The boundaries of traditional cocktail-making, incorporating the likes of molecular gastronomy and quintessentially Asian flavours in their brews, it’s unsurprising that our bars here have made its way onto coveted lists of the best bars in the world.
And deservedly so; the cocktail scene here is anything but dull and predictable. At Native, founder Vijay designed a cocktail called Antz that – yes – actually features ants. You’ll also find clever spins on classic beverages like a savoury bacon and bourbon milkshake called ‘Piggyback’ at OverEasy, delicious local interpretations on all-time favourites like the Kampong Colada at The Palmary and street food inspired tipples like a Bak Kut Teh cocktail at Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall.
We’ve outlined the best bars in Singapore that are at the foreground of brilliant and experimental cocktail making – browse them in the gallery above!
This homey, all-American diner is perhaps best known for dishing out classic comfort dishes - which makes it only inevitable that its Piggyback immediately caught our eye on the menu. This candied bacon and bourbon milkshake concoction manages to hit all the sweet and savoury notes for a flavour harmony that we surprisingly like. And if you like staying ahead of the food trends, you'll want to try The Elderflower Mojito. Elderflower is touted to be one of the major food trends to watch in 2018, giving the likes of quinoa and kale a run for its money. OverEasy has created a delightfully refreshing brew of rum, elderflower, apple juice and mint that will perfectly complement your meal.
Address: OverEasy One Fullerton, 1 Fullerton Road, #01-06, 049213
2. Smoke and Mirrors
This swanky rooftop bar at the National Gallery Singapore has just introduced its all-new cocktail menu. Helmed by Head Bartender Yugnes Susela and his team, the menu features ten progressive cocktails that cleverly employs culinary techniques to artfully present an intricate play on names, presentation and flavours in their cocktail brews. The eye-catching M.C - N.L (pictured above in the middle) is a vision in itself, and consists of a flavour medley made with cacao-infused vodka, sweet vermouth, pineapple juice, coconut nectar and Pu'er tea.
Address: National Gallery Singapore, 1 St. Andrew's Road, #06-01 Singapore 178957
3. Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall
This hidden watering hole has some pretty extraordinary cocktail concoctions with an unmistakable local twist. Its Laksa Cocktail is a truly one-of-a-kind creation, featuring a shrimp vodka paired with a side of dimsums, while its Bak Kut Teh is a surprisingly authentic take on the much-loved pork rib dish, even served with a Yu Cha Kwai on the side. We also love its Kopi O (pictured above), which is actually convincingly prepared in a Kopitiam-style coffee cup.
Address: 60A Boat Quay Singapore 049848
4. The Container
The Container is an al-fresco restaurant that serves tapas and drinks, which include the much-raved about Wagyu Whisky. If you love beef and whisky, you'll love this alcoholic marriage of the two ingredients. Opt to swig this drink down on the rocks or neat (the latter is recommended). For a sweeter alternative, try the Amai Sanaa (SGD19), which uses the wagyu whisky as a base intensified by sweet strawberry notes.
Address: 78 Boat Quay, Singapore 049866
5. The Palmary
This atmospheric fusion dining restaurant is strategically located in a beautiful three-storey restored war transitional shop house along Owen Road. Its Kampong Colada, described on the menu as a regular pina colada just with "richer, bolder, local flavours", features a dark coconut rum, coconut cream, palm, pineapple and lime juice - a truly Singaporean spin on the classic pina colada. Its Pandan Old Fashioned is also another local twist on a classic drink, featuring Bourbon, honey pandan and bitters.
Address: 142 Owen Rd, Singapore 218941
6. Tess Bar and Kitchen
Tess Bar and Kitchen, situated in a former conservation shophouse along Seah Street, prides itself on its creative and modern pairing of bar and kitchen offerings. Helmed by award-winning bartender Steve Leong, the bar serves its brilliant interpretations of modern classics as well as bespoke cocktails - like the Seah St Power Nasi Lemak (pictured above). If you love Nasi Lemak and all the latest dishes riding on this food trend, you'll love this drink. It is made with a Tanqueray No. 10 gin, barley with pandan syrup, fresh coconut water, fresh lemon juice and of course, sambal chilli.
Address: 38 Seah Street
7. Opus Bar and Grill
Opus Bar and Grill's Kaya Toast Martini is quite literally the martini iteration of everyone's favourite kopitiam breakfast dish. This mildly sweet concoction is a pleasant brew of barley water, kaya jam, Ketel One Vodka and lemon juice - topped with a kaya-coated toast, of course.
The Powder Room is located right above the sleek The Black Swan, furnished and inspired by an actual powder room, with fun cocktails worthy of its name. Powder My Nose is a sweet brew of salted caramel vodka, passion fruit, mint, and apple juice, while the BB King is a delightful mixture of banana whisky, smoked maple syrup and - interestingly enough - BBQ bitters.
Address: 19 Cecil Street Singapore 049704
You might know Native from its aptly named drink, the Antz, a surprisingly delicious cocktail served with coconut yogurt, aged sugarcane juice, Chalong Bay rum, and ants foraged from around Ann Siang Hill. The head bartender Vijay Mudaliar regularly features spirits from around the region, and occasionally uses foraged ingredients to inject some pizzazz to his one-of-a-kind-brews.
Address: 52A Amoy Street
10. The Rabbit Hole
It's no secret that former-chapel-turned-restaurant The Rabbit Hole (located adjacent to The White Rabbit) is one of the prettiest watering holes in the city. While their drinks menu is perhaps more conservative in its flavours (there's none of the extraordinary flavoured concoction of cocktails here) its specially tailor-made Gin Programme certainly warrants a visit. Possibly the only place in Singapore that does this, the bar boasts one of the widest gin selections in Singapore, featuring different taste profiles paired with their own tonics. Their tonic is extracted through a siphon and finished with condiments like olives and rosemary leaves for an aromatic touch.
Address: 39C Harding Road Singapore 249541
Loof is certainly no novice to the craft cocktails scene - this trendy and whimsical rooftop bar in Odeon towers boasts quirkily-named dishes and drinks with unconventional local twists. Take the Kaya Lumpur, for instance: a truly distinctive blend of pineapple rum, kaya house bitters and fresh basil. Or the punny Kopi Cat, delightfully Singaporean-inspired concoction of salted caramel vodka, kopi, hazelnut, condensed milk and orgeat. Loof also puts its own creative (and boozy) spins on your favourite childhood drinks like the Loof Bubble Tea (its bubble tea rendition featuring vodka, gin run, orange liquer - complete with tapioca pearls) and Stylo Milo (a spiced rum and Milo mixture).
Address: 331 North Bridge Road #03-07 Odeon Towers
12. Operation Dagger
Operation Dagger was voted 'Best New Bar' at the Singapore Bar Awards in 2015, and still continues to be one of our favourite haunts for a truly distinctive and sensory cocktail experience. Truly a hidden gem, this basement cocktail bar is tucked away in a nondescript corner along a back alley at Ann Siang Hill. Its entrance leads to a dingy staircase that takes you to the truly atmospheric bar, which lies under a fascinating cloud of light bulbs. Its cocktail creations are delightfully innovative: its Rikyu, for one, is a twist on the traditional Japanese tea ceremony and uses a spirit derived from a malted rice base, while the G.O.A.T is a gin concoction interestingly infused with goat’s cheese. One of its cocktails even requires you to drink a traditional Japanese-style bowl - much as you would a hot soup.