A retro-luxe cocktail bar inspired by the Golden Age of air travel, Idlewild at Intercontinental Singapore takes you on a trip of sorts
If you’ve been paying attention and stalking our Instagram/Facebook like you rightly should, you’ll notice a slew of Hot New Bars, one more alluring than the other. And bringing international flavours, techniques and craziness to our island are bartenders hell-bent on experimenting. So put down the old-fashioned, and give everything else a whirl.
Meet Idlewild, the newest entrant on Singapore’s bar scene. Fun fact: Idlewild was New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport before it was renamed in 1963 to honour the 35th President of USA. A retro-luxe cocktail bar at Intercontinental Singapore, it’s inspired by the Golden Age (1940 – 1960) of air travel. And piloting the journey is award-winning Kiwi bartender Andy Griffiths who has put together an exciting and intriguing concept bar.
Jet in and escape to a more glamorous and romantic era where everything was first-class and ‘economy’ was not an option. Its lounge-like decor with rounded edges, dim lighting and delightful curious from all over the world is worth noting. Adding to the ambience are the little things like tasselled light fixtures, smoked mirrors, the black and white photographs, marble inlays on wooden flooring and copious amounts of velvet and leather.
A time travelling lounge
How about cocktails fit for a globetrotter, live entertainment, exotic bar bites and one helluva list of spirits? Yes, there’s also a well-curated list of craft beers, refined wines, celebratory champagne and a rather curious collection of rare spirits stashed away at the back.
Oh, that Cabinet of Curiosities though! A bright and glistening treasure chest, it’s the Narnia wardrobe equivalent for a spirits connoisseur. It holds rare bottles, antiques found along the transatlantic route, old paper clippings and luggage tags even. Right now, it holds 55 spirits but Andy is working on upping that to a cool 150 soon. No, the pretty things and paraphernalia are not to sale, but the off-menu alcohol can be yours if you ask.
Drink the world
So what’s on the menu? Open that little passport-esque menu to find 20 artfully created cocktails inspired by 10 cities along the Transatlantic Route. If you do the math, you’d know that every destination has two concoctions to its name and at least one bar bite. We’ll be going back time and again for the Passage to Havana that brings Cuban rum, sherries, Foro Amaro and tobacco tincture together in a glass of herbal, heaty goodness. And then there’s French Cook – not a person, this drink (evidently inspired by Paris) blends Citadelle gin with French liquor, sparkling wine that lends its frizziness and lemon. Sour, potent yet playfully frizz, it’s served with a wormwood jelly as a nod to 1940s Parisian Absinthe.
The bites are also meant to take you on a trip. From all the tapas style bar food we tried out, the oxtail croquette (inspo: Ireland) with garlic aioli and the fried avo coated with almonds stood out. Then there is the Mexico City-inspired sweet treat made from 66% single origin Mexique Cremeux and chocolate is light… just the right amount of sweet, hazelnutty and entirely addictive.
Tune into the Golden Age
Stroll in for an eclectic and unique playlist from the 1940s – 60s. Everything from funk and soul to swing and blues will compel you to sway. Dominating the stage for the opening month is London-born singer-songwriter Janine Annice accompanied by a four-piece house band. Their postmodern renditions of pop-hits will brighten up your day.
Long story short: Idlewild is a thematic and sophisticated space that promises a unique experience. While the cocktail menu is a nod to exotic flavours and drinking cultures, the space itself (coupled with postmodern tunes) is a journey back in time. So, wing it and try whatever calls out to you…
Idlewild, 80 Middle Road, Singapore 188966
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