Bar Programme Director Aki Eguchi flexes his creative muscles behind this new bar in Singapore, which offers a mix of classic drinks and madcap nightcaps
It’s dark, somewhat dingy and a wee bit intimidating as you make your way up to Gibson on the second floor, but the soft, warm lighting, the smiley staff and the sleek space will make you forget all of those initial not-so-pleasant thoughts upon entrance. Behind the polished bar is Aki Eguchi, also of sister bar Jigger and Pony, and Gibson is his playground to flaunt his mixology prowess and experiment boozy ideas. He’s dressed to the nines in a vest, bow tie and shirt but if you ever find him away from the bar, you’ll realise he’s wearing bermudas and less-than-dressy shoes.
This high-low clashing outfit is analogous to what Gibson aims to do as a bar. The gold-accented space feels upmarket, but they don’t take themselves too seriously; a refreshing change from the more formal, stuffy bar experiences that seem to be popping up in Singapore.
Décor-wise, it’s old-meets-new: Gibson retains the original building’s antique ceiling and stained glass windows. The backing of the bar, however, is made of new, cleaner stained glass meant to be a throwback to shop houses of old.
If you’re looking for a good, introductory drink to start off your first experience at the Gibson, try its namesake cocktail. The drink is part of the “Finding Comfort” section of the menu that showcases classic cocktails that most would be familiar with, but the Gibson does have its own unique flair: instead of garnishing with just a pickled pearl onion, the drink is served with a smoked quail egg topped with caviar and a slice of tsukemono meant to be taken between sips.
The subsequent drink on our visit was a stunner. It’s deep red, almost brown hue seemed to promise an intensely flavoured concoction. Part of the “Forging Friendship” section of the menu, the Prohibition is designed to incite discussion among friends, thanks to its arresting, complex mix of Prohibition Edition Cutty Sark, Campari and Antica Formula that makes for a spicy, woody flavour. An interesting element of the drink was the single cube of frozen cold-pressed coffee that mellowed the drink as it melted.
The “Sharing Happiness” section of the drinks menu shows off some of the more fun things Aki does with his cocktails. The Laid Backer, served in a coconut filled with shaved ice was definitely the one with the most pizzazz in the list. The tropical themed quencher was a mixture of Sparkle Donkey Reposado, coffee cold-brewed with coconut water, salted vanilla syrup and pandan bitters. The cocktail was sweet, but not cloyingly so and brought to mind warm sunny days by the beach.
Cocktails aside, Gibson also offers diners a modest selection of raw seafood dishes like the Scallop Crudo, an interesting mix of flavours that contrasts the delicate taste of scallops and brown sugar butter dressing that makes for an almost dessert-like dish.
Overall, Gibson’s drinks menu is a charter for cocktail connoisseurs who want variety. Whether you’re hurting for a quiet drink on your own or keen on celebrating with friends, Gibson offering of potent tipples is sure to please even the most discerning drinker.
Gibson, Level 2, 20 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore 089832. p. 9114 8385. Open Mon-Sat 5pm-12am. Closed on Sundays.