After working hard for the entire week, it’s finally Friday evening and the weekend is just a few hours away. Why not pay a visit to an old-school pub or bar before heading home? We live in a time where we have very little downtime, and our mental health could be taking a toll on us.
Pubs and bars are awesome spots for us to transition from work to play. It draws a clear line between your work state of mind and a restful one for the weekend. A visit to these special hideaways, even for a soft drink, can lift your spirits— non-alcoholics included! Old-school joints exude a certain charm and seasoned familiarity which is missing in new and hip drinking holes.
Thankfully, my guide on the 11 best authentic old-school pubs and bars in Singapore will let you know where to head to with your buddies to catch up over a round of drinks, or simply watch a football match together with some good food.
1. The Drunken Poet
Escape from the hustle and bustle of Orchard Road and step into The Drunken Poet, where you will be magically whisked away to Ireland, home to the world’s oldest and most traditional drinking pubs. They are one of the pioneers of the authentic Irish pub experience in Singapore.
The Drunken Poet screens live sports ranging from soccer to various Irish sports and more till 2am from Tuesdays to Saturdays. If you hear a ruckus in the area during sports season, there’s probably an exciting match or race in progress.
Both Irish customers and locals agree that The Drunken Poet is possibly one of the best places in town to enjoy a Guinness.The pub serves Guinness (S$9 for 250ml, S$13.50 for 500 ml) that is air-flown from Dublin, Ireland and every glass is poured fresh from the keg.
Irish pubs are also well-known for their traditional hearty dishes. The Drunken Poet’s Ol’ Skool Fish N’ Chips (S$28) is the perfect example. Featuring two generous pieces of fresh seasonal fish coated in crispy beer batter fried to perfection, it came with french fries, homemade tartar sauce, mushy peas (a British classic), and a side salad dressed in balsamic vinegar.
I had an emotional moment while tucking into the Traditional Shepherd’s Pie (S$28). The minced lamb filling tasted exactly like my late grandmother’s version— I am confident that there was BBQ sauce added to the dish. It came with a layer of decadent mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables and two pieces of grilled garlic bread— the perfect accompaniment.
We were impressed with the Guinness Baby Back Ribs (S$28). It came with three large slabs of ribs served with french fries and garden salad. The chef’s Guinness BBQ sauce delicately flavoured the tender meat with smokey and bitter notes and coupled with the sweetness from the BBQ sauce— it was perfectly balanced.
2. The Public House
The Public House is a restaurant/bar that has been serving food and drinks since 2000 in a casual and friendly “dive” atmosphere. Their food menu gives you munchies like Luncheon Fries (S$12) and Turmeric Chicken Satay (S$18 for 5, S$26 for 10) for a light affair with drinks.
If you’re looking for a more substantial meal, you can order the Curry Chicken w Mantou (S$18) or Cheese Tomatoes w Greens Pizza (S$19).
Searching for a drink that will go well with your meal? Get a pint of Crossroads Session IPA (S$13 per pint during happy hour) which is an ale with a dry citrus aroma— it’ll be the perfect pairing.
If tequila is your choice of poison, try their Clase Azul Reposado (S$20 per glass during happy hour) which is an ultra-premium reposado tequila made with Tequilana Weber Blue Agave that’s slow-cooked in a traditional stone oven for a minimum of 72 hours.
3. Baden Restaurant & Pub
Established in the 1990s, Baden Restaurant & Pub is a Bavarian-style place located in the heart of Holland Village. The whole interior is done up in heavy teak wood, resembling a Teutonic country tavern. They were the first pub in Singapore to serve Erdinger on tap.
Their menu has a wide selection of German dishes such as Beef Goulash With Laugen Roll (S$9.90) and Wursteplatte – Funf (a platter of 5 different types of sausages) (S$39.90). If you’re looking for something light, give their snacks like Deep Fried Mini Squid With Thai Chilli Sauce (S$12.90) and Onion Rings With Homemade Tartar Sauce (S$10.90) a go.
