Thanks to the recent easing of restrictions in Singapore, it’s been good news for bars. Now that F&B establishments can serve alcohol beyond 10.30pm, and even play live music, things are in full swing again. Check out these exciting new spots that serve classic and innovative cocktails, along with excellent food.
Launched in April, this new neighbourhood bar at Robertson Quay is developed by The Compound Collective, the highly experienced folks behind Barbary Coast. A plush, loft-style interior beckons guests to unwind over inventive art-inspired cocktails.
The menu features 16 house drinks, with each concoction centred around an iconic artwork of its time. Examples include Pathway in Monet’s Garden (made with Beefeater and Hendricks Gin, St Germain elderflower liqueur, honeysuckle, jasmine, and lemon ) and the Portrait of Pablo Picasso (a concoction of Beefeater Gin, Campari, Fernet, Suze liqueur, sweet vermouth, neroli and cassia).
On Sundays the bar will feature a Casual Sunday Extravaganza menu from 4pm to 10:30 pm offering selected cocktails such as the Mojito Royale – made with Plantation 3 Star, mint, lime, and Billecart-Salmon Brut – as well as plates of cheese and charcuterie, pressed roast beef and more.
In their retail space you can also explore a variety of aged and rare spirits, including over
1,300 bottles of whiskeys and gins. What’s unique is that via Revival, guests can purchase
casks of their favourite whiskies; these are stored and matured in a wide range of
distilleries, and eventually bottled and enjoyed as single cask releases.
Amoy Street’s Native Bar, most known for its eco-conscious philosophy and focus on forgotten local ingredients, unveiled a full-fledged kitchen and bar on its ground floor in early March. The second and third floors will remain as a cocktail bar. Says owner Vijay Mudaliar: “We now offer a good quality food programme, which has great synergy with the drinks.”
Sit at the bar counter and sip refreshing cocktails like Sop Mojito made of white rum, soursop and mint, or Jasmine (gin, Jasmine Jun, kaffir lime leaves and sour plum) while watching the kitchen roll out unique dishes with a touch of nostalgia.
Head chef MJ Teoh, who worked with Mudaliar at Pollen a decade ago, trained in various fine dining restaurants, including Nouri. She lends her own local touch to Native’s new food menu – Teoh says she’s always loved Southeast Asian food, but never had the chance to cook it in professional kitchens. So it was a matter of time that she explored her own roots.
Native’s sustainability ethos carries through in the food. For the Nose To Tail Chicken Bao Fan, every part of the chicken is used. And for the Thai-inspired Miang Kham, an assembly of pepper leaves, tempeh crisps and ginger flower, perked up with pineapple shoyu – the latter is used for the drinks at the bar upstairs. “We thought of how to minimise waste. For example, we use jackfruit flesh for the dessert, and then we use the seeds to simmer with the massaman-mole curry. It gives a nuttiness to the dish,” says Teoh.
Last Word, an intimate bar opened by the team at Nutmeg & Clove, is tucked away on the second floor of a shophouse at Purvis Street. Named after the forgotten classic cocktail, this is the latest brainchild of founder Colin Chia. He describes the concept as “a classic cocktail bar inspired by the Japanese way of bartending”, which focuses on technique and precision while using the freshest ingredients.
Complementing the drinks is simple izakaya fare like tamago maki, gyoza, grilled unagi, ebi tempura and oden. “It’s nothing too serious. This bar is very minimalist,” says Chia. Sit at the long sleek wooden bar and watch the team concoct your drinks. There are also low tables at the side for larger groups.
The Classic Cocktail menu is divided into four sections: Highball, Sours, Spirit Forward and Champagne. There is also a small selection on the menu highlighting ingredient-focused drinks using produce in season. Recommended cocktails include the namesake Last Word (Hendrick’s Gin, Green Chartreuse, Maraschino Liqueur and Lime). If you enjoy a Bloody Mary, the one here is woven with a unique twist: Haku Vodka (Japanese craft vodka made with 100% Japanese white rice) is mixed with fresh Japanese tomatoes, lemon, togarashi and wasabi.
Cafe Tailor Made
For something different away from the crowds, head to the new Café Tailor Made at Turf Club Road. The bar-café serves coffee and freshly made breads in the day and bespoke cocktails in the evenings. You can also expect high quality cheese and skewers to complement the drinks.
