Twos and threes abound at the retro- modern Stay Gold Flamingo at Amoy Street. It is owned and operated by dynamic duo Jerrold Khoo and Bai Jiawei, while co-founder Ethan Chai works behind the scenes. The venue has a twin concept because they believe in a trinity of elements in their cocktails and want it to be perceived as a ‘third space’ in the community.
During the day, the flamboyant and funky Flamingo cafe provides a warm cuppa, comfort food, and refreshingly light tipples. Come evening, it gives way to alter ego Stay Gold, whose entrance is hidden behind a velvet curtain at the back of the cafe. The rock ‘n’ roll cocktail bar, awash with street-style neon and royal blue, feels at once modern and old school.
“Conceptually, we wanted to evoke a sense of escapism by having a discreet entrance to Stay Gold, while keeping a warm facade for Flamingo at the front,” explains Khoo, whose love for the eponymous Stevie Wonder song inspired the venue’s name. “European cafes and American diners have always intrigued me, and I wanted to push an organic cocktail culture where even a casual cafe would have cocktail knowledge.”
He adds, “With Stay Gold Flamingo, we hope to further expand on that vision by creating a ‘third place’, and offering two distinct experiences.”
Before this, the 31-year-old Singaporean helmed the bar at Jigger & Pony, which clinched the top spot on Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2020 list. He brings that Japanese-style experience to Stay Gold Flamingo and mashes it up with Bai’s agile American form.
The 28-year-old Bai used to be with Employees Only Singapore, where he spent four years honing his craft. He expounds: “Our experiences and styles inspire the cocktail menu, bridging the creativity, dexterity and speed of American bartending with the elevated precision and craft of Japanese cocktail making.”
The result is a progressive trinity of elements menu. Each drink comprises a core spirit, a modifier and an enhancer. “This echoes the backbone of a classic cocktail,” says Khoo, who illustrates how their twists on classics include cheeky variations so guests can let their hair down and not take their drinks so seriously.
That idea of not being too serious harkens to his ideal of making the venue a third space for the community. If our homes are our principal dwelling, and workplaces are second, then he wants Stay Gold Flamingo to be a union of both settings – somewhere between being comfortable and professional.
His drink of choice at Stay Gold? The Daitini, a Daiquiri made in the style of a Martini with rum, lime husk and PX Sherry coalescing into a spirit-forward concoction that embodies their trinity approach.
Bai prefers the Intro to Absinthe. Comprising absinthe, sparkling coconut water and Earl Grey, it is, he says, “a super refreshing and addictive drink that I can drink any time during the day.”
When asked if they will aim for a spot on the coveted Asia’s 50 Best Bars in the future, Khoo once again reiterates his commitment to carve out a third place for the community to celebrate “life, libations and music”, and to further elevate this vision in all that they do.
“With that as our foundation, everything else that follows is the delicious reward for all the hard work, sweat, tears and soul that we put into our passion.”
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