A well-kept secret amongst enthusiastic drinkers, these hidden bars in Singapore are actually not that hard to find if you know where to look!
You might think that you know the ins and outs of this city, from breakfast spots to swanky rooftop restos and hot venues for ladies’ night. But have you heard of a bar without a menu or a hidden watering hole in a museum? To help you make the most of your nights out, we’ve searched high and low and uncovered these hidden bars that are slightly off the beaten path.
Cool hidden bars in Singapore
Let the drinks (and gin puns) BeGin. Hidden above English pub The Penny Black at Boat Quay, this gin-obsessed lounge might be easy to miss at first glance – a testament to a good speakeasy. Once you do spot it (follow the pink neon light sign that says ‘gin this way’), you’ll be transported to an eclectic space inspired by Britain’s Industrial Revolution and the gin craze in the 1700s. The drinks menu is filled with British- and Indian-inspired tipples, theatrical cocktails and over 50 gins from around the globe. House creations like the spice-heavy Jagmohan and the fragrant lavender will take you on a multi-sensory ride.
BeGin, 27A Boat Quay, The Penny Black (upstairs), Singapore 049817
The Elephant Room
Tucked away on a second floor shophouse (right above Burnt Ends), The Elephant Room joins a long list of bars scattered around Keong Saik. The bar picks up subtle nuances of Indian culture – think vermillion-coloured walls, lattice or jaali-patterned surfaces, and traditional sarong or lungi-embroidered coasters for decor. To sip, try innovative cocktails like the umami-packed King of Toddy – made with arrack, a distillate from toddy, buttermilk for nuttiness and topped with amaranth leaf and pickled palm seed. Another noteworthy tipple is Indian A.F., which is concocted with Old Monk rum, nostalgic kulfi ice cream, and fragrant pistachios and saffron, with yoghurt sorbet for garnish.
The Elephant Room, 20A Teck Lim Road, Singapore 088391
Taking up the space of the now-defunct Flagship, Jigger and Pony’s Live Twice transports you to another world akin to Wong Kar-wai movies, from the dim lighting to the wooden interiors to the eclectic mix of music playing in the background. Don’t expect saccharine cocktails at this hidden bar – instead, you’re presented with a line-up of spirit-forward cocktails. Take the Mizuwari, for example. It’s a blend of Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky and Nikka Coffey Malt Whisky that is steeped in a pot with Hokkaido soft water for a minimum of three days. The result? A potent drink that goes down smoother than butter on warm toast.
Live Twice, 20 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore 089834
Travel back to the 50s at this quaint colonial bar. Previously a canteen for the British Army back in 1953, Colbar is tucked along Whitchurch Road. Serving up a wide selection of craft beers and comforting Hainanese/Western grub, this bar’s selling point is its charming atmosphere. From a vintage weighing machine to historic photos of Colbar Football Club, the watering hole delivers a slice of old Singapore.
Colbar, 9A Whitchurch Road, Singapore 138839
Junior The Pocket Bar
Having moved to the Ann Siang Hill enclave, this pocket bar sports a bigger space while still retaining its nondescript, speakeasy demeanour. Aside from its rotating drinks menu, you can swig on exotic concoctions from the Homebrews & Highballs, Eat The Rich, Sour Grapes and Hopped Up wine and beer menus. Enjoyed the Washi concept? You can still devour the origami cocktails alongside substantial bar bites like mala hot chicken burger and tako wasabi.
Junior The Pocket Bar, 6 Ann Siang Hill, Singapore 069787
After a few twists and turns, no thanks to Google maps, you’ll find this award-winning hidden bar. Located on the second floor of an unassuming shophouse, Native has a succinct cocktail menu that changes from time to time. Vijay Mudaliar, the audacious fellow behind Native and its creations, focuses on foraging from his surroundings. Oh, and did we mention? You can have a quick tour of the microdistillery located above the bar for some boozy education.
Native, 52A Amoy Street, Singapore 069878
Both a cafe and a cocktail bar, Maison Ikkouku 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 for a glass!) – you can bet your bottom dollar any concoction’s gonna be ah-mazing.
