Some of Singapore's coolest bars are above, below, or behind something, making them pretty difficult to locate. But we're here to tell you where they are and how to get in
For every swanky bar that pops up in the city, there’s a modest hidden watering hole that relies on word-of-mouth recommendations for a steady stream of regulars. We’ve sussed out the best secret bars in Singapore that are replete with excellent service and quality drinks behind that shroud of secrecy!
Psst…if you like this, check out our story on hidden restaurants in Singapore.
Both a café and a cocktail bar, Maison Ikkouku (pictured above) is where you will find all the trendiest peeps. Owned by Ethan Leslie Leong – the creator of Asia’s most expensive cocktail “The Jewel of Pangaea” (it was $35k a glass!) – you can bet your bottom dollar any concoction’s gonna be uh-mazing. Go loco for coco with their impressive chocolate flambé-tini that’s served with toasted marshmallow and cookie roll.
Maison Ikkoku, 20 Kandahar Street, Singapore 198885, p. 6294 0078.
While the gold-accented interior may insinuate upmarket (pictured above), Gibson is far from a formal, stuffy bar experience. Gibson prides itself on its wide selection of potent tipples in its drinks menu, pleasing even the most discerning drinker. Cocktails aside, Gibson also lets you enjoy a modest selection of raw seafood dishes like the scallop crudo. Read our review on Gibson to find out more.
Gibson Bar, Level 2, 20 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore 089832, p. 9114 8385. Open Mon-Sat, 5pm – 12am, closed on Sun.
The Other Room
“Speakeasy” is a description thrown around a lot these days, but The Other Room is probably one of the few bars we’ve found that are really hidden away, with only the scantest online presence. This “drinking house for the discerning” offers expertly crafted cocktails that pay homage to classic drinks while adding contemporary twists. Holding court behind the bar is Master Bartender Dario Knox, previously of FOC.
The Other Room, Marriott Hotel Singapore. Open Tue-Sun 6pm ’til late. Closed on Mon.
Eastern and Western influences come together in exquisitely crafted cocktails in this snazzy new addition to Amoy Street’s bustling bar scene. Head bartender, Sugar Ray Ruban, works his magic behind the bar, creating popular classics as well as unique concoctions like the cheekily named Sake My Cucumber. Hungry? Not to worry, Le Binchotan also offers izakaya-style dishes that marry Japanese ingredients with French culinary techniques.
Le Binchotan, 115 Amoy Street #01-04 (Entrance via Gemmill Lane), Singapore 069935. p. 6221 6065. Open Mon-Sat 11.30am-3pm, 6pm-12am. Closed on Sun.
No fancy-schmancy gimmicks, no flamboyant concept, no secret passwords for entry; this is one fuss-free dive bar to simply enjoy a drink with your gals and mates. Helmed by the trusty hands behind Jigger & Pony, Gibson and Humpback, The Flagship is all about rock & roll and whiskies. With their ongoing happy hour from Monday to Saturday, 5pm-8pm, there is no reason not to try out their prized collection of whiskies.
The Flagship, 20 Bukit Pasoh Rd, Singapore 089834.
To enter the underground lair of Luke Whearty, Operation Dagger’s leading bartender, you first have to walk through a dingy, dark stairwell that’s marked by a scrawl of a curious rectangle and upside-down crown. Locating it isn’t an easy task, but it’s all worth it once you’re within its artistic interior – think clean, minimal furniture and an art installation-esque cloud structure arranged from thousands of overhanging bulbs. This cubbyhole of a speakeasy offers a tightly curated menu of interesting concoctions, like The Egg, made with salted egg yolk liqueur, as well as an omakase, which comes with six different cocktails and some bar snacks.
Operation Dagger, #B1-01, 7 Ann Siang Hill, p. 9296 4704.
Behind a 70-year-old mee pok stall – which opens in the day – is this grungy open-concept yakitori restaurant-bar run by chef Asai Masashi, who whips up some stellar grilled bites featuring chicken. If you’re here after the mee pok stall has closed, get into the establishment via its unassuming entrance (look out for its easy-to-miss gold lettering sign) at the open-air carpark. Otherwise, you can make your way from the front; just venture in. Drink-wise, expect playful Japeritifs concocted by Stefan Ravalli of The Library.
Bincho, 78 Moh Guan Terrace, #01-19, Singapore 162078, p. 6438 4567.
The Horse’s Mouth
Beside the cashier of Uma Uma Ramen is a curtained door. Through that door is a flight of stairs, and at the end of it, you’ll find The Horse’s Mouth. This small izakaya bar has got their technique down pat – watch wide-eyed as the pros mix some classic drinks – and it’s not the least bit intimidating.
