From cool concepts (including one we’d never get to experience in Singapore) to innovative tipples, this edition of hot new bars is a real treat.
Oh, you’ll like this edition. This month, the cocktail scene in Singapore is leaving no wiggle room for mediocrity. Go forth and challenge your palette with drinks inspired by (and taste just like) Asian fare or vibe hard at a swanky new concept that you’ll never experience elsewhere in Singapore. Presenting our list of Hot New Bars in October.
Hot New Tipples: Junior Bar presents Petite Chalet
Is this Junior Bar’s most random concept ever? The answer is a big fat yes and we’re totally digging it. Probably the first-ever ski lodge-inspired concept in Singapore, Petite Chalet takes you inside a ski cabin from the 70s, warming up the petite bar with vintage signage, skis, snowshoes and disco Europop earworms. Look out for a vintage cuckoo clock too! Tapping into the 1970s après ski scene, the cocktail menu is split into four seasons and shines light on alpine liqueurs.
Try Death in the Treeline (above), a wintery daiquiri with a nod to the Hemingway classic or the Tyrolean Hat from the autumn section for a refreshing kick and a hint of tartness. All cocktails are $25++. The bar doesn’t skim on delish bar bites, spoiling us with chicken schnitzel bites ($13++) accompanied with spiced pear ketchup and massive housemade Bavarian pretzels ($7++) with a sweet onion mustard dip.
Junior The Pocket Bar, 43 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088464
Hot New Tipples: Alley Bar
We don’t know about you but we can’t help but roll our eyes when a bar screams, “pretentious”. AlleyBar is far from that – in fact, it wants patrons to have a fun night without spending too much time hovering over what to order. Hence the fabulous and straightforward cut-out menu that highlights the flavour profile of each cocktail. Featuring eight new classics with a twist of local ingredients, AlleyBar pays homage to Singapore’s colonial era and Peranakan heritage.
We kept reaching for the Black Cat Sour, not your average whiskey sour as it’s concocted with dried plum-infused Bulleit bourbon and Fernet Branca for herbal notes. Lapsang Souchong is the way to go if your heart desires a full-bodied drink. You’ll definitely get some oohs and aahs around the table for Milo Banana-Rum-A, an elevated version of the childhood classic and the Salted Caramel Popcorn which has the perfect balance of sweetness and caramel notes. Who could turn down a glass of liquid popcorn? All cocktails are priced at $20++. FYI: AlleyBar has officially merged with Black Nut.
AlleyBar, 2 Emerald Hill Rd, Peranakan Place, Singapore 229287
Hot New Tipples: Mona Lounge
Those who’ve visited Mona’s Lounge know the drill – get a secret password from Sum Yi Tai on the first floor and enter the speakeasy via the spiral staircase. You’re immediately transported to a swanky and glamourous waterhole reminiscent of 80s Hong Kong. Her latest masterpiece? A swish drinks menu motivated by Cantonese and Singaporean grub. The menu has doubled in size, boasting at least 20 drinks sectioned into courses of mains, drinks and desserts.
Highlights include the Longevity Spritzer ($16++), a TCM-inspired G&T concocted with chrysanthemum gin and Suze, and Morning Toast ($20++) for sweet tooths – shaken with rum, egg yolk, coconut cream and pandan syrup and topped with toast and butter a la kaya toast. But we were most intrigued with the mains disguised as tipples – boozy bak kut teh and liquid sweet and sour pork, anyone?
You read that right, the Supper Slipper ($22++) is served warm with housemade bak kut teh, Bulleit Rye, oolong syrup and you tiao. Sweet & Sour ($20++) has myriad elements including tequila (we’re already sold), housemade sweet & sour sauce, pineapple shrub, cocktail onion juice and burnt onion. The devil is in the blow-torched miniature onions which immediately elevates the drink, taking you straight to this popular zi char dish. End your night on a high with Sweet Soup ($20++) or cheng tng as the locals call it, a refresher with whisky, longan vermouth, pandan syrup and gingko nuts.
