Get to know historic Singapore River and its famous quays: Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay. After all, this is where it all began.
Tired of the usual Old Fashioned and looking to widen your cocktail horizons? Why not try a soy pudding cocktail, or one inspired by the Vanda Miss Joaquim, Singapore’s national flower? We round up the best bars to head to for unique cocktails inspired by the island-city.
For a little East-meets-West, head to Swissôtel Merchant Court, where signature drinks change throughout the year and are inspired by local influences. The Chinatown Rumble, one of the bar’s signature drinks, is made of tangy mango and Tiger Beer, a local beer brand, and topped off with nutmeg smoke. The sodas and syrups at Crossroads Bar are also made in-house, and herbs used in the drinks and dishes are plucked from the hotel’s own urban garden.
TRY Jaded Silk, a cocktail made with vodka-infused fresh melon, cooked down by the head bartender.
Swissôtel Merchant Court. 20 Merchant Rd, Singapore 178882. +65 6239 1848. Daily 9am-midnight.
Tucked away amid the indie clothing boutiques along Haji Lane is Bar Stories, the place to be for bespoke cocktails in Singapore. Established in 2009, the bar was part of the first wave of new, edgy drinking destinations in the country. Be sure to strike up a conversation with the bartender, as you’ll get a bespoke cocktail shaken up for you based on your personal preferences and tastes. The cocktails are always intricately arranged and served—think flower petals, designs drizzled in chocolate, and even flaming cocktails.
TRY Miss Joaquim, a cocktail inspired by our national flower, the Vanda Miss Joaquim. The cocktail’s made from ingredients inspired by the Chinatown area, which is where the flower was first propagated.
Bar Stories. 57A Haji Lane, Singapore 189248. +65 6298 0838. Mon-Thu & Sun 4pm-1am; Fri & Sat 4pm-2am.
Set up by chef Ryan Clift of Tippling Club, Ding Dong promises a fun night out, no matter what you have on your tab. Decked out in hot pink neon signage and retro movie posters, the bar matches its quirky stylings with equally unexpected food and drink concoctions—such as black sesame brownies, a vodka and green tea umeshu cocktail named after Astroboy, and a gin-hawberry-cucumber mix called the Hawker.
TRY The Umami, a sweet, spicy and savoury concoction that mixes vodka, tomato juice and Sichuan pepper with a dash of tamarind juice and salt.
Ding Dong. 115 Amoy Street, #01-02, Singapore 069935. +65 6557 0189. Mon-Sat noon-3pm, 6pm-midnight.
The Secret Mermaid
With its industrial vibe and bottles on bottles of drinks lining the walls, The Secret Mermaid is a hole-in-the-wall cosy and no-frills bar. Open only on weekday evenings, its usual crowd are office workers in the area looking to unwind after work with a drink or two. It’s also home to one of the largest collections of American craft spirits. Can’t decide what drink you want? Opt for the Tasting Flight, which features an array of shots of different drinks and labels waiting to excite your taste buds.
TRY Moonshine Mylo, a spiked version of a local favourite chocolate malt drink, Milo.
Ocean Financial Centre. 10 Collyer Quay, #B1-08, Singapore 049315. Mon-Fri 5-11pm.
Jekyll & Hyde
At Jekyll & Hyde, you’ll be greeted by clean, modern interiors reminiscent of Henry Jekyll, with a healthy tinge of brooding air that’s much like Edward Hyde (think cold concrete and wood panels)—the very characters after whom the bar is named. Get a twist of adventure with every hand-crafted drink served up at Jekyll & Hyde, whether it is an oolong tea cocktail, bespoke tipple, or shots from the bar’s eclectic tequila collection.
TRY Mr Bean, a cocktail of tau huay (soy bean pudding), butterscotch liqueur, Frangelico and vodka, served in a traditional ceramic cup.
Jekyll & Hyde. 49 Tras St, Singapore 078988. +65 6222 3349. Mon-Thu 6pm-1am; Fri & Sat 6pm-2am.
Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall
Head here for a raucous good time that will transport you to a nostalgic Singapore—and you will have the vintage-inspired décor and drinks to thank for that. The cocktails served up at Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall are made from distinctly Singaporean and Asian ingredients such as laksa leaves (a savoury herb), coconut milk and gula Melaka (palm sugar). The bar’s mismatched furniture and homely stylings also make it feel more like you’re at a laidback house party.
TRY A bespoke cocktail. There’s no menu here, so get creative and tell the bartender your favourite flavours so he can sort you out with an Asian-inspired drink.
Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall. 60 Boat Quay, Singapore 049848. +65 6535 0838. Mon-Sat 6pm-2am.
For a comprehensive list of the best cocktail bars in Singapore, check out this article by Bloomberg.