Sip on it neat, on the rocks or shaken up as a cocktail—despite whisky’s intimidating reputation, there’s no wrong way to drink it. The city counts the spirit as one of its favourites, even hosting Whisky Live, the region’s premier whisky event that houses over 100 renowned labels under one roof. Now in its eighth year, the weekend-long affair is packed with experiences, rare bottles and cocktails whisky buffs will enjoy.
But even if you’re not in town for the occasion, these five whisky bars will do the trick. Here’s a tip for our sweltering weather: order a highball, which is whisky mixed with soda water and served with ice.
La Maison du Whisky
For whiskies the world over
Escape the roaring crowds of Robertson Quay when you duck into this small space dominated by shelves upon shelves of bottles. Rest assured, though, because La Maison du Whisky is not your average masculine, leather-bound whisky bar. Its mission is to make the spirit accessible to all.
It does so by keeping prices affordable—a bottle of single-malt Kavalan, an award-winning Taiwanese distillery, is only SGD 40—and by representing the many whisk(e)y-producing regions of the world. Hundreds of expressions from Ireland, Japan, the US, England, the Czech Republic and, of course, Scotland can be sampled from the comfort of its long bar. La Maison du Whisky also stocks other craft spirits (quinoa vodka, anyone?) if you’re looking to switch things up while you’re there.
The Pier@Robertson Quay. 80 Mohammed Sultan Road #01-10, Singapore 239013. +65 6733 0059.
Mon-Thu 6pm-midnight; Fri & Sat 6pm-1am; Sun 6-9pm.
For food and whisky pairings
On the quieter side of Boat Quay, a three-storey shophouse is setting itself up to be Singapore’s newest temple to whisky. On the ground floor, The Belljar serves up an ever-evolving menu that you can pair with the spirit—the dishes (SGD 12-32) swerve from continental cuisine to Japanese-inspired pasta to modern takes on local hawker fare.
If you’re dreaming only of dram, climb up to the second storey. You’ll find a wood-accented lounge and about 120 whisky expressions, mostly from Japan and Scotland, behind a modest bar. The Belljar also shakes up its own cocktail creations, among them the Henry and Clare (SGD 20): Monkey Shoulder blended whisky, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, vanilla and a Turkish Delight for a pop of sweetness.
The Belljar. 18 North Canal Road, Singapore 049930. +65 9488 5434.
Mon-Fri 11.20am-2.30pm, 5pm-midnight; Sat 6pm-midnight.
The Single Cask
For a laid-back experience
“Small-batch”, “bespoke” and “welcoming” are the calling cards of The Single Cask at CHIJMES, an enclave of restaurants and bars set against grand, colonial-era architecture. But where The Single Cask lacks in size (it only seats up to 25), it makes up for in hospitality—and, of course, the 350 expressions of whisky and other spirits, mostly cult favourites, that rack its walls.
If you’re unfamiliar with the many types of the nectar on offer, suss out the bar manager and he’ll pick you a poison based on your preferences—if you like sweet, spicy or smoky flavours, for instance—and pair it with a chocolate, too. Like what you’re tasting? Then ask for the whisky stirred into a cocktail, like an Old Fashioned, for SGD 22. At this fuss-free bar, no one will frown upon your choice.
CHIJMES. 30 Victoria Street, Caldwell House #01-25, Singapore 187996. +65 6837 0953.
The Auld Alliance
For a deeper understanding of dram
Imagine a grand old private library. Smell its leather and mahogany as low lights cast a glow upon handsome Chesterfield sofas. Now, swap all the books with bottles of whisky—that’s the vibe of this local whisky institution. The Auld Alliance is one of the city’s oldest whisky bars, and, with more than a thousand expressions on offer, the most comprehensive. There are limited editions, rare labels, classic Scotches, bottlings from up-and-coming distilleries… you can even sample an 1863 vintage if you—and your wallet—are up for it.
So it comes as no surprise that the tome-like menu can be daunting, especially if you’re a budding connoisseur. Thankfully, the chirpy and knowledgeable staff are on hand to soften the perceived stuffiness of the bar and recommend you a tipple to start with (prices available in store). Otherwise, you can always embark on a flight of whisky or whiskey (that’s an assortment of 15-millilitre pours) to get a feel for the spirit while soaking in the golden atmosphere.
Rendezvous Hotel Gallery. 9 Bras Basah Road #02-02A, Singapore 189559. +65 6337 2201.
Mon-Thu 5pm-1am; Fri-Sat 5pm-2am; Sun 5pm-midnight.