Visiting a cocktail bar is about good drink, but it is also very much about good company. Guests form an affinity with the bartender and frequent the place because of the bond (no matter how libation-driven it is) they form.
At the newly opened Club Street Wine Room, we have finally found the wine bar equivalent of that experience – and therein lies the magic and allure of this daring venture by Andrew Walsh’s Cure Concepts (Cure, Butcher Boy, Catfish).
Just like a cocktail bar, feel free to pull up a seat by the bar counter and sip on wines while shooting the breeze with the bartender, which in this case, is a sommelier. And if the somm behind the bar that night happens to be Amir Solay, you can be sure you’re in good hands.
Too often, wine has a reputation for taking itself too seriously, but Solay, who is head sommelier and operations director at Club Street Wine Room, has that uncanny ability to bring down the walls surrounding the world of wine, while still imparting knowledge and tidbits of information that helps elevate the experience at the same time.
And there’s such a breadth and depth of wines here that even those who know their vino will have a fine time combing over. You’ve got your classic reds, whites and bubblies (prices start from S$16/glass), and then there are the natural wines too, covering everything from pet-nats to orange wines, and even one that is made from actual orange juice.
There are also amphorae wines on the list, such as the Chateau Kefraya Collection Amphora 2018 (S$29/glass; S$88/carafe; S$175/bottle), which are essentially vino aged in terracotta clay vessels (just like they did in ancient times) rather than in oak casks. To reflect that practice, these wines are served in mini amphora decanters, as a way to visually heighten the provenance of that wine.
We even encountered a wine from Portugal – the Natural Art Series Orange, Quinta do Javali 2019 (S$26/glass; S$78/carafe; S$155/bottle) – where the producer collaborated with Singaporean artist Sarah Choo Jing to create the labels for the limited-edition bottlings. It’s a nice touch, and at least on some level, helps bridge the very different worlds of winemaking and local art.
Then there are the sea-aged wines – bottlings that have spent time under the sea to condition the liquids, often enhancing them with unique properties not found from conventional cellar ageing. The Sea Soul No. 4 (S$405/bottle) for instance, inherits some saline notes through this process.
Solay says that sea-ageing can also be seen as being a more environmentally friendly way to age wines, since temperature control in many cases is more consistent underwater than it is above ground, all without the use of air conditioning.
And we haven’t talked about the Movia Puro (S$180/bottle) yet. This Slovenian bottling is unique as it is a sparkling wine made using the méthode traditionnelle (the same way champagne and cava is made), yet it hasn’t been disgorged.
Disgorging is usually executed by the winemakers themselves to ensure yeast sediment is expelled from the bottle before being recorked. At Club Street Wine Room, Solay does the disgorging himself by using a water bath to ensure the spillage is contained, all while putting on quite the spectacle for onlookers.
That’s not all. Even drinkers who don’t think they enjoy wines will find various beverages of adjacent categories to love. From their small but mighty selection of sakes and fortified wines, to their sweet dessert wines and non-alcoholic ‘wine’ (yes, it’s a thing) picks, it’s an adult wine playground at Club Street Wine Room.
So there’s plenty for oenophiles and amateurs alike to experience at this libatious venue. Yet, while many may come for the wines (and for Solay), its dining menu is equally enticing, and a great accompaniment to the wine programme.
With Cure Concepts’ pedigree, and with head chef Ho Jun Yip (formerly at Corner House and Butcher Boy) running the kitchen here, the food at Club Street Wine Room has become a major draw for good reason.
While many wine bars in Singapore already do amazing food, thus setting the stage of what the competition is like, chef Jun has managed to one-up expectations, with dishes like the humble Hasselback Potato and sinful AFC (Andy’s Fried Chicken) already becoming fan favourites.
Mains such as the Whole turbot and the Woodfired whole guinea fowl are also gorgeous, ensuring you can have a satisfying dinner even if your intention was to come for the wines.
But don’t just take our word for it. The combination of an inviting and casual wine space with the right people behind the counter, plus food so well matched with wines you’d think you’re having a pairing dinner, is something you have to experience yourself.
Just be prepared for a dangerous proposition where you become so enthralled by the wine and food offerings, you blissfully forget about the sizable price tags that come along with them. But at Club Street Wine Room, it’s a price we’re fully willing to pay.
Club Street Wine Room is located at 87 Club Street, Singapore 069455.
About the Author
Dannon Har is the Managing Editor of Spill. Discovering his innate gift for drinking only at a ripe age, he spares no time trying to find more delicious drops to imbibe during his time on Earth. When he’s not minding every detail at Spill, he spends his time concocting luscious libations and sharing them with folks that visit his home bar.