From hidden speakeasies to an unforgettable space that’ll make you feel like a character in The Great Gatsby, Singapore’s award-winning watering holes certainly raise the bar for cocktail connoisseurs.
Here are 11 establishments that have been featured on Asia’s 50 Best Bars List 2019.
2019's Ranking: 2
Manhattan is an opulent establishment located on the second floor of the Regent Singapore. The décor hearkens back to 19th-century New York, and its tipples are like time capsules containing storied memories of the past.
The cocktails served here are inspired by significant epochs in New York’s history, and will take you on a gustatory trip back in time. Scarface, for example, is a mezcal-and-fernet-based cocktail that boasts a smoky aftertaste. Its creation was inspired by the gangsters of New York City during the Roaring Twenties.
Regent Singapore. 1 Cuscaden Road. Singapore 249715. +65 6725 3377.
Mon–Thu 5pm–1am; Fri & Sat 5pm–2am; Sun 11.30am–3.30pm; 5pm–1am.
2019’s Ranking: 4
Helmed by the inimitable bartender Vijay Mudaliar, Native will take your taste buds on a tour of Asia. Its string of ingenious cocktails are crafted with ingredients and alcohol from across the region.
Be sure to sample The Peranakan. Inspired by nonya* cuisine, it’s created with Indian rum and ingredients like laksa leaves, dried pandan (a tropical plant commonly used in Southeast Asian cooking) and gula melaka (palm sugar).
Native. 52A Amoy Street, Singapore 069878. +65 8869 6520.
*Nonya cuisine is also known as Peranakan (meaning "local born") cuisine. The cuisine comes from people of mixed Chinese and Malay/Indonesian heritage.
2019’s Ranking: 5
If Jay Gatsby owned a watering hole, it’d probably look like Atlas. Decked out with gold-plated statues and a 15-metre-tall Gin Tower—as high as three storeys—this bar holds the largest number of gins in the world.
With over 1,000 bottles on display and a champagne cellar to boot, visitors are certain to gain a deeper appreciation for the subtleties of alcohol.
Parkview Square. 600 North Bridge Road, Singapore 188778. +65 6396 4466.
Mon–Thu 10am–1am; Fri 10am–2am; Sat 3pm–2am.
Jigger and Pony
2019’s Ranking: 9
This bar’s name pays tribute to the art of concocting cocktails, with a name inspired by ‘jiggers’ and ‘ponies’ (the classic measuring device used by bartenders back in the day).
Despite its homage to tradition, you’ll find plenty of innovation here, including various reinterpretations of classic cocktails. Peruse their beautiful menu (designed to look like a lifestyle magazine) and discover subtle new twists on favourites like the Old Fashioned.
Amara Singapore. 165 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088539. +65 9621 1074.
Mon–Thu & Sun 5pm–1am; Fri & Sat 5pm–3am.
2019’s Ranking: 11
With hanging bottles and abstract expressionist art adorning its walls, this whimsical space boasts an equally charming menu.
The establishment’s ‘Sensorium’ menu employs uniquely-flavoured gummy bears to enhance your drinking experience. There are 12 flavours altogether and the wildest one is ‘Supercar’—with flavours reminiscent of leather, smoke and petrol (don’t worry, it’s perfectly safe to consume). Share the experience with fellow connoisseurs and revel in new connections.
Tippling Club. 38 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088461. +65 6475 2217.
Mon–Fri noon-midnight; Sat 6pm–midnight.
2019’s ranking: 15
A sophisticated speakeasy housed within a conserved Chinese clan building, Gibson is a great place to have conversations with other alcohol aficionados.
While this establishment takes its name from a classic cocktail, you’ll find plenty of quirkiness on the menu—their signature cocktail is served with a small tray of condiments like pickled onions and a quail egg to enhance its flavour.
Gibson. 20 Bukit Pasoh Road, 2nd Floor, Singapore 089834. +65 9114 8385.
Mon–Thu 6pm–1am; Fri & Sat 6pm–2am.
28 HongKong Street
2019’s ranking: 21
One of the first watering holes in Singapore to pioneer the hidden bar concept, 28 HongKong Street remains one of the city’s most-beloved places to grab a tipple.
Visitors to this elusive gem will find unpretentious, American-style bar food, stellar service and amazing cocktails with cheeky, pop culture-inspired names like Fernet About Dre—made with Fernet Branca, rum, cacao and orange bitters—and The Real Slim Shandy, which features ingredients like vodka, grappa and ginger honey. Hunt for this hidden establishment with your friends, and you’re bound to be well rewarded.
28 HongKong Street. 28 Hong Kong Street, Singapore 059667.
Mon–Thu 6pm–2am; Fri & Sat 6pm–3am.
2019’s ranking: 22
Taking the term ‘liquid dinner’ to a whole new level, Operation Dagger boasts a wide range of culinary-inspired drinks and an ever-changing cocktail menu. With its dimly-lit interior and minimalistic furniture, this watering hole’s vibes are sure to make you feel like a spy in a movie.
You’ll have to embark on a bout of urban exploration with your drinking buddies to find Operation Dagger though, as it’s located in a basement beneath the buzzing streets of Ann Siang Hill. Pro-tip: Look out for their logo, which looks like an inverted crown and a rectangle.
Operation Dagger. 7 Ann Siang Hill #B1-01, Singapore 069791. +65 6438 4057.
2019’s ranking: 25
Offering up customised cocktails and rare whiskies, D.Bespoke beckons guests with their Ginza-style bar seats and sepia-hued leather sofas. The establishment is helmed by Daiki Kanetaka, a bartender who believes that cocktails should be as perfectly tailored to a customer as a Saville Row suit, and whose philosophy infuses the bespoke cocktails served here.
Guests begin their pampering experience with a hot towel and Japanese tea, before being invited to an elaborate performance showcasing how their chosen cocktails are concocted.
D.Bespoke. 2 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore 089816. +65 8141 5741.
Mon–Thu 6pm–1am; Fri & Sat 6pm–2am.
Employees Only Singapore
2019’s ranking: 41
Soak in the social vibes at Employees Only Singapore, a legacy bar that hails from Manhattan.
This establishment serves up classic American cocktails and mouth-watering grub in equal measure, making it a great choice for hungry foodies and cocktail connoisseurs alike. Be sure to get a psychic reading at the door, before pairing your Manhattan with bite-sized poppers or a hearty steak.
Employee’s Only. 112 Amoy Street, Singapore 069932. +65 6221 7357.
Mon–Fri 5pm–1am; Sat 5pm–2am; Sun 6pm–1am.
The Other Room
2019’s ranking: 46
Camouflaged behind a wooden wall within Marriot Tang Plaza Hotel, this aptly-named hidden bar draws inspiration from America’s Prohibition Era.
Once you find the discreet entrance, you’ll be led into a den where multi-award-winning bartender Dario Knox serves up a range of unforgettable cocktails to intrepid guests. All bottles come without a label, having been aged and cask-finished by Dario himself.
Singapore Marriot Tang Plaza Hotel. 320 Orchard Road, #01-05, Singapore 238865. +65 6100 7778.
Mon–Thu 6pm–3am; Fri–Sun 6pm–4am.