to link Sake to that of Japanese origin, which isn’t wrong at all but there are a lot of sakes out there not made in Japan. In Japanese, sake is translated to ‘shu 酒’ and those that are fermented in Japan are called ‘Nihonshu 日本酒’. So being labelled Sake doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s definitely from Japan, but more likely than not, it does come from Japan.
And being a lover of all things Japanese, yes sashimi I’m looking at you, I of course reserve a special place in my heart for Sake and have compiled this list of Sake bars in Singapore, ranging from when you feel like a baller to days when you really just want to be in a casual setting that will warm your heart, and possibly, your body too.
Boruto means serious sake business with their very own sake vault. Nestled within are numerous prominent sakes and rare whiskies like the premium Hakushu 25 years and Hibiki 30 years. The bar definitely sets up the right atmosphere for a sleek and sexy evening over some drinks with its low lighting and high ceilings.
Featured here is the sake vault that Boruto adopted, for the place used to be a bank a good number of years ago, which is where the bar stores most of their prized sakes. Boruto boasts over 100 brands of sakes, whiskies and sochus as are strong advocates of having a drink to start off dinners.
To top things off, every Saturday, Boruto selects several sakes and tapas dishes that are usually much pricier and set a fixed price of $10 for each drink or food dish listed. This fantastic deal lasts the entire night so do not fret about not making it in time for their “Happy Hour”.
Boruto: 80 South Bridge Road, #01-01, Golden Castle Building, Singapore 058710 | Tel: 6532 0418 | Website
Located along Tras Street is BAM! Tapas-Sake Bar that practises the modern “Shu-do” contemporary way of appreciating sakes. The interior boasts of an industrial chic sort of setting that exudes a pretty kick ass sophistication of its own. Before all of that though, you’ll first be greeted by a huge storage of premium sakes.
Speaking of premium sakes, BAM! even has five bottles of the Super Eight sake, which has only 3000 bottles produced ever and 200 bottles are currently in Singapore. So that’s pretty tight I’d say. The grains of rice are polished very finely (8% polished), much more than the usual Junmai Dai Ginjyo, that’s what makes it so special.
It is going at $888 and that’s definitely a bargain compared to other places that carry the brand. They’re about to bring in another exclusive bottle called Seven, so keep a lookout.
BAM! does sake pairing and do it well by incorporating the customs of the East with European influences from Spain, hence tapas. Each dish is matched properly with the sake taste profiles and without spoiling too much fun.
There’s a popular dish that even encourages you to mix in a small amount of sake to bring out the umami factor. Their menu changes as with the seasonal ingredients but there are a few favourites that will always stay.
All I can say is that, the people at BAM! are exceedingly warm and definitely generous because they want to leave happy and happy I was.
BAM! Tapas-Sake Bar: 38 Tras Street, Singapore 078977 | Tel: +65 6226 0500 | Website
Part of the amazing Les Amis Group, Aoki Restaurant is known for its impeccable quality, be it food or variety of sakes, all of which are hand picked by the owner of the restaurant himself, Kunio Aoki.
He curates only the most premium sakes and imports in only the best of the season, ensuring that all of his customers will only get the best of the best on the table. With that said, it is of course with a price tag that matches but good things are worth the while and I daresay Aoki is one of them.
Aoki Restaurant: 1 Scotts Road, #01-19 Shaw Centre, Singapore 228208 | Tel: +65 6333 8015 | Website
We know that sakes imported from Japan are quite possibly the best but Mikuni tops that by having their own in house sake sommelier that brews and bottles their very own sakes for their customers. Dedicated team with exciting flavours to offer, Mikuni is definitely a place worthy of a visit. Their premium carafe starts from $105 onwards but it is worth every cent of it.
Mikuni: Fairmont Singapore 80 Bras Basah Road, Level 3, Singapore 189560 | Tel: +65 6431 6156 | Website
For those of you who have already indulged in a spot of fine dining Japanese style at Ki-Sho, you’ll be pleased to hear that the team have expanded their offering to include a sake and omakase bar – Kakure – that has extensive and seemingly endless supply of unique, artisanal sake.
Though pricey, if you’re going all out I’d highly recommend choosing the sake pairing option as well. A special mention is needed here for our excellent sake sommelier, Makoto Iwabuchi. Knowledgeable and passionate, his pairing choices were unique and intelligent. If you’re a sake aficionado, I suggest you add Kakure to your ‘to do’ list immediately.
Ki-Sho (Kakure): 29 Scotts Road, Singapore, 228224 | Tel: (+65) 6733 5251
Another concept by Table Concepts, Ishinomaki Grill & Sake can be found at basement one of Palais Renaissance, providing a respite from the bustling shopping belt on Orchard Road. Choose from a varied drinks menu of over 24 sakes and if you’re not up for a whole bottle, you can opt for various small portions of 300ml cold sake.
They also stock up on sparkling and shochu. Then pair it with robata, yakitori, sashimi and more. With such a variety and an intimate setting, I don’t see what else is stopping you from paying Ishinomaki Grill & Sake a visit.
Isinomaki Grill & Sake: 390 Orchard Rd, B1-02/02A/03 Palais Renaissance, Singapore 238871 | Tel: +65 6737 1065 | Website
Located at a rather nondescript location near Farrer Park, JINzakaya, a yakitori and sake bar set up by the reputed Les Amis Group, promises each patron a fulfilling dining experience complete with affordable sakes that doesn’t discount on quality.
