Taking a look at Singapore’s lively bar scene now, it’s hard to imagine that just months ago, venues were still struggling with pandemic pains and an uncertain future.
Now back with a vengeance and in full force, bars all across town are now tapping on pent up demand by refreshing their menus and coming up with interesting new programmes to entice tipplers with interesting drinks and experiences. Here are some of the ones we’ve recently checked out.
In our books, this new-Italian cocktail bar and restaurant by the Jigger & Pony Group could have continued serving what they did and all will be well. Yet we are so glad they did, what with additions like the Breakfast Martini (S$22) and the Hazelnut Manhattan (S$25) being so enjoyable. The former is a silky milk-clarified tipple boasting alluring tea aromas, while the latter is a decadent riff on the namesake classic using hazelnut liqueur and actual artisanal dark chocolate.
There’s a lot more to try, with a total of 17 new cocktails (plus 2 punch bowls) in this new menu dedicated to the joys of all-day drinking. And if you’re wondering why the man behind the bar looks so familiar, it’s actually Silvio Daniele – folks will recognize him from the group’s other bars – who is now the venue’s Principal Bartender.
The sky-high hotspot may not have been the top-of-mind venue before when it comes to craft cocktails, but with former 28 HongKong Street bartender Hans Anuar now at the helm as Head of Mixology, it’s safe to say that the drinks programme at Ce La Vi has gotten a proper shake-up.
He brings his over 11 years of experience in the F&B scene in Malaysia and Singapore (claiming awards along the way) with him, dishing out drinks like the Guavarita. This creation of his channels the nostalgic and moreish flavours of jambu asam (pickled guava and chilli) into a thoroughly satisfying drink. Our favourite has got to be the Rum-a-laka, a whisky and rum cocktail packing burnt banana, salted caramel, and toasted gula melaka notes. All cocktails are S$25.
In the blink of an eye, this beautiful (which is what ‘Chura’ means in Okinawan) bar and sushi spot has turned a year old. To celebrate, they’ve unveiled a brand new menu filled with what they’re best known for: eye-pleasing creations that are equally gratifying to consume – their Chio Maki (S$32) is case in point.
On the cocktail front, the Saketini, a heady concoction of gin, sake, and vermouth, will please the palates of those who love themselves a spirit-forward drink. Or go for the Chura Sling, a layered take on Singapore’s national cocktail using Japanese sensibilities, for something that’s tropical, floral, and tangy in equal measure. Both cocktails are S$18 each.
Many head to Da Paolo for their hearty Italian nosh and amazing produce. But we’ve come to know that they’ve got something for drinkers too, especially at their Great World outlet. As a true blue Italian venue, Aperol Spritzes and Negronis are a must, which they do well, but trust us and get their unique renditions of it – the Bridge of Sighs (S$18) and The David (S$20) – instead.
The former uses bittering agents and blood orange to give the classic Aperol Spritz a complex bitter spin often lacking in the original, while in the latter, a saffron infusion and barrel-ageing of the cocktail for over 20 days lends it a rounded earthiness not often found in other Negronis. Did we also mention that on weekdays before 6pm, these cocktails only go for S$15?
This Goodwood Park Hotel lobby lounge may seem like too grand a place for a drink sesh, but their new Sunset Hour programme sets a welcoming stage for would-be tipplers to come enjoy a drink (or two, or three) from dusk (6.30pm) till closing (10pm). A talented singer-guitarist duo, Stage 23, will also be serenading guests with lounge hits from 7.30pm.
On the Sunset Hour menu are seven cocktails inspired by botanicals and the tropics. Get the Al-Cohol ‘U’ Later (S$18) for a floral and herbaceous starting drink that comes with a perfume bottle surprise, then definitely move onto the Shibuya Crossing (S$22) at some point in the night. Made using plum wine, sake, and vodka, the stiff and crisp cocktail packs a welcome potent punch with each sip.
The National Gallery’s rooftop bar has always been a popular spot for cocktail fans. But we think they’ve outdone themselves this time with their latest menu revamp conceptualised around the principles of art – think proportion, contrast, balance etc. Of the 16 new drinks in their The Real Art of Drinking Volume II menu, there are quite a number of hits for us.
The inventive Cha Cha Duet (S$26) is actually not one, but two drinks – one a matcha distillate and the other akin to a whisky sour – meant to be sipped separately then combined as you please for a different kind of experience. We’re head over heels with the smoky and spicy Wok’s That Smell (S$32), a mezcal-based cocktail that uses actual wok-fried sambal and lap cheong in its make. The smoke show that comes with it is just icing on the cake.