The Horse’s Mouth, #B1-3 Forum The Shopping Mall, 583 Orchard Road, Singapore 238884, p. 6235 1088.
Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall
This is not your regular kopitiam drink stall. It’s a cosy bespoke cocktail bar opened by former Jigger & Pony bartender, Sam Wong. The lack of a menu gives you free reign to order anything you want. And yes, before you ask, Sam incorporates local flavours from the likes of soya bean milk, Milo, and chin chow into his cocktails soon. Psst: Sam was our favourite bartender at Jigger & Pony, so this one, located on the second floor above a shophouse, is worth checking out.
Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall, 60A Boat Quay, Singpaore 049848, p. 6535 0838.
No secret amongst discerning malt connoisseurs in Singapore – basement bar B28 is one of the best spots in the city for whiskies. Head here for its impressive collection of over 100 whiskies, rum, and other libations, and stay for its weekly Jazz Sessions, featuring live performances by local and international musicians.
B28, 28 Ann Siang Road, The Club Hotel, Singapore 069708, p. 9026 3466.
The Mad Men Attic Bar
If The Merry Men on Robertson Quay has gotten too mainstream (or crowded) for you, head to their more obscure sister, the Mad Men Attic Bar. Getting here is a wee bit difficult – look out for the alley along North Canal Road, find the glass door at the back of the restaurant, and take the elevator up to the fourth floor. But when you do find it ,make sure you try their black forest mojitos and chilli cheese dogs – they’re nothing short of awesome.
The Mad Men Attic Bar, 11 North Canal Road, #03-02, Singapore 048826, p. 9191 9722.
Bitters & Love
Don’t be fooled by the boarded up shopfront that’s littered with random scribbles. Push the door open, and you will see Bitters & Love is very much alive and no longer under renovation. If you like the unusual, try the Kaya Toast – real kaya included, with a pour of rum, and a dash of Tabasco. Or just throw out the menu while you’re here; the boys at Bitters & Love will concoct something from the drink profile you provide. Plus, a whimsical food menu makes sure you’re never bored of this place, ever.
Bitters & Love, 118 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068587, p. 6438 1836.
28 Hong Kong Street
Sans PR fanfare and signage out front, 28 Hong Kong Street is notorious for snubbing the system in the most radical way when it first opened its doors. The talented folks behind this award-winning speakeasy certainly know how to craft fine cocktails. Original signatures include Five Foot Assassin (the bar’s playful twist on the frozen daiquiri and homage to Phife Dawg of a Tribe Called Quest), and an excellent negroni. Save some room for their stellar bar bites; the truffle mac and cheese balls are worth all the calories.
28 Hong Kong Street, 28 Hong Kong Street, Singapore 059667, p. 6533 2001.
Nothing brings out the speakeasy sleuth in us like sussing out new hidden bars. The newest of which, Lucky Bar, has just opened on the rooftop of Full of Luck Club. Like the main restaurant, the bar serves authentic Cantonese cuisine along with cocktails that blend Eastern and Western flavours. The bar is only accessible from a secluded alleyway behind Full of Luck Club. Oh, and we just love its whole Wong Kar Wai-esque feel.
Lucky Bar, 243 Holland Avenue (Entrance behind Full of Luck Club via the back alley), Singapore 278977. p. 6208 6845. Open Fri-Sat 6pm-1am. Closed on Mon.
You may know IZY for its refined, contemporary versions of Nippon comfort food and indulgent eight-course omakase set ($120), but did you also know that this snazzy izakaya also has a secret bar hidden at the back? Caché stocks a range of beautiful tasting wines, but when in Rome (or Japan)… order a bottle of sake or Japanese craft beer. Kanpai!
Caché, 27 Club Street, Singapore 069413, p. 9678 0027/6220 3327.
The Spiffy Dapper
Inspired by 1920s speakeasy bars (Great Gatsby themed parties, anyone?), the old-world charm here is unpretentious; a real diamond in the rough. Spiffy Dapper is situated on the second floor of an undisclosed shophouse on Amoy Street – we had trouble finding it despite having directions! Cocktails range from classics and fun mixes alike and start from $18.
The Spiffy Dapper, 73 Amoy Street, Singapore 069892, p. 8722 4953
The Secret Mermaid
A Japanese eatery by day and a bar and liquor store by night, The Secret Mermaid counts over 45 spirits in its booze library, and most of them come from small-batch distillery with names almost unheard of, like gin from New Deal Distillery and whisky from Pinckney Bend Distillery. It’s all about the thrill of discovery here, so go for the tasting flights and up your booze knowledge.
The Secret Mermaid, B1-08 Ocean Financial Centre, 10 Collyer Quay Singapore, 049315.
Boozing on a budget? Check out our list of the best happy hours in Singapore.