Where I’m from, pub’s in the UK are an institution, in fact I think it’s fair to say that wherever you are in the country you’ll be able to find one within a 500m radius. OK, maybe a slight exaggeration, but the point is, a good pub in town is the heart of any community. So where can we find these casual pubs in Singapore?
You cannot beat walking into your local boozer, seeing the same old faces propping up the bar, being greeted warmly by the landlord as though you’re old friends and ordering a pint of local ale.
In my view a good pub beats a fancy cocktail bar any day of the week. Drinks are good value, there’s plenty of banter, you’ll always see a familiar face, and there is no better way to spend an afternoon or evening than casual languorous drinking with friends. You can imagine then, that upon moving to Singapore I’ve been desperately searching for a new ‘local’.
Here’s a few of my favourite pubs to drink in Singapore when I am simply not in the mood for a fancy schmancy mixology bar and just fancy a decent pint or glass of wine with no frills.ad
1. The Penny Black
Styled as a Victorian London pub, I’m a fan of the quintessentially British vibes of The Penny Black. The riverside location at Boat Quay means al fresco drinking is an option if you’re not a fan of the dark, snug interior. I however, love nothing more than propping up by the bar here with a pint of Old Speckled beer.
The food menu serves traditional pub classics such as ploughman salads, pies, and – of course – England’s adopted national dish of chicken tikka masala. This is also a great spot to catch live sports, they show everything from the BPL, to rugby to F1.
2. The Yard
Named after the famous ‘yard of ale’ drinking vessel, for me, The Yard is the closest I’ve found to an authentic British pub in Singapore. Push through the wooden, stained glass front door and you’ll be transported into a dark, cosy drinking space.
The Yard ticks all of the pub boxes; dark wooden carved bar, TV playing football on silent in the corner, a real dart board (not that electronic nonsense), banquette style seating, a few locals propping up the bar. This is exactly the kind of place you want to hunker down with friends when it’s raining outside. The only giveaway this pub is in Singapore and not the UK is the immaculate fabric covering the seating. Were this in Britain the chairs would be covered in cigarette burns and beer stains.
The Yard: 294 River Valley Rd, Singapore, 238335 | Tel: 6235 6497 | Website
Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday 4.00pm – 12.00am / Friday – Saturday 4:00 pm – 1:00 am / Sunday closed
3. Molly Malones
The first ever Irish pub in Singapore, Molly Malones is a circular road institution. It’s authentic too, the pub was designed and built in Ireland before being shipped to Singapore. I guarantee if you walk in any day of the week you will see exactly the same locals nursing their pints of Guinness – which, by the way, is one of the better pints of black stuff I’ve tried in Singapore.
You can’t have an Irish pub without music and the regular live bands at Molly’s are actually pretty good. They also have a ‘sports lounge’ for you to catch up on all the BPL action.
Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday 11.00am – 1.00pm / Friday – Saturday 11.00am – 2.00am / Sunday closed
There are several outlets of Starker dotted around the island, but my favourite for a ‘pub’ experience is the branch in Holland Village. If you’re looking for somewhere that serves seriously good beer, it’s worth checking Starker out. I cannot get enough of the liquid gold they sell here.
The team at Holland Village are friendly and constantly doing the rounds replacing any warm glasses with frozen ones to keep your beer as chilled and fresh as possible. It’s cosy, it has that ‘local’ feel and the beer is insanely good – what more could you ask for from a Singapore pub?
If there’s one nationality that take beer as seriously as the Brits, it’s the Germans. This small cosy German watering hole makes the list as it serves awesome beer, great grub and is super friendly.
If you’re hungry we recommend trying their famous pork knuckle accompanied, of course, by a pint of Erdinger. You’ll be shouting ‘Prost!’ in no time.
Baden: 42 Lor Mambong, Singapore, 277698 | Phone: 6463 8127
Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday 2.00pm – 1.00am / Friday – Saturday 2.00pm – 2.00am / Sunday 12.00pm – 1.00am
6. The Dog and Bone
If you’re searching for a roast dinner just like your mum used to make, take a trip to The Dog and Bone on a Sunday. It doesn’t get more British than roast beef with horse radish, followed by bread and butter pudding and a pint of London Pride. Close your eyes and you can almost imagine yourself back in Blighty.
The landlord and lady here know how to treat their customers, The Dog & Bone is a friendly local that is always packed with regulars. It’s great if you’re in need of a quick drink with friends, or if you’re craving good ol’ British pub grub – chip butty anyone?
The Dog and Bone: 106 Upper East Coast Rd, Singapore 455296 | Tel: 6445 4877 | Website
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday 4.30pm – 12.00am / Sunday 11.30am – 12.00am
For enthusiasts of pub sports i.e. pool and darts, look no further than Forest on Ann Siang Rd. This is a casual, suitably dark pub that is great for a relaxed drink with friends. They also have a karaoke machine if you fancy a sing song after one too many pints, which I invariably do, naturally.
Drinks are reasonably priced, the atmosphere can get lively and I love that it’s tucked away off the main drag of Club Street – all the fun of the area minus the heaving crowds.
Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday 4.30pm – 1.00am / Friday 4.30pm – 2.00am / Saturday 6.00pm – 2.00am / Sunday closed
Less of the classic boozer and more of a modern Irish pub, if you’re in the Clarke Quay area McGettigan’s is worth checking out.
There is invariably something fun going on here, from live music to comedy, which ensures to liven up your average post-work drink. Staying open until 3am, this is somewhere you’ll go for one and leave 10 pints later. Located right on the water it’s a great spot for al fresco drinking too.
McGettigan’s: Merchant’s Court #01-01, 3A River Valley Rd, Singapore, 179020 | Tel: 6837 0577 | Website
Opening Hours: Monday- Friday 12.00pm – 3.00am / Saturday – Sunday 10.00am – 3.00am
9. Molly Roffey’s
You know you’re in an Irish bar when the happy ‘hour’ runs from 12 – 9pm. If that’s not reason enough to check out this watering hole, take a look at their Irish inspired menu. For pub food, it’s actually pretty good.
With live music every night courtesy of various local bands, this is another pub where you can easily lose a few hours’ with ease. Finally, if you’re an Arsenal fan this is definitely a pub you need to visit on match day.
Molly Roffey’s: 51 Bras Basah Road, #01-02A Manulife Centre, Singapore, 189554 | Tel: 6238 0989 | Website
Opening Hours: Daily from 12.00pm – 2.00am
10. The Pit
They call themselves a restaurant and bar, but in my view The Pit is unmistakably a good old fashioned pub. It’s cosy, it’s cheap and it’s dog friendly. I love the al fresco feel to this place, and I love the random music selections that are always humming in the background. It’s the perfect place to chill for a few drinks after work. The pub style food is also worth checking out, I’m a huge fan of their nacho’s in particular.
The Pit Restaurant & Bar | 21 Lor Liput, Singapore, 277733 | Tel: 6468 3468
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 3.00pm – 1.00am / Saturday – Sunday 12.00pm – 1.00am