Luxury hotel The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore is now home to the latest cocktail offering in town – Republic.
The area that was formerly Chihuly Lounge has now been transformed into two unique but intertwined spaces, Library Reception and Republic, with the former offering a suite of services primarily for staying guests, and the latter being a full-fledged cocktail bar. Connecting them is a parlour for lounging and afternoon tea.
Those familiar with the layout of the old Chihuly Lounge will find the new space vastly different. Gone is the bar counter found right underneath the intriguing artwork of Dale Chihuly, with which the bar previously got its namesake.
Instead, the main bar counter has now shifted to the far side of the reception, and is expanded into a massive four-sided centrepiece that can’t be missed.
The hottest seats in the house are the ones encircling the bar counter, where you can watch the bar team shaking and stirring up drinks while chatting intimately with them.
But feel free to plunge into the banquette seats or plush couches too, and admire the New York-based tonychi studio designed bar. Dark, sophisticated and opulent, Republic transports guests to the glamorous 1960s, a decade that’s equally marked by social revolution, jet-setting style icons and legends of rock music.
Look out for six additional home bar set-ups ringing the main one. Adorned with handcrafted red Venetian glass, each one is equipped with everything needed to serve a unique vintage cocktail using spirits and mixers used in the ‘60s. They have been painstakingly procured from collectors with help from consultants Proof & Company.
There’s also a good selection of seafood, meat and vegetable dishes to go with your drinks. Certainly enough for a full dinner. Items like Mini Kueh Pie Tee and Boneless Buffalo Wings make for great snacks, while sharing plates of Roasted Sicilian Octopus and Braised Beef Short Rib will fill you up in no time.
The beverage menu offers a liquid journey through history. Split into four sections – Singapore, England, United States of America and Italy – and inspired by significant happenings in those countries during the ‘60s, find four cocktails (all S$25) and a mocktail (all S$18) with a story to tell in each one.
The sections, though split into countries, act more as a vehicle for storytelling, rather than indicate the flavours we can actually expect. Though there’s use of bourbon rightly found in the US section, there’s also mezcal in Italy, and a Japan-made gin in England.
But it still all works flavour-wise and conceptually. From the Singapore section, for instance, is Mythical Beast. Inspired by the Merlion, it is an elegant and boozy concoction of sherry, a homemade syrup, Orleans Bitters and Singapore’s own Brass Lion Dry Gin.
A clear crowd favourite is the Satisfaction (referencing the hit song by The Rolling Stones), an Irish Coffee-inspired cocktail made from Jameson Caskmates Stout Edition whiskey, a stout reduction, brewed coffee and cream. Roasty, comforting and not at all sweet, you’ll be downing this one fast.
Try the Valentino Red as well. The flashy drink (named after Valentino Garavani’s penchant for designer red) comes adorned with a big red tuile, and makes for a great first drink. Made using Monkey 47 Gin, lychee oolong, watermelon riesling, and London Essence Peach & Jasmine Soda, it is at once refreshing and punchy.
But a clear winner has got to be the Summer of Love, a drink dedicated to the era’s hippie culture. Inside is a mix of Altos Blanco Tequila, hibiscus, Mancino Rosso Vermouth, Cointreau and chocolate bitters. Deep, dark and wine-like, this heady drink will have you spinning and wanting for more after.
It’ll be remiss not to mention about the vintage classic cocktails available here. All priced above S$100, these pricey items are clearly unique to Republic, and a lot of effort has been put into showcasing them.
Made to-style and using spirits and mixers only from the 1960s, these ostensibly showy offerings actually belie a thoughtful process and lets guests have a real taste of a bygone era.
Standing out as a bar in the cocktail capital of Asia that is Singapore is certainly an uphill challenge, yet Republic has managed to do so with pomp and elegance.
Other than the vintage programme, it is certainly not pushing any boundaries just yet, but has opened strong with a definitively solid menu that shows great promise.
It will be very interesting to see how much further the vintage menu can go, and perhaps how the lines between the vintage and normal offerings can be blurred as well.
And like many great venues, the hospitality and service has been on point, which is a clear indication that the people running the place know that a winning bar isn’t built on great drinks alone, but on a team of great people willing to go the distance together.
Republic opens from 12-11pm daily, and is located at 7 Raffles Avenue, Singapore, S039799.
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.