Owner Nakul Pathak, who was former group F&B director of Coriander Leaf, says that his new venture focuses on great drinking experiences in a lush setting. “Indoors is designed like a cosy living room, and the outdoor area is like a garden. Every quarter, there will be subtle changes made to the bar’s interiors, and the menu items will reflect accordingly,” he says. Guests can look forward to the upcoming Caribbean theme, with tiki-style cocktails.
The bar features lesser-known spirits, in particular rums and gins. For instance, Soul Sisters, a Singapore-made gin that fuses juniper with galangal, tamarind and kaffir, as well as Old Young’s Common Gin from Swan Valley Perth. There’s also a selection of 10 to 15 hard-to-find whiskies to be had.
What’s great is that the drinks mostly use natural, organic and sustainable ingredients. Pathak says that instead of refined white cane sugar, organic honey from local bee farms and high grade agave nectars are used. An example of Café Tailor Made’s twist on classic cocktails is the Burn After Reading – their take on the classic Old Fashioned, which uses a 20-herb house-made bitter, organic honey, and Monkey Shoulder whisky.
Launched in January, Entrance is a sleek bar located in a shophouse at Tanjong Pagar. The team here describes their menu as “multi-sensory cocktails served with a side of theatrics”.
Unique cocktails include the smooth and smoky French 22, made with Laphroaig whiskey, Chambord, Frangelico hazelnut and aromatics. The drink is served within a glass cloche that is lifted to release arresting aromas. The Matcha Trance, made with top grade Uji matcha, sake, yuzu and fresh cream, features a refreshing and complex umami flavour profile.
Another spirit-forward sip to try is the Mexican-inspired Caviar Lime Bed – a concoction of tequila, Chambord and grapefruit, served with a side of tequila infused ‘caviar’ pearls.
Besides innovative cocktails, the food menu offers Japanese-European creations such as ceviche of scallop, octopus and tuna perfumed with citrus, pan-seared rosemary foie gras, and wagyu tataki.
California Republic, the latest dining concept by The Dandy Collection, exudes a 1960s retro-cool vibe. Located at Amoy Street, the charming, laid-back venue is reminiscent of a cosy living room. There’s a range of cocktails to try, including Know Your Way To San Jose (made with Veritas Rum, Green Acid and Baldoria Verdant Vermouth) or the refreshing Dankelicious (comprising Cinzano Prosecco, strawberry and thyme). If you prefer zero-alcohol drinks that don’t compromise on flavour, sip the Shredding The Gnarley – a combination of elderflower, mint, Granny Smith apple and cucumber. The wine list also features plenty of labels from California and other parts of the US, which you can pair with the ‘So-Cal Italian’ dishes: think grilled oysters, charcuterie, pastas and roasted seabass.
Cocktail lovers can look forward to Japanese-style handcrafted cocktails at the newly opened Wakuda, located at Marina Bay Sands’ hotel lobby. The menu includes classics with a Japanese twist Stone, Water, Plants (made with Roku Gin, cucumber shiso, green tea and cucumber tonic, topped with fragrant shiso flower) or Lady from Shizuoka, a pretty concoction of Roku Gin, strawberry sake and sakura liqueur, complete with a frozen strawberry lollipop. Otherwise, uplift your palate before dinner with Yuzu Garden, a combination of Haku vodka, St. Germain and citrusy yuzu.
The beverage list includes Old World vintages, eclectic New World wines, and about 100 sake labels. There are also rare sakes produced in small batches by sake artisans, as well as sakes specially brewed for Wakuda’s namesake chef, Tetsuya Wakuda. The Japanese restaurant welcomes walk-in guests at the bar.
Touted as “your friendly neighbourhood hangout”, The Store is the latest joint to open at Neil Road. The setting is cosy and classy, and the cocktail programme solid. The menu features imaginative tipples like Smokey Biscuit Sour (biscuit infused Smokey Monkey with fresh lemon, hazelnut syrup and chocolate bitters) or the rather unique Pumpkin Daiquiri, made with Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, fresh lime, pumpkin and pistachio dust. Or perk up your evening with a Coffee Kombucha Espresso Martini, composed of Black Tears rum, coffee kombucha, fresh espresso, coffee liqueur and hazelnut syrup.
Enjoy these libations with fresh seafood creations like mussels with white wine and garlic bread, or gambas with paprika butter sauce, herb oil and sourdough. Larger plates feature paper-baked seabass fillet with confit cherry tomato, lemon and dill sauce, and Black Angus steak accompanied by brussels sprouts and chorizo bourguignon.