Maison Ikkoku, 20 Kandahar Street, Singapore 198885
Bar Stories is one of those blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cocktail bars located at the lively Haji Lane. In fact, it’s touted as one of the first bespoke cocktail bars to open in Singapore. There’s no menu here; every drink is specially made for your palette and the bartenders don’t skim on presentation! Not sure what to get? Just ask the friendly peeps behind the counter and they’ll whip up the perfect tipple for you.
Bar Stories, 55/57A Haji Lane, Singapore 189248
While the gold-accented interior may insinuate upmarket, Gibson is far from a formal, stuffy bar experience. This hidden bar 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 seafood dishes like oysters and lobster rolls.
Gibson, Level 2, 20 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore 089832
The Other Room
Temporarily closed but available for delivery.
“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’s 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 from Foc.
The Other Room, #01-05, Marriott Hotel Singapore, 320 Orchard Road, Singapore 238865
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, enter the establishment via its unassuming entrance (look out for its easy-to-miss gold lettering sign) at the open-air carpark. Otherwise, make your way in from the front. Drinks-wise, expect playful cocktails like the yuzu shiso.
Bincho, #01-19, 78 Moh Guan Terrace, Singapore 162078
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 its technique down pat. Watch wide-eyed as the pros mix up classic drinks – this cool space isn’t the least bit intimidating.
The Horse’s Mouth, #B1-3, Forum The Shopping Mall, 583 Orchard Road, Singapore 238884
Bitters & Love
Don’t be fooled by the boarded up shopfront that’s littered with random scribbles. Push the door open, and you’ll see Bitters & Love is very much alive and bustling. You can throw out the menu because the bartenders at this bar will concoct something from the drink profile you provide. One drink they do really well? The kaya (coconut jam) toast cocktail, presented with bread and a dollop of the spread on top. Plus, a whimsical food menu makes sure you’re never hungry at this place, ever.
Bitters & Love, 118 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068587
Located on the third floor of an unassuming shophouse on Sago Street, the eponymous bar is a cosy nook for those looking to escape the daily grind of life. Think graffiti interiors, dim lighting and a rotating drink menu that’s written by chalk on a wall. Not sure what to get? These folks will give you the full spiel – but trust us when we say the cocktails are anything but pedestrian.
Sago House, 40B Sago Street, Singapore 059029
28 HongKong Street
Sans PR fanfare and signage out front, 28 HongKong Street is notorious for having snubbed the system in the most radical way when it first opened its doors. The place screams privacy and quiet with the nondescript entrance, but once inside, it’s safe to be social with a group of friends! The best part for tippleholics is the larger standard shot served here (as compared to the usual 30ml). Before you start your boozy night, fill up on hearty plates from the rotating Proper Dinner menu. Reservations are required; tables get snapped up faster than free ice cream – no kidding.
28 HongKong Street, 28 HongKong Street, Singapore 059667
The Spiffy Dapper
Inspired by 1920s speakeasy bars (Great Gatsby themed parties, anyone?), this place is a real diamond in the rough. With unpretentious old world charm, 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 to fun mixes.
The Spiffy Dapper, 73 Amoy Street, Singapore 069892
The Secret Mermaid
A Japanese eatery by day turned 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 distilleries 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, so go for the tasting flights and up your booze knowledge.
The Secret Mermaid, #B1-08, Ocean Financial Centre, 10 Collyer Quay Singapore, 049315
This hidden bar is too good not to share. On the outside, it looks like a typical tempura joint. And when you step in, you’ll still think the same. But as the saying goes, ‘not everything is what it seems’. The real fun lies behind the ordinary-looking double fridge. Open it and you’ll realise it’s the entrance to a very intimate bar: Brown Sugar. Drinks-wise, expect a wide range of sake, Japanese beers and spirits, which are used to concoct potent tipples.
Brown Sugar, 51 Kreta Ayer Road, Singapore 089008
Honourable mention: Burger Joint Singapore
Sure, it’s not technically a “pub”. But if you’re loitering on Amoy Street and you find yourself craving a divine burger and a cold one, this hidden burger place has unique beers on tap. Skip over to Gemmill Lane (the back alley) and you’ll bump into a few monochrome doors. Keep an eye out for a neon burger sign – that’s your entrance. A quick walk down a curtained corridor and you will have found the perfect pre-gaming joint.
Burger Joint Singapore, #01-03, 115 Amoy Street, Singapore 069935
Time to go on a hunt to find all these secret bars in Singapore!