A fun history lesson about gin, cocktails named after Brit-pop hits, craft beer on tap – February’s Hot New Bars are quite the mix.
A new month, a new slew of exciting bars hit the scene. Once you’ve moved past the whole Lunar New Year frenzy, look to these bars for craft beer on tap, the origins of gin, a cool new concept that celebrates tiki traditions and all things British. Presenting our latest Hot New Bars roundup!
A gin-inspired speakeasy at Boat Quay
Let the drinks (and gin puns) Begin. Hidden upstairs the English pub Penny Black on Boat Quay, it might be easy to miss Begin at first glance – a testament to a good speakeasy amirite? Once you do spot it (follow the pink neon light sign that says ‘gin this way’) be prepared to be transported to an industrial-esque space from Britain’s Industrial Revolution and the gin craze in the 1700s. Quick gin-story lesson: gin was produced in abandoned workshops to evade the ban and they recreated it right here. Expect exposed brick walls, concrete floor, retro high stools and old-school tools used as decor. The drinks menu is filled with British-Indian-inspired tipples, theatrical cocktails and over 50 gins from around the globe.
For starters, gin lovers will enjoy the Gin Flight ($28) a tasting flight of four spirits from The Foundation of Gin (Genever) to the 2nd Gin Renaissance like the familiar Hendrick’s gin. House creations like the spice-heavy Jagmohan ($25) to the fragrant Lavender ($25) will take you on a multi-sensory ride. If you’re feeling peckish, Samboo-sa pasties (tandoori chicken masala curry puffs) and the Nacho Del Goa (prawns and papadum bites) pack a punch.
Begin, 27a Boat Quay, The Penny Black Upstairs, Singapore 049817
Junior presents Pacifica: a homage to tiki traditions
Junior’s latest concept, Pacifica celebrates all things Polynesian, paying homage to the authentic tiki. The Pacifica menu is split into four interesting parts, Legends of Liquid Lore, Apertiki, Traditional Tipples of the Tropics and Progressive Potions of Pacifica – all backed with artisanal exotic spirits and fresh seasonal ingredients. Legends of Liquid Lore will have you sipping on iconic classics like Zombie ($25) and Mai Tai ($25) paired with Pacifica’s ‘modern contemporary’ takes. You be the judge and tells us who wins in the classic-versus-contemporary battle. Apertiki is great for low ABV cocktails like Pāhoa ($21) a “tiki-fied” version of the Aperol Spritz with grapefruit and passionfruit. But we’ve got eyes on Plainkiller ($25) from Traditional Tipples of the Tropics. It’s an underrated Tiki classic concocted with a base of Aged Plantation Original Dark Rum and a funky rum from St. Lucia, refreshing pineapple, orange and toasted coconut and – wait for it – black tapioca pearls (bubble tea boba) soaked in nutmeg and allspice liqueur. What a dream.
Pacifica at Junior, 43 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088464 (Entrance in the alley on Cook Street.)
British takeover at The Monarchy
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about The Monarchy. This swanky British bar oozes understated opulence, making you feel like royalty right as you step in. The space screams Britain on steroids – portraits of The Royals to pop icons can be found at every corner and VIP tables are named after icons like Winston Churchill, George Michael and John Lennon. Even the cocktail list, Cool Brittania is a play on one of Britain’s most patriotic songs ‘’Rule Brittania’. Try cocktails like Bitter Sweet Symphony ($22) vodka stirred with passionfruit, wormwood syrup, absinthe and prosecco, Mr. Churchill Says ($22) gin sans the tonic and Message in a Bottle ($23) a tasty treat of Scotch whisky, Dubonnet, sweet vermouth, orange liqueur and Maraschino – yes, they’re named after Brit-pop hits.
The Monarchy, 56 / 58 Tras Street Singapore 078995
Craft beer showers at Almost Famous
This unpretentious bar knows what makes for a great night out: craft beer, comfort food and good company. Have a penchant for craft beers? You’re going to love Almost Famous. With a curated menu of sessionable brews, premium craft beers, rich stouts and limited edition seasonal brews from local and overseas breweries, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Select from the 16 rotational beers on tap from breweries like Brewlander & Co. from Singapore, Pirate Life Brewing from Australia, BrewDog from Scotland, Pilsner Urquell from Czech Republic and much, much more. Oh and we’re loving the whole minimalist vibe!
Almost Famous, 30 Victoria Street Chijmes #01-06 Singapore 187996