Singapore transforms itself into a vibrant city after sunset. It turns into an entertainment hub that can put many major cities around the world to shame. From eclectic bars to entire areas dedicated to night revellers – Singapore has it all. My trip to Singapore wouldn’t have been complete without a sneak peek into the buzzing nightlife scene. Areas such as Clarke Quay and Club Street offer multiple options in a single area, making it super popular for pub hops.
Personally, I found Clarke Quay a bit too touristy but it’s really up to what exactly you’re looking for. I prefer Club Street at Ann Siang Hill for the number of bars one street offers. Lolla is also situated in this area. Every Friday and Saturday, the street is closed to traffic and made entirely for pedestrians. All the bars, post 6 pm, set up tables on the street, allowing customers to relax without traffic bothering them. Here are some of the bars that I visited:
Nutmeg & Clove
17 Ann Siang RoadIt’s a locally inspired bar that puts a twist to their cocktails with different eras of colonial trade. They play jazz music and have an eight-seater long bar. I spotted a table of four occupied by corporate and another table celebrating a bachelorette so they attract a mixed crowd. The decor is inspired by a traditional Chinese medicine hall or apothecary with small drawers and antique touches. There’s 1965 ($22) a celebration of Singapore’s 50 years of independence; Forbidden Fruit ($18) with a hint of rose water; and the Good Ole Fashion Revolution ($20) with a pandan infused rye whiskey.
7 Ann Siang RoadCocktail bars are plenty but good cocktail bars are a dime and dozen these days. Operation Dagger is a bar like no other. They have truly set the standard when it comes to a great bar. Finding the place is a challenge as they don’t have a signboard; just a logo scribbled on the wall behind Oxwell & Co. You have to tread down a flight of dimly lit stairs to enter. When I first entered, I got a strong whiff of burning star anise and hay. What the heck is hay doing at a bar? You won’t find stacks of commercially made alcohol here. They distil their spirits in-house and stock them in labelled, brown bottles. The bar is owned by Luke Whearty, an award-winning bartender who has worked at the highly acclaimed Tippling Club. Luke recommends their Hot & Cold ($25) which is served in a clear glass so that you can see two distinct layers, a snow white foam floating on top of a bright yellow liquid. The foam is warm and the liquid nice and cold, giving a great contrast in texture and temperatures. It’s infused with lavender and I absolutely loved it. The Egg ($25) is a visually stunning drink. Serving in a small cup, the drink is placed inside a jar partially filled with hay and star anise. The hay-anise mix is flambéed to nicely smoke your drink. The drink itself has a creamy sweetness at first, and then the salted egg liquor kicks in. Another unusual drink is the Chocolate Pinot ($22) that any wine lover can find intriguing.
Oxwell & Co
5 Ann Siang RoadBefore Luke Whearty opened Operation Dagger, he set up Oxwell & Co a stone’s throw away. I quite like this place for its informal setup. Serena, the manager here, is a great person to chat with. The bar is known for its unique ‘cocktails on tap’ concept. Instead of bartenders making cocktails a la minute, here they simply pour it out of a tap before serving it to you. I had one drink here and ordered it a few more times because it was so damn good – Pina Colada ($18) topped with coconut cream meringue and flambéed. Don’t be shy about messing up your face drinking it; it’s part of the charm.
28 Hong Kong Street
Ummm… 28 Hong Kong StreetDon’t let the non-descript entry fool you. There’s no signage to show you how you can enter this bar. In fact, it looks like a locked door from the outside, but a gentle shove takes you into a discreet bar which is absolutely marvellous. The bar oozes sex appeal with dim lights and a lot of privacy. There is no flash photography allowed and rightly so. In Singapore a standard shot is 30ml but here it is 45ml. Cheers to that! This bar makes it to the top bars list in Singapore every year and one must visit to just get a sense of amazing it is. Here you can try their super potent 28 Days Later ($25) a mix of tropical fruits and “zombie rum”; Slip Me A Mickey ($20) or an emoticon titled drink made by Zdenek Kastanek for ($22). Under each cocktail you will find the creators name so pick your favourite. When it comes to bar food, these guys do it right with their delicious Truffle Mac n’ Cheeseballs ($12), Oyster Po Boy ($18), and Chicken & Waffles ($16) drizzled with bourbon spiked maple syrup.