Above image: Drinks from 28 HongKong Street’s Brenda’s Bad Hand section
It’s always great to see venues reinventing themselves and showcasing just how creative and boundary-pushing bars in Singapore can be.
At these following places, brand spanking new menus are now available to slake your thirst. From cocktails made using locally-fermented ingredients, to a four-bar crawl under one roof, these old favourites are here to please.
If you ever wanted to do a bar hop all in one venue, local craft cocktail scene pioneer 28 HongKong Street is now the place to do it at. The bar team there has created a 4-part menu featuring drinks inspired by 4 very different concepts – Sin & Misery at the Oldham, Brenda’s Bad Hand, Halogen, and the namesake 28 HongKong Street.
The Pickleback Sour (S$25), a full portioned and elevated version of the pickleback shot, stands out with its briny moreishness and layered flavours. But it’s the Fancy Champagne Cocktail (S$35) that surprisingly got us hooked. A mix of Ferrand 10 Generations Cognac, nori black sugar, and Telmont Champagne, this is one complex and bougie drink that is actually worth every dollar spent.
For Italian classic cocktails and twists on classics done well, Da Paolo is actually a great place to go, especially with their latest bar refresh. Though well known for their food (we highly recommend the Carbonara Calabrese), this household name in Italian hospitality serves up a good range of concoctions, wines, and beers that hit the spot.
We love their wide range of Negroni variations, including the Ako, a sakura-inspired white version that is both pretty to look at while being sublime to drink. Try the Bridge of Sighs (S$24), a take on the Aperol Spritz but more bitter and citrusy thanks to good use of blood orange, gin, and bitters. We’re tempted to give the Porthole By You (S$49) a go one day, a guided experience where you’ll get the chance to make your own cocktail infusion.
We’ve been waiting for this one a long time, and we’re so glad it’s finally happened. Natural wine purveyor Drunken Farmer, following its nighttime takeover of sister brand Common Man outlets at Stanley Street and Joo Chiat, has brought its brand of funk and fun to the Martin Road store too, giving the Robertson Quay enclave a great new nocturnal offering.
Natural wines take centre stage as usual, with over 50 labels of curated bottles to pick from. Browse the labels at the display fridges, or have the sommeliers recommend their favourites for you – there is the option to have three selected glasses for just S$50. We personally enjoyed the Lammidia (S$22/glass), a bright and funky orange wine, as well as the herbaceous and mineral Lise et Bertrand Jousset (S$19/glass), Drunken Farmer’s own label of white.
Ever innovative, the team at Gibson, now lead by principal bartender Gregory Camillo, has just released their new signature cocktail menu, Chimera. Meant to reflect the diverse flavours of Asia, the Asian produce-forward bar programme continues its exploration of the interesting and unique with use of the unconventional.
The Coffee Shochu Martini is easily the highlight. A combination of salted caramel rum, Sundays coffee shochu, Mhoba Rum, coffee cordial, and shiitake powder, it is dense and earthy, with just the right amount of caffeine to perk up the palate. Then there’s the sleeper hit, the Sugarcane Spritz, that’s made using a base of cachaca and a sugarcane wine produced specifically for Gibson by fermentation collective Starter Culture. All drinks are S$25.
In recognition of its 3rd year anniversary in Singapore, the Saigon-hailing restaurant and taproom is not only dishing out new items, but throwing a whole weekend of feasting and drinking as well to really bring on the celebratory vibe.
From September 24-25, the weekend is being dedicated to a free-flowing revelry of craft beers and its new food menu of Tex-Mex with an Asian influence. On Saturday, for S$88, drink as much as you want from their taps for 3 hours, including their limited-edition brews. Then on Sunday, for S$58, a bottomless serving of food awaits, including new items such as the okonomiyaki fries and char siew beef short ribs. Feel free to add on a four-beer pairing curated by the experts for just S$30.