Happy hours at Baden Restaurant & Pub last all night long from Sundays to Tuesdays, and till 9pm for the other days of the week. You can get draft beers like Erdinger Weissbier 300ml (S$8), Guinness 250ml (S$8) and Heineken 500ml (S$10).
They’re currently offering a 1-for-1 promotion till the end of 2022, where you can get Monkey Shoulder Whiskey (S$18++ per glass, S$295++ per bottle) or Hendrink’s Gin (S$20++ per glass, S$325++ per bottle) at half the price.
4. Long Bar
The historic Long Bar resides within the iconic Raffles Hotel and continues its proud tradition as the home of the Singapore Sling. The earthy ambience of the two-storey establishment is inspired by Malayan life in the 1920s which transports patrons to the edge of a tropical plantation.
Long Bar may not have a food menu, but provides peanuts to guests who are invited to brush the peanut shells off the tables and bar counters to the floor— this is probably the only place in Singapore where littering is encouraged.
Besides The Original Singapore Sling (S$37), they have Heineken Pint (S$19) and Tiger Pint (S$18) on tap. They also offer different kinds of wines ranging from white and red to rosé and sparkling.
5. The Penny Black
The Penny Black pub is a highly authentic representation of a traditional Victorian London pub, created as a celebration of that first postage stamp from the UK’s Royal Mail. Located at the start of Boat Quay in Raffles Place, they are the only English public house in Singapore. It’s also the place to catch a variety of sports screenings such as rugby, the grand prix and the English Premier League.
The food menu showcases a variety of English favourites such as Beef & Guinness Pie (S$22) and the classic Fish N Chips (S$26) (which is served with straight cut skin-on fries, homemade mushy peas and tartar sauce).
Besides bottled beers like Asahi (S$14), Tiger Crystal (S$14) and Corona (S$14), they also have seven types of draught beers. Expect to find beers like Kilkenny Irish Ale (S$9 for half-pint, S$14.50 for one pint) and Old Speckled Hen (S$12 for half-pint, S$16 for one pint).
6. The Tuckshop Assembly
Old meets new in historic Geylang, a neighbourhood that’s filled with restored shophouses and traditional eateries. Here you’ll find The Tuckshop Assembly, a cafe/bar which provides a casual and relaxed environment in which to hang out and watch the world pass by. It’s a contemporary yet nostalgic space that blends the old with the new.
Besides a locally-inspired food menu, you’ll also find an exclusive wine list, selected whiskies and much more. From familiar favourites like Truffle Pizza (S$24) and Sio Bak (S$12), to more unique selections like the Cold Lotus Root Pickled Salad (S$8) and Grilled Nasu Eggplant (S$18)— you’ll be spoiled for choice over what to order here.
The Tuckshop Assembly curated their very own special brew together with Singapore’s own Archipelago Brewery called the Tuckshop Assembly Ale 4.5% (S$9 for half-pint, S$14 for one pint), which is a full-bodied and fruity ale flavoured with gula melaka and calamansi juice.
They also have Guinness 4.2% (S$9 for half-pint, S$15 for one pint), ciders like Brothers Apple Toffee 500ml 4% (S$17), The Botanist Gin (S$16 per glass) and much more for you to discover when you’re here.
7. Molly Malone’s Irish Pub
When it comes to Irish pubs in Singapore, Molly Malone’s Irish Pub is the pioneer of them all. They have been around since 1995 and have shifted from their original location to Circular Road.
They offer a wide array of bar snacks— a total of 16 items to be exact. Expect to relish in Sweet Potato Fries (S$9), Pork Scotch Egg With HP Sauce (S$12) and Buffalo Hot Wings (S$16) (which is served with a blue cheese dip).
Happy hour at Molly Malone’s Irish Pub is from 11am to 8pm. You get bottled beers like Stella Artois, Heineken and San Miguel Pale (S$11 each for all). Order their Irish whiskeys like Jameson (S$12 per glass) and Tullamore Dew (S$11 per glass) or get an Irish Old Fashioned (S$15 per glass) for a true-blue experience.
