From Haji Lane to Clarke Quay, here are some of our favourite Japanese restaurants for cheap beers, cocktails, and sake
If there’s one more thing the Japanese have gotten right – aside from ramen, yakitori, sushi and curry rice – it’s their general love for drinking. And often, you’ll find overworked employees letting loose (or impressing their bosses) at your friendly, neighbourhood izakaya. Thankfully, we’ve latched on to this culture, and you can easily find loads of izakayas in Singapore with booze and bites to be shared. So in this edition of our Happy Hour of the Week, we pick five izakayas with cheap beers, sake, and cocktails that will make even your bosses spill their secrets. Kanpai!
A brazen session of drinks after an arduous workday at an izakaya? Sounds customarily Japanese to us! Jinzakaya by the Les Amis Group aims to elevate the izakaya experience from a sleazy salaryman haunt to a legitimate dining alternative, with skewers ranging from foie gras to wagyu beef. And the drinks? We’ve heard that they’re having a special happy hour just for the month of May: $10 on Kirin Ichiban First Press every Tuesday and Thursday… all day long. And on Wednesdays, Jinzakaya’s having an authentic nomi-houdai (“all-you-can-drink”) experience where it’s pretty much free-flow beers for two hours, with two complimentary snacks in tow. The drinking game is on!
Jinzakaya, #01-08/10 Owen Link, 1 Farrer Park Station Road. p. 6443 1173.
It may only just occur once a week, but this cosy Haji Lane fixture prides itself on having the “longest happy hour in town”. Dubbed Thursday Hustle, expect $10 drinks all night – yup, we mean from 6pm ’til the last punter passes out. And since Koi Izakaya’s also one of our fave clubs in the scene with frequent underground house parties, you can expect closing time (and cheap drinks) to run really late.
Koi Izakaya, 9 Haji Lane, Singapore 189202, p. 9790 7535.
Meaning “friend” in Japanese, Tomo is indeed an ideal waterhole to see the best (or embarrassing) sides of your gals when they’re hammered. And with irresistible happy hours for beers (5pm-7pm, everyday including weekends), it’s easy to see why this place is ideal for bonding and catch-ups. After 7pm, all sakes and spirits go for $8 a glass; that’s still decent if you missed happy hour!
Tomo Izakaya, #01-04 Clarke Quay, 3A River Valley Road, Singapore 179020, p. 6333 0100.
Standing Sushi Bar
Needless to say, the sushi here is fresh and the maki rolls are dense and divine, but their bar bites are just as addictive. Every weeknight from 5pm-8.45pm, it’s just $5 for authentic izakaya bar bites like tori karaage, yakitori, tuna tataki and mentai tofu. And to drink all that down (however, bevvies happy hour is only from 5pm-7pm), order Asahi beer and glasses of sake for just $5 a pop too. Wanna hear a tip? Get both, and you can mix your very own sake bomb for just $10!
Standing Sushi Bar, B2-51 Marina Bay Link Mall, 8A Marina Boulevard, Singapore 018989, p. 6634 7068.
Uma Uma Restaurant & Bar
Aside from offering izakaya-fit kushiyaki staples like tsukune (chicken balls) and nankotsu (chicken cartilage), Uma Uma is also perfect if you wanna mingle with your mates for a post-work tipple. From 5.30pm-8pm, it’s $8 for regular Asahis and $9 for Asahi Blacks, $14 for fruit sakes such as yuzu and umeshu, and $12 on most spirits. Did we mention this perk occurs every day? Even the weekends!
Uma Uma Restaurant & Bar, 9 Raffles Boulevard #02-06, Millenia Walk, Singapore 039596. p. 6837 0827.