Mona Lounge, 25B Boon Tat St, Level 2, Singapore 069622
Hot New Tipples: Hendrick’s Orbium
Step into an alternate universe with Hendrick’s Orbium, the gin label’s new experimental, quininated gin. Hendrick’s alter-ego, if you must. One sip and you’re hit with a familiar taste, now layered with hints of floral notes. That’s ‘cos it’s infused with quinine, wormwood and blue lotus blossom extract along with the usual base of cucumber rose and 11 botanicals. We tried four cocktails during the launch and were drawn to the martini, which had the perfect balance of bitter and sweet. Hendrick’s Orbium may not be available for sale, but you can try experimental cocktails made with this juniper juice at 16 participating bars across the island.
Mo Bar (pictured above), has created Lupus, a concoction of hops-infused Cocchi Americano, Manzanilla sherry and blue lotus tea tincture (available till the end of the month). Other places such as Manhattan, Jigger & Pony, Tippling Club and 28 HongKong Street will also be whipping out Orbium cocktails till the end of October. Can’t make it in time? IB HQ, Atlas, Madame Fan, Oxwell & Co and Nutmeg and Clove will be adding Orbium cocktails to their menus.
Hendrick’s Orbium, available at select bars islandwide
Hot New Tipples: Fat Prince
We went for the food but there’s no harm in nursing a delish tipple or two – especially when there’s a new “koktail” programme helmed by Head Bartender Shallum Recto. No surprises for guessing what this Middle Eastern restaurant has in store – innovative tipples inspired by spices and exotic flavours of the region, of course. Marsh Attak ($20++), made with 42 Below Vodka, espresso, peanut butter and topped with a toasted marshmallow, and Mary En Rose ($20++), a Bloody Mary-esque cocktail crafted with mezcal and housemade harissa sauce were standouts.
Fat Prince, 48 Peck Seah Street #01-01, Singapore 079317
Hot New Bar: Pinball Wizard
From the creators of Nineteen80, arises another concept that takes you to the glory days of the 80s and 90s. Pinball Wizard breathes life to the basement of Sim Lim Square with technicolour funk aesthetics, whimsically creative cocktails, anthemic music from the 90s to current jams and of course, vintage pinball games. Cocktails range between cheeky signature numbers and twists such as the psychedelic colour-changing Flower Power ($18++) and Glitter Shooters ($80 nett for 10 shots) to The Salty White Russian ($18++) and Negroni Spritzer ($18++).
Pinball Wizard, Sim Lim Square (Entrance facing Prinsep Street) #B1-29, 1 Rochor Canal Road Singapore 188504
Hot New Bar: The Elephant Room
Vermillion-coloured walls, traditional lungi-embroidered coasters and almost-psychedelic tunes by Indian diasporas playing in the ground – The Elephant Room (read our full review) has smatterings of an Indian-inspired bar but it’s more than that. Owner-bartender Yugnes Susela (of Smoke and Mirrors fame) taps into the lesser-known side of culturally-rich India. The seven-drink menu is heavily inspired by our very own Little India or Tekka as the locals call it. There’s even a drink with the aforementioned moniker. A popular choice, Tekka is spiked with Old Monk rum and garnished with deep-fried banana skin with blobs of lime cream and specks of chicken65 powder for a salty-spicy kick. The refreshing Buffalo Road is a take on your classic G&T but those with a unique palate should try Beeda Man. It’s a mix of sour mango rum, caraway and jeera goli. Trivia: Beeda (or paan) is served as an Indian after-dinner mouth refresher. All drinks at priced at $22++.
We came for the tipples but the bar bites definitely left an impression. Try Desker Road ($13++), pani puri filled with avial (a South Indian vegetable dish) and coconut moringa crumble; Tamarind Curry Prawns ($21++) served with flat bread reminded us of a solid fish curry but with massive grilled tiger prawns. Simply divine.
The Elephant Room, 20A Teck Lim Road Singapore 088391