Despite its reputation for its pristine streets and almost sterile cleanliness, Singapore isn’t just a pretty face. Delve deep beneath the surface of this picture perfect city and you’ll find a great range of cocktail and speakeasy bars. Whether you want a bird’s eye view of Singapore’s glittering skyline or a romantic evening in a dimly lit speakeasy, there’s dozens of options for the fussiest bar fly.
Here’s my guide to the best bars in Singapore after my last visit.
You must have been living under a rock if you haven’t heard about The Library, one of Singapore’s hottest speakeasies. Venture behind the hidden façade of bookshelves and mirrored walls and you’ll soon discover an incredibly moody, dimly lit bar full of atmosphere and charm. Come here thirsty – their expert bar staff will whip you up a perfectly crafted cocktail in no time, equipped with their own bar prop and story. Entry is by password. A handy hint – check out their social media pages or ask nicely at their sister restaurant, The Study next door. Or do what I did or rock up unaware and shamelessly sing your favourite song to the door girl.
A 47 Keong Saik Rd, Singapore
This bar may be hard to find, but it’s sure as hell worth the journey. Look for the glass door marked with a strange phantom like symbol at a fairly non-descript building on Ann Siang Hill and you’ll find this hidden gem. A dingy stairwell leads into one of Singapore’s hottest drinking dens. It may be tiny, but it makes up for it with personality. There’s an impressive bulb light cloud installation and walls full of brown bottles which gives it an old-fashioned apocethary kind of feel. The cocktail menu itself is quite small, focusing on experimental cocktails based on your drink preferences. Trust me, it’s difficult to stop at one.
A 7 Ann Siang Hill, Singapore
T +65 6438 4057
The award-winning Tippling Club restaurant and bar has recently moved to a new neighbourhood on the fringe of the CBD, after five successful years at its Dempsey Hill location. Housed in the heart of Tanjong Pagar Roar the cocktail bar, which also doubles as a fine dining restaurant, is the perfect spot for a pre-dinner apertivo or a nightcap. Using a flavour spectrum of sweet, sour, fruit and smoky cocktails, the menu is cleverly thought out. For something on the sweet side try the PB + J with peanut butter, cassis, orange, marshmallow and granola, or for something on the dry side the pink peppercorn negroni will go down a treat.
A 38 Tg Pagar Rd, Singapore
T +65 6475 2217
Internationally celebrated as one of the world’s best bars, 28 Hong Kong Street was one of the early pioneers of Singapore’s cocktail movement since opening in 2011. Inspired by a New York prohibition style speakeasy, 28 Hong Kong Street is hidden behind an unassuming 1960’s shophouse façade on Singapore’s HongKong Street and is a word of mouth kind of place. The drinks list is superb, taking patrons through the 19th Century to the modern era with a distinct focus on artisanal spirits and American style craft cocktails. The food is gussied up American comfort food made from scratch for sharing. Reservations are recommended.
A 28 Hong Kong Street, Singapore
T +65 6533 2001
If you’re a wine connoisseur, make a beeline to Praelum Wine Bistro, in food and drink hot spot Duxton Hill. Praelum is Latin for “wine press”, a device used to extract juice from crushed grapes in wine-making: The bar/restaurant was opened by wine aficionado Elizabeth Lin in December 2011. Ogle at the impressive list of wines, which are served by the glass and bottle from their walk-in cellar, while enjoying some of their delicious French inspired fare. Think baked brie with roasted garlic and cranberry reduction and bacon wrapped scallops with béarnaise sauce.
A 4 Duxton Hill, Singapore
T +65 6238 5287
If rooftop bars with a view are your thing, you won’t be disappointed by one of the world’s highest al-fresco bars, 1 –Altitude. Perched at the top of one of Singapore’s tallest skyscrapers, One Raffles Place, the concept includes three bars and restaurants; Altimate (61st floor), Stellar (62nd floor) and 1-Altitude Gallery and Bar on the rooftop. The rooftop offers breathtaking 360 degree views of the city. The drinks may be expensive but, with a view like this, they are certainly worth it. If you’re hungry, venture to Stellar’s kitchen next door for quality European cuisine. Make sure you dress to impress.
A 1 Raffles Place, Singapore
T +65 6438 0410
Housed on the ground floor of a shopfront on Ann Siang Road, Nutmeg and Clove is one of Singapore’s hottest newcomers to the bar scene. With a distinct opium den kind of feel, the bar is fully equipped with leather banquettes and medicine drawers. The drinks are creative, influenced by the various eras of colonial trade and are infused with various Chinese herb and spiced concoctions. With some of the best bar tenders in town, you won’t be disappointed by this watering hole on a muggy evening. For food, there’s a good range of small bites and for something a little heartier try the a nice nutmeg spiced tortellini mac and cheese and a kong bak pao with clove.
A 17 Ann Siang Road Singapore