“Am I at the right place?” is the first thought that raced through my mind when arriving at the shop front of Taylor Adam.
The store’s window display screams Savile Row, what with a half-body mannequin dressed in a well-fitted suit (complete with pocket square) being exhibited front and center, flanked by various clothing materials, tailoring tools and spotlights to guide your attention.
To the right is a door, an unassuming entryway I wouldn’t think to bother with if I didn’t know any better that behind this facade supposedly lies a speakeasy cocktail bar – and the reason why I’m here in the first place.
So I enter, but the charade doesn’t end there. An impeccably-dressed staff greets me, asking: “Have you made an appointment with us?” I decide to play along. “Yes, I’m here to have my wedding suit made.”
She balks, but ushers me along to the multi-panel mirror, the kind often used at fancy tailor shops. As I got (too) comfortable and went ahead to view myself from various angles, the staff pushes a button, and the panels slide open. “Welcome to Taylor Adam,” she says cheekily, perhaps happy to have finally made her grand reveal.
Now entering the actual doors leading to the bar, I felt transported, as if leaving the hustle and bustle of the central business district behind (Taylor Adam is located smack in the middle of the CBD, just a minute’s walk from Raffles Place MRT), and entering a world where I can be myself away from prying eyes.
The space is dimly lit and cosy, as a speakeasy should be. Most of the light in this shrouded hideaway falls upon the stocked back bar shelves that are lined with a multitude of bottlings, both familiar and uncommon. Suited-up bartenders and front-of-house staff look cool in their tailored attires, yet feel warm and forthcoming.
I got my first drink, a Scotch and Bourbon tipple called Over The Sea, that’s served garnished with mirin-soaked sea grapes. Unlike most cocktail garnishes that are used for their aromatic qualities, the sea grapes are creatively used here for its naturally chewy and crunchy texture. Thirsty, I quaffed the refreshing drink speedily.
Browsing the menu, I couldn’t resist going straight for the Vesper Martini. But upon consulting with the bartender, I got the New York, New York first. This spin on the Manhattan is made more potent and pronounced with use of cherry wood chips. It hits the spot just like a good Manhattan should.
I got the Vesper Martini next. I’ve waited long enough, I thought. This heady mix of gin, vodka and white vermouth is as spirit-forward as they come. The key here is balance, and their use of the elegant Roku gin combined with the delicate Haku vodka as base spirits is a great choice. One doesn’t overpower the other, resulting in a harmonious swirl of flavours.
Satisfied, I began to browse the bar shelves for something off-menu. A Korean craft gin and rums from Thailand stood out. So I decided to ask for a tailor-made (pun intended) drink, starting with the gin. The bartender tried a sip of it, and recommended a Martini, which I always love, so I said yes.
Having never tried any made-in-Korea gins before, I got super excited. The Martini made from it is deep and dank. Almost mossy, if you will. Or as a more refined connoisseur will say, tastes of forest floor and morning garden dew. It’s clean, yet dirty in its own little way.
Figuring that I’ve probably had a good dose of alcohol in me now, it’s time for me to call it a night. But not before I’ve tried the Thai rum. It’s beckoning enticingly to me, and I simply can’t leave just yet.
So I asked for a bespoke drink, a take on a smoky rum Old Fashioned, as my nightcap. The bartender obliged, and boy was the drink whiffing of delightful applewood fumes. And though my palate has been fully exerted throughout the evening, I could still discern the alluring tropical notes of coconut and pineapple in the rum.
Happy and spirited (I am five cocktails in afterall), I asked one of the staff in jest if I could have a suit tailor-made for me here. They all look so dandy and I’m rather sold by how snappy their appearances are. To my surprise, they informed me that I actually can.
Partnering with Singapore’s own Meiko Tailor, guests can in fact make an appointment with one of their tailors and be measured for a bespoke outfit onsite. So the tailoring guise isn’t just for show. Talk about dedication to the concept.
That’s something I’ll definitely keep in mind the next time I’m back. Located away from the usual cocktail bar enclaves of Telok Ayer and Duxton, Taylor Adam thrives on its own terms. It’s where you go for an alcohol-fueled escape, dressed up to look good and to feel good about yourself – all while imbibing drinks that are intricately inspired and expertly executed.
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.