8. Old Skool Bar
Located within Orchard Plaza, Old Skool Bar is a cosy boutique retro bar that exudes a vintage vibe through its ambience. If you’re looking for a spot with awesome drinks and music, this is the perfect place to chill and get comfortable.
If you head down to Old Skool Bar from 6pm to 9pm (Mondays to Saturdays), you’ll enjoy discounted rates during their happy hour. For beer lovers, you can get draft beers like Heineken Draught (S$14 for one pint, S$24 for two pints) or their beer towers where you can get two Tiger Beer Towers at just S$88 or the Heineken Draught Tower (S$98 for one, S$178 for two).
For soju fans, you can enjoy a variety of flavours like green grape, grapefruit, strawberry and plum (S$18 per bottle, S$80 for 5 bottles). If you come in a big group, you may even opt for the Soju Milky Tower (S$58 per tower), which is a mix of Milkis (a Korean carbonated yoghurt milk drink) and soju.
If whisky is your choice of booze, they even have the Macallan Sherry Oak (S$318 per bottle) which is seldom seen at other pubs.
9. The Jolly Roger
The Jolly Roger is a warm cosy neighbourhood pub that’s nestled within the residential Hillview neighbourhood. This is probably one of the few pubs that serves The Full English Breakfast (S$21), all-day, everyday.
The menu also features wholesome mains such as The Jolly Chicken Burger (S$20), Bangers and Mash (S$19), Grilled Salmon (S$19) and Bacon Carbonara (S$16).
The Jolly Roger’s happy hour is from 11am to 8pm. Chill out with your mates over draught beers like Paulaner Helll’s Lager (S$12) and Guinness Draught (S$13). You can also indulge in their range of whiskies from Glenmorangie like the Glenmorangie 10YRS (S$10 per glass) and Glenmorangie 14YRS (S$13 per glass).
10. Hideaway @ Arcadia
Hideaway @ Arcadia is an old-school pub located along Arcadia Road which started in October 2019. Surrounded by lush greenery, this pub maintains its rustic settings till this day with refurbished old bar tops and cabinets.
They’ve partnered with Niku-Niku Charcoal Grilled Kushiyaki to run the kitchen to provide the best Japanese food to their customers.
Hideaway @ Arcadia serves a wide variety of Japanese skewers like Chicken Thigh Yakitori (S$1.80), Bacon Lychee (S$2), Shisamo (S$1.80) and Edamame (S$1.80). If you’re looking for a more substantial meal, check out the Spicy Miso Lamb Loin (S$18) or Marbled Sirloin Steak with Truffle Butter 200g (S$16.80).
Happy hour is from 4pm to 7pm. You can order their draught beers like Brooklyn IPA (S$12) and Asahi Black (S$13) or try their classic cocktails like Lychee Martini (S$15), Blue Lagoon (S$14) and Long Island Iced Tea (S$16).
251A Arcadia Road, Singapore 289848
+65 6235 3328
Mon to Sat: 4pm – 12am
Closed on Sun
11. Cheeers Bistro & Bar
Housed within the bustling Joo Chiat district lies Cheeers Bistro & Bar, a cool neighbourhood bar that rolls out tunes from the 80s and 90s. It’s popular with both locals and expats alike who like to hangout after work and let their hair down.
The popular dishes over here are aplenty. They include Red Devil Chicken Leg (S$), New Zealand Prime Lamb Chops (S$), Buffalo Wings (S$) and Mutton Masala (S$) (which is cooked on the pot for 6 hours and served with hot bun rolls).
Besides the regular beers & Guinness Stout, Cheeers Bistro & Bar offers a wide range of cocktails for you to enjoy during your night out. The Negroni (S$18), Old Fashioned (S$16), Espresso Martinis (S$22), Vodka Sour (S$22) and A Pink Margarita (S$22) are just some of the many choices you can get over here.
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