Where: 4 Haji Lane / 33 Arab Street
Opening Hours: Tue to Wed, 6pm to midnight; Thurs to Sun, 4pm to midnight
[dropcap size=small]W[/dropcap]hen Loh Lik Peng opens an establishment, you expect a design-forward space with reasonably posh nosh. These expectations would certainly be met if you had wandered into LongPlay in the past year, a bar and restaurant on Haji Lane that picks out its sharply suited clientele from a street teeming with hipsters.
LongPlay gets its name from the 3,000 vintage vinyl records the place holds – sourced from collectors around the world – but “long” can also be used to describe the narrow interiors, which are decorated with the requisite elements drinking urbanites seem to crave these days: polished leather, unpolished wood, dim and exposed lighting and brass finishings.
While LongPlay prefers to put its music and food in the spotlight, the compact cocktail selection is well worth many lingering sips. The Bob Barley (barley vodka, banana liqueur, ginger beer, bitters) is a tiki-style concoction that is delightfully – and not cloyingly – sweet, while the Under the Table (dark rum, palm sugar, dry orange liqueur, dry chocolate liqueur), is a bittersweet dream. The wine, spirit and beer selection is similarly small, but thoughtfully crafted to include lesser known gems such as Cerbois XO and Weltenburger Kloster beer.
Latin American chef Jorge Valderrama is in charge of your pre (and/or post)-drink bites, with mains like zucchini and eggplant cannelloni and snacks like confit pork belly sandwich.
LongPlay is honestly not as serious as it looks, thanks in large part to groove-worthy music (do you remember the vinyl-only “Reminiscing” by Little River Band? Of course you do.) so loud you’ll either want to lean in if you’re on a date or let loose if you’re with friends (director Eric Khoo and former ambassador Michael Tay have been spotted kicking back here). It doesn’t go out of its way to be shrouded in obscurity, but maintains a never-too-crowded capacity that makes it feel like your own member’s-only club.
In three words: Hidden from hipsters