Dubbed Asia’s cocktail capital, Singapore has spoiled people silly with its long list of top-notch cocktail bars. Culture Trip has narrowed down the exhaustive selection to 10 outstanding bars, ranging from the world-class Manhattan Bar to the underrated Bitters & Love.
Ranked number 8 by Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2018 awards, Native is world-famous for its legendary Antz cocktail. Believe it or not, this exotic rum-based coconut yoghurt drink is actually served with creepy-crawlies inside! Locally foraged weaver ants as well as ants imported from Thailand are served on a basil leaf, flash frozen with liquid nitrogen – so this is not a cocktail for the faint-hearted. Owner Vijay Mudaliar has taken a bold stand by striving to showcase local ingredients that most people never once thought were edible. The ants are actually delightfully crunchy.
28 Hong Kong Street is the pioneer of Singapore’s burgeoning speakeasy scene. Located along a row of old shop houses along Hong Kong Street, you can easily miss the bar’s entrance should you not look hard enough. Behind the nondescript wooden panelled door lies a dimly lit watering hole frequented by cocktail lovers. Sit by the marbled bar counter and watch the talented mixologists concoct a unique bespoke drink just for you, or stick to a classic negroni served with a beautifully hand carved ice. The award-winning bar is always packed like sardines – even on weekdays – so do visit early to avoid disappointment.
Atlas might be less than two years old, but this opulent speciality gin bar is no stranger to the global spotlight. Situated in the lobby of Parkview Square, this nightlife establishment has quickly amassed a strong following of gin connoisseurs since its inauguration, gaining worldwide fame. Wealthy hedonists are swooned over by Atlas’ over-the-top interior design. Boasting a huge collection of more than 1,000 gins from all corner of the world, it’s no surprise that Atlas was ranked number 4 in Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2018 awards. This highly sought-after gin bar has a full house on any given day and advance bookings are mandatory.
Blink and you’ll miss the concealed entrance of Bitters & Love. This popular Telok Ayer speakeasy is intentionally tucked behind an unassuming construction door to ward off those not in the know. No trip to Bitters & Love is complete until you have its best-selling Kaya Toast Cocktail. Presented in a jam jar, the innovative creation is a delightful blend of peach liqueur, egg white, English breakfast tea, honey, lemon juice, Mount Gay Rum and of course, kaya jam. A slice of bread topped with a dollop of kaya jam is served alongside this cocktail. Sweet dreams are made of this!
Shortly after receiving the title of 42nd Best Bar in Asia, Jigger & Pony shut its doors in Amoy Street – but thankfully, it was not goodbye. The renowned bar has reopened on the ground floor of Amara Singapore Hotel – and it is bigger and better than before. Jigger & Pony’s spanking new venue accommodates up to 140 seated guests, and with 27 splendid cocktails on the new menu patrons are utterly spoiled for choice. Start your night with their unorthodox take on the Singapore Sling – with unlikely ingredients including lapsang souchong and rhubarb. This rendition is notably less sweet, but every bit as delicious as the original!
Manhattan Bar has emerged champion in Asia’s 50 Best Bars awards for the past two consecutive years and is absolutely deserving of all the media attention it receives. Located inside Regent Hotel, the New York-themed cocktail bar’s luxurious interiors and exquisitely handcrafted cocktails have won over a legion of globetrotting fans. Affluent business travelers and regional socialites dressed to the nines make up the crowd. It’s worth mentioning that the stellar bar is also home to the world’s first in-hotel rickhouse.
Nutmeg & Clove is a quaint cocktail bar sitting on the second floor of a heritage shop house in Ann Siang Hill. The carefully curated creative beverage menu draws inspiration from Singapore’s vibrant history. Visitors can look forward to drinks shaken with exotic Southeast Asian ingredients such as durian, Malaccan coffee and mangosteen. Gin enthusiasts should definitely order their signature gin-based cocktails, namely Lion in a Sling and You’re One in a Melon cocktails.
Operation Dagger used to be one of Singapore’s best-kept secrets. However, numerous nightlife awards have let the cat out of the bag and the hidden bar has since been thrust into the limelight. Operation Dagger’s mysterious underground location is within a seemingly vacant building, showcasing a spectacular display of 6,000 overhanging bulbs that will leave a striking impression. The drinks menu changes every now and then, keeping things fresh and exciting. Having said that, the Hot and Cold cocktail has been a mainstay on the menu and is a must-order.
The Other Room has gone from strength to strength since it first opened in 2016. Indeed, it has already gained the approval of industry leaders within a short time span. Situated in an inconspicuous corner of Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, one can only enter The Other Room after ringing the doorbell. The Prohibition era-themed bar’s quirky decor and sheer number of artisanal cocktails will blow you away. Recommended signatures include Southern New York Sour and Sir Winston Churchill.
As the 7th Best Bar in Asia and the rightful creator of the world’s first edible cocktail menu, Tippling Club certainly has heaps of bragging rights. Yet the celebrated bar remains unbelievably down to earth despite its roaring success. Over the years, Tippling Club has strived to create a memorable and playful drinking experience without compromising on quality and professionalism. Previously customers chose their cocktail by using their sense of smell. Now, they are asked to eat a dozen gummy bears before picking their preferred drinks, as each bear provides a glimpse of its representative cocktail. It’s safe to say that there’s never a dull moment here.