One of the oldest districts in Singapore, Lavender is a residential area with both public and private housing. It is located near two of Singapore’s ethnic quarters, exotic Little India and quirky Kampong Glam, the Malay quarters. Although not as famous as the luxury bars of Marina Bay, or as cluby as the loud, boisterous bars of Club Street, Lavender is filled with cosy, classy, and acclaimed bars.
Opened by an uncle and nephew team, the 1925 Microbrewery is a local brewery that sells the family’s home-brewed beer. With a vintage industrial theme to its décor, the bar definitely has a grungy yet cool vibe. Food-wise, they serve hearty fare like pasta, burgers, and fish ’n chips, as well as sides like fries and chicken wings. They’re always looking for ways to add local flavours for a new twist to their classic formula, so keep an eye out for any new brews.
Looking at the historic Sultan Hotel, you’d never guess that this elegant building houses pop cocktail bar Fresh. The arched doorways and ceiling are covered in pop art graffiti, with characters like Mario grinning down on customers. The bar’s aesthetic and music are inspired by the fun, rockin’ 1990s and early 2000s. Their creative cocktails are, as the bar’s name suggests, fresh and fun, with items such as the Xin Jia Po Sling, a modern rendition of the classic Singapore Sling, and the sweet and bubbly Hola Papi Lyche.
One of Kampong Glam’s best secrets, Bar Stories is a Bohemian little place in Haji Lane, the area’s hippest and funkiest street. Operating as Café Fables during the day and Bar Stories during the night, this place has an intimate, laid-back ambiance perfect for a relaxing night out. One of the first things you might notice is that they don’t have a cocktail menu, simply tell your preferences to the incredibly friendly and approachable bartender, and he’ll whip up a cocktail for you. Like its name suggests, there’s a story behind every drink, and the bartender will gladly tell you about yours if you ask. Who knows, you might even be the inspiration behind his next mix.
A quaint rooftop bar located near Lavender, Zsofi Tapas Bar is an authentic Spanish bar. The interior may be grungy, but its full of character, unlike some of the polished, remodelled bars in town. There’s also an outdoor area where you can make the most of Singapore’s warm nights. A tapas is complimentary with every alcoholic drink you purchase. The bar fosters a real sense of community, as it is a place where you can relax, chat with friends or make new ones, and feel completely at home.
Bar, Restaurant, American, Cajun, Pub Grub, Fast Food, $$$
Bourbon | Edsel Little/Flickr
With its powerful, masculine name, you may not be surprised to learn that The Beast is a bourbon bar frequented by American expats, and anyone with a chilled attitude who enjoys a good bourbon. The rustic, laid-back joint was inspired by the watering holes and country bars of America’s south. This influence can also be seen in its food, which largely features Southern comfort foods such as fried chicken, wings, and mac ’n cheese. With its wide variety of bourbon and American craft beers, The Beast is one of the best places to go for rare bourbons, a relaxed vibe, and Southern comfort food.
Located in one of the liveliest streets in Kampong Glam, Blu Jaz Café is one of the most famous live music bars in Singapore, especially for alternative music. They feature performances from local artists, ranging from jazz to R&B and everything in between. They also host other contemporary artistic events like comedy clubs and poetry slams. A suave, vibrant crowd of hipsters and music lovers frequent this bar for drinks, shisha, and music. The top floor of the two-story building transforms into a dance floor if you’re up for some dancing.
This grand, luxurious wine bar is situated in the lobby of the Parkview Square building. The aesthetic of plush chairs, bold patterns and jazz music resembles the glittering world of the Jazz Age. Divine’s centrepiece is a striking 12m tall wine rack, and even more impressive is the ‘fairy’ that will fly up to your chosen bottle, with the help of a pulley system, and deliver your chosen bottle for you. Their large collection of wines includes many rare vintages from all over the world.
Located on the top floor of 66 Kampong Bugis, this hip, down-to-earth alternate music bar opened a few months ago and has since gained a following in the nation’s underground music scene. Kilo Lounge has a minimalist, industrial vibe, giving it a loft-like appearance. It isn’t as polished as some of the more suave bars on this list, but it’s very friendly and serves fantastic, innovative cocktails, such as the East Meets West, which mixes Japanese and Scottish whiskeys, with traces of citrus, coconut and orgeat that hint at the local palette.
Cafe, Restaurant, American, Fast Food, Tea , Pastries, $$$
Located in the historical Kam Leng Hotel, Suprette is a hipster diner that has a fantastic cocktail list. The joint has a unique ambience, with an aesthetic that combines an American diner with Singapore’s Asian roots for a modernistic fusion look. Their drinks menu boasts old classics, as well as some innovative mixes, such as the sweet English Garden, or the bold Topless in Church. They also have a variety of craft beers and ciders as well as other liquors. If you’re looking for a bite to eat, too, the Suprette burger is definitely recommended.
With the dimly lit interior, intimate atmosphere, and mellow 1950s music playing, stepping into Longplay is almost like returning to a bygone age. Everything about this retro cocktail bar, from the name to the décor to the drinks to the music, pays tribute to the vinyl age of the 1950s to 1980s. They have over 3000 vinyl records from this era. Their signature cocktails have tongue-in-cheek names like the House of the Raisin Son and the Marlon Brando, which perfectly capture classic films and songs in a way that appeals to your tastebuds.