Another interesting thing about this sake bar is that on their menu, each ‘carafe’ bottle of sake comes with a summarized back story, which yet again reinforces JINzakaya’s wistful vibes.
JINzakaya: 1 Farrer Park Station Rd, Owen Link, #01-08/10, Singapore 217562 | Tel: 6443 1173 | Website
I may or may not have sneaked into Copper on Stanley while they were resting but they were so nice as to still welcome my friend and I, since we were really looking to have some sakes in the afternoon. They stock a good variety of sakes and unlike the traditional izakayas, Copper on Stanley fuses both traditional and modern chic to give a refreshing atmosphere.
You can opt to have the whole bottle of sake, which I don’t see why not, or the 200ml carafe that starts at $24. Pretty affordable really. Slowly savour your sakes and of course get happier than all the corporate soldiers slogging it out in offices surrounding you.
Snuggling up right next to Nickeldime Drafthouse in Novena is newest lovechild of Hidden Door Concepts, 510 Sake Bar. Over there, you can choose to have your carafe that starts at $15 onwards and pair it with some crazy bites that are essentially Japanese but with a slight Spanish touch. You’re definitely in good hands and why not opt for some sake bombs to chase all your blues away.
510 Sake Bar: 273 Thomson Road Novena Gardens, Singapore 307644 | Tel: +65 6256 0261 | Website
A relatively new kid on the block, Kamoshita has only been around for a few months and we are so very glad for its existence. With over 40 sakes and Japanese chefs, Kamoshita will definitely wow your heart away with their down to earth cuisine and intriguing selection of sakes.
Don’t even get me started on their ultra cute sake glasses that I really wanted to covet because manekineko (fortune cat).
They do omakase at $80++ and I promise I’ve had one of the most refreshing oden and delectable egg there, although some of the other foods during the omakase had a bit of a fusion touch like serving cheese. Pair it with the exciting variety of sakes that they specially curate for the store and while they’re at 40 over varieties now, they’re still working to bring in more. The more the merrier as they say.
Nestled inside Shaw’s Isetan is Kaku-Uchi Sake Bar, a very limited seating, hole in the wall sort of sake bar. Though they don’t stock a huge quantity but every single bottle of sake is of high quality. Afterall, we are talking about a sake bar inside a Japanese supermarket and we all know how serious Japanese are about everything.
So if you catch these seats available, I suggest you sit yourself down for a flight of sake and then possibly bag home a few because unforgettable, that’s what you are (conveniently sings to the bottles of sake).
Kaku-Uchi Sake Bar: Isetan Scotts 350 Orchard Road, Singapore 238868 | Website
A few friends with the same ideas and passion came together to open up Shukuu Izakaya, with Luis holding a sake sommelier certificate. Both Luis and Mario were exceedingly warm and definitely crazy over Japan and sakes and that’s also why they want to bring the most honest izakaya experience to Singapore.
Decorated with all the quintessential casual izakaya ornaments, Shukuu Izakaya carries over 45 Japanese sakes that have been carefully curated by them. Both Luis and Mario choose to import sakes that are more unknown because they want the public to know more about them, the big names need no more introduction.
I was particularly impressed by one of their sakes from Nara, which has to be chilled and has a slight fizz on the first sip, before settling down to a smooth and robust flavour. No matter if you’re an expert or just looking to try something, I’m sure Luis amd Mario will be able to recommend something and while you’re at it, why not have some bar bites.
A melange of a sumikayi (charcoal-roasted meats) and an izakaya, Shunjuu has built a reputation around its grilled stick dishes such as the Black Pork Neck, and myriad of sakes. Choose from over a selection of 60 Nihonshu (Japanese sakes) and thoroughly indulge oneself into the izakaya casual setting. Kanpai.
Shunjuu: 30 Robertson Quay, #01-15 Riverside View, Singapore 238251 | Tel: +65 6887 3577 | website
Quaint and cosy, Public Izakaya has two outlets in Tanjong Pagar. They’re known for their passionate staff that pay reverence to the Japanese culture and are of course well-versed with everything relating to that, including sakes.
Fuss free and down to earth, Public Izakaya exudes a quintessential Japanese Izakaya environment lined with wooden tables and chairs, separated with bamboo structures that compartmentalises the interior in an orderly fashion, just like how a Japanese would do it.
Over here you can ditch your work woes and completely indulge in good food and good company of sakes because they pride themselves on being ‘a friendly traditional izakaya for the masses, serving traditional izakaya cuisine for the everyday salary man’.
The Public Izakaya: 100 Tras Street, 100AM Shopping Mall, #01-09, Singapore 079027 | Tel: +65 6604 9622 | Website
Orihara Shoten at Robertson Quay recently turned seven in the year 2016 and they do have every reason to celebrate. Being the first overseas branch outside of Orihara Company Litmited Japan, they stock a comprehensive list of sakes and other liquours like our all time favourite Japanese whisky.
So you’re definitely in for a treat, they’re ultra serious with their sakes and would definitely be able to give you a run down on the sake’s origins if you happen to pop by before peak hours. Immerse yourself in the fuss free standing sake bar and bring home a few babies if you like.