Let's toast to one of the best cocktail destinations in the world.
Singapore is famous for its local delicacies (including those in our list of 13 Things You Must Eat in Singapore), but Singapore is in fact also a craft cocktail destination. While the cocktail scene is relatively young, it has grown rapidly and Singapore has even started its own cocktail festival. Bartenders from all over the world are slinging drinks behind the bars in Singapore, some of which have rightfully claimed the fame as the best bars in the world. The cocktail community has also begun to highlight local ingredients and culture through their drinks. To get a taste of the Singapore cocktail scene, here are 10 cocktail bars to drink at while in Singapore.
This small Chinatown bar forages for their own local ingredients and tend to use relatively local (from Asia) spirits such as arrak from Sri Lanka or jackfruit rum. Founder Vijay Mudaliar is not only committed to sustainability but also to connect cocktails to the local roots. The menu frequently changes with the seasons and availability of ingredients but the unique drinks never disappoint. For the adventurous, opt for a cocktail made using foraged ants or grasshoppers. What Native lacks in opulence, it makes up in taste and creativity: Native is currently ranked as the second-best bar in all of Singapore and the accolade is well-deserved.
Manhattan Bar inside the Regent Hotel has been on the list of the five best bars in the world. Stepping into Manhattan Bar recalls the golden age of New York City. The bar offers more than 150 whiskeys and is also the first in the world to craft solera-aged Negronis in the hotel’s own rickhouse cocktail. The cocktail menu traverses the different eras of cocktail history and there are always barrel-aged cocktails on hand considering the more than 100 casks aging in the rickhouse at all times.
A grand art deco temple of cocktails inspired by the Jazz Age, Atlas Bar is a sight to behold and a pleasure to drink at. Located in the lobby of the Parkview Square building between Bugis and Kampong Glam, Atlas Bar holds a three-story tower filled with over a thousand bottles of gin. The bar’s Juniper Society also plays host to members-only events and gin tastings. The bar focuses on gin and champagne cocktails but offers plenty of other spirits as well. Atlas Bar’s expansive and opulent lounge means this is the bar to go to impress and have a conversation.
28 Hong Kong Street
Opened quietly in 2011 behind an unmarked door, 28 Hong Kong Street was at the forefront of the Singapore craft cocktail movement and it was named the best bar in Asia at the very first Asia’s 50 Best Bars Award. Years later, the speakeasy bar remains one of Singapore’s top cocktail destinations with its creative concoctions and energetic vibe. Pair the drinks with their small bites menu of elevated comfort food.
Not only is Tippling Club an award-winning restaurant, it has also been pushing the mixology boundaries in Singapore since 2008. Current head bartender Andrew Loudon works closely with Chef Ryan Clift to create the cocktails, which are often inspired by a culinary creation. Imbibers can choose between the no-reservation bar or book a dinner reservation to pair the innovative cocktails with Chef Ryan Clift’s modern cooking.
Nutmeg & Clove
For the cocktail connoisseurs wanting to taste true local flavors, Nutmeg & Clove is the cocktail bar to go to. The “Flavour and Memories” menu is inspired by the William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings from the 19th century and uses herbs, fruits, spices, and other ingredients commonly found in Singapore. The menu consists of twelve classics and twelve modern cocktails. There is a variation of Singapore Sling, of course, but also a cocktail made with crab and a martini with salted mackerel.
Bitters & Love
Bitters & Love has a small but nice signature cocktail menu, but the best way to experience this bar is through their bespoke cocktails. Guests can tell the bartenders their preferences to have a cocktail made especially for them. The speakeasy relocated to a 19th-century shophouse in Telok Ayer a few years ago, and the fans have followed. Drink and bar bites prices are approachable, but for those looking for more, ask the bartenders for some of the rare spirits they’ve collected for an even more special bespoke cocktail.
Hong Kong’s award-winning Old Man opened its Singapore outpost in early 2019. Since the original Hong Kong location was named the best bar in Asia in 2019, the new location has unsurprisingly made waves in the Singapore cocktail scene. The menu currently replicates the original menu in Hong Kong. The new location of the Hemingway-inspired bar is twice as big as the original bar and includes a mini-laboratory where the bartenders create drinks such as The Snows of Kilimanjaro made with marshmallow gin, citrus, lacto-fermented raspberries, and gruyere cheese.
Jigger & Pony
The sultry bar and lounge Jigger & Pony specializes in classic cocktails and martinis, including highlighting lesser-known classic cocktails from Asia. Their magazine-like menu offers a wonderful lesson in cocktails and cocktail history for those still getting their feet wet in the bar world and their renditions of the classics can stand on their own against the best in the world. Bar director Aki Eguchi created Little Red Door to compete in the Diageo World Class Competition finals–the drink is made with gin, lychee liqueur, raspberry, grapefruit, and rose water.
From the team behind Jigger & Pony comes this cocktail and seafood bar with a casual vibe. The namesake cocktail, the Gibson, is of course a must-try here, made with a homemade Ginjo sake vermouth. Beyond the classic cocktails, Gibson Bar’s seasonal menu also highlights Southeast Asian ingredients from starfruit to pandan. Sip on the sweet potato Old Fashioned or pair the Always Summer made with gin coconut sorbet and sparkling sake with some oysters during the oyster happy hour.