There is no shortage of a good cocktail bar in the Telok Ayer area. Packed with award-winning venues, hidden speakeasies, and fuss-free watering holes alike, the countless shophouses host a veritable smorgasbord of drinking spots.
Towering (literally) over the area is newly opened White Shades, a collection of concepts all under the same roof of a four-storey shophouse space on Boon Tat Street. The brainchild of Bai Jiawei, co-founder of Stay Gold Flamingo, and who cut his teeth at Employees Only Singapore, the vaunted mixologist is doing something different with this latest endeavour.
The first thing you’ll come into contact with at White Shades is the ground level gelato bar. Vibrant and inviting, the spacious parlour opens from noon for the CBD crowd to get their dessert fix. 12 ice cream flavours fill the menu at any one time, with four of them being alcoholic ones.
We like how they spice things up with items like their homemade juniper cones, which adds another dimension to the sweet treats when enjoyed together. Cold brew tea and coffee, as well as low-ABV pre-packaged cocktails are available here too, just in case you feel like having a quick fix or getting one to go.
Head up the lift to the second floor for the venue’s main attraction – its cocktail bar. Here, the mood transforms into one of sophistication and intimacy, with stone accents, luxury artworks, and leather banquette seats setting the tone. There’s a sizable outdoor terrace area too, for those preferring the company of the cool night air.
Their inaugural menu, named unRAW, is a showcase of Bai’s journey leading up to the creation of White Shades. We enjoyed the Bomber J. Named after the bomber jackets worn by the bar team, the balanced mix of whisky, toasted rice syrup, and Hinoki bitters together with a garnish of torched marshmallow, is exemplary of their progressive, contemporary menu.
Savi Galloping (you’ll know where it gets its name when you’re there) will undoubtedly be a crowd favourite. The concoction of tequila, paprika, lime, and fire water, is served in a smoked bell jar presented tableside for an Instagrammable moment. All cocktails are S$25.
The food here is, to our delight, stellar, so it’s more than advisable to have your dinner here too. Start with the Beef Tartare (S$22), served topped with runny quail yolk and spicy sambal matah, to whet your appetite. Then definitely get the Double Cheese Burger (S$26) for your main. The jalapeno mayo sauce and caramelised onions, combined with the double patty, makes this a truly indulgent dish.
With a pretty sizable food and drink menu, there’s lots more to discover – and we encourage you to come back. There’s a hidden bar on the second floor only accessible to invited guests who are regular customers, so there’s even more reason to do so. Bespoke offerings and prized bottles await those who manage to get a seat here.
Another floor up on level three is the events space. Almost completely neutral and minimally decorated when not in use, it’s a great canvas for brands and companies looking for a location allowing around 35 pax. The impressive ceiling LED display is an added bonus for those organising immersive experiences.
Then there’s the much-anticipated rooftop bar up on the fourth floor. Here, draft beers and cocktails on tap are the highlight. Refreshing, easy drinks and eats are the name of the game for this open-air spot adorned by photogenic fairy lights, with a view of the Telok Ayer sprawl underneath.
Drinks at the rooftop are all priced under S$20 to foster a more casual, accessible atmosphere, while the food all come in more handsy, bite-sized portions compared to the nosh found downstairs.
With such a diverse set of offerings spread across four different levels, it’s entirely possible to spend an entire evening here and still not experience everything White Shades has to offer. But perhaps that’s exactly what Bai wants.
“Since young, it has always been a personal goal of mine to open my own space,” he shares regarding the opening of White Shades.
“From the moment guests step through the doors, they will be transported into a vibrant world where each floor boasts a distinct identity, colour tone, and music genre, resulting in four mesmerisingly different experiences.”
White Shades is located at 25 Boon Tat Street, Singapore 069622.
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.