Things To Do

How To Drink At 10 Of The World’s Best Bars In Under 24 Hours

By Janice Leung Hayes
25th Apr 2022

A decadent cocktail sitting on a table with caviar surrounding it.

From char kway teow to chilli crab, everyone knows Singapore has drool-worthy food, but did you know about the bar scene? Despite being a city of just 5.6 million, the Lion City has shown that it’s up there with New York and London as a serious contender on the drinks front, with an outsized representation in the World’s 50 Best Bars list year after year. From zero-waste locavore cocktails to cult natural wines, get ready for a big night out.

Atlas 

Atlas arguably became Singapore’s most iconic bar as soon as it opened in 2017, not least because it’s home to the world’s largest collection of gin—1,300 labels and counting. Taking over the vast lobby of Parkview Square, the bar’s focal point is an ornate 15-metre-tall Art Deco ‘gin tower’ with carved timber columns. While these gins can be tasted neat, the bartenders specialise in classics-inspired cocktails, such as the Atlas martini, which features orange bitters and Champagne vinegar. Speaking of Champagne, the bar is also known for some truly rare bottles of bubbly from the owner’s family’s own collection.

Location: 600 North Bridge Rd, Parkview Square, Singapore

D.Bespoke

Japanese cocktail bars, with their hyper-precise technique and near-obsessive attention to detail, are a genre that has to be experienced to be believed. And experience it you can in Singapore, as it is home to one of the world’s best Japanese bars (opened by Daiki Kanetaka, who calls legends such as Bar High Five’s Hidetsugu Ueno his mentor). No bottle along the polished timber bar is out of place at D.Bespoke, and punters watch with a hushed reverence as their drinks are crafted with the utmost care. Apart from a fine collection of whisky, D.Bespoke also specialises in cocktails that are tailor-made for each guest. Such a rarefied experience doesn’t come cheap, but neither does your crystal-clear hand-cut ice.

Location: 2 Bukit Pasoh Rd, Singapore

Native 

It’s hard to imagine that there’s much to forage in glitzy Singapore, but locals like Vijay Mudaliar and his team know that there’s still plenty of truth to Singapore’s old nickname, “Garden City”. They find all manner of herbs to combine with local fruits, vegetables, spices and spirits from Asia, and even make their own distillates, resulting in cocktails that have a true sense of place. Your carbon footprint from sipping on these tipples is lowered too, thanks to Native’s commitment to sourcing local and being zero waste, which includes furniture made by local artisans, composting, experimenting with ways to upcycle food waste, their own little garden, and being completely plastic-free.

Location: 52A Amoy St, Singapore

The Guild 

If you’re a fan of craft beer, you’re in luck at The Guild. This hip gastropub housed in a refurbished shophouse is opened by Hong Kong’s Young Master, one of the region’s best craft beer breweries. Apart from their own beers, they have a rotating selection of guest taps from their mates all over the world. It’s not just about the pints though. The food is outstanding, with an emphasis on using local ingredients to make Asian-inflected modern pub eats—think locally farmed Pulau Ubin oysters, fried chicken with a salted egg crust, and BCM (bak chor mee, one of the real Singapore noodles) tagliatelle.

Location: 55 Keong Saik Rd, Singapore

Le Bon Funk 

Looking for a change from cocktails and craft beer? Le Bon Funk is as much a natural wine bar as it is a restaurant, with easy-going French-ish bites, from charcuterie to roast chicken. The bottle-only wine list changes frequently, but expect highly quaffable drops by low-intervention makers mostly from Europe, from the illustrious to the cult, to the virtually unknown.

Location: 29 Club St, Singapore

Manhattan 

If you want nothing more than to sink into a chesterfield in your glad rags with a perfectly made classic cocktail in hand, look no further than Manhattan. This sumptuous spot celebrates the bars of grand New York hotels in their halcyon days and elevates it for the sophisticated modern drinker. Specialising in American whiskey, the bar even houses its own ageing barrels and has an exclusive collection showcasing the country’s finest bourbons, ryes and more. This opulent package has made it one of the highest-ranked bars not only in Asia, but the world in the annual 50 Best Bars lists.

Location: Level 2, Regent Singapore, 1 Cuscaden Rd, Singapore

Jigger & Pony 

Named after standard pour sizes (a jigger is 1.5 ounces, a pony is one) this suave salon dishes out plenty of vintage vibes, accompanied by classic cocktails and new concoctions inspired by them. The Old Fashioned is Jigger & Pony's signature, but don’t let that discourage you from ordering from other corners of the vast menu—from Sakura Martinis to Williams Coolers, or perhaps a punch bowl if you’re a big group (or plan to drink like one). Oh, and did we mention this place was recently crowned number one in Asia's 50 Best Bar List 2020? Like we needed another reason. 

Location: Amara Hotel, 165 Tanjong Pagar Rd, Singapore

Sago House

In an ecletic space, hidden on the top level of a Sago Street shophouse, lies a venue that focuses on hospitality and community. Sago House chooses reusability, up-cycling, and good old fashioned hustle to bring a weekly rotating menu of cocktails created from local produce, along with tasty bites. Their project offers sanctuary, hosting hospitality education sessions for the industry. Founded by three veteren industry hands; Jay Gray, Desiree Silva and George Abhishek, this truly authentic and independent institution welcomes all and keeps you coming back for more.

Location: 40B Sago St, Singapore 

The Tippling Club

When Aussie Ryan Clift opened The Tippling Club in Singapore in 2008, not only did it become known as one of the city’s most progressive, envelope-pushing restaurants, perhaps even more ground-breaking was that the bar was as much of a feature as the food. Popular as ever, the beverage offering borrows heavily from the kitchen, often with edible ingredients, rather than spirits, leading the charge. If you’re not going for the full restaurant experience, don’t miss the chance to have expertly paired snacks with your drinks at the bar.

Location: 38 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore

28 Hong Kong Street

Although this ground floor bar behind an inconspicuous, unmarked door is no longer a secret, the speakeasy vibes live on in the dim, loungey atmosphere and in the classics-inspired cocktails, all expertly shaken and stirred, or perhaps served with hand-carved ice. With hip hop blasting, however, the music is decidedly not from the Prohibition era. Hungry? American-leaning bar food, such as juicy burgers and Reubens, are on offer at 28 Hong Kong Street.

Location: 28 Hongkong Street, Singapore

Feeling thirsty? Singapore is teeming with unique, hidden and unassuming bars full of possibilities. For more information on where to sink a drink or two, head to Singapore Tourism for more info.  

Editor's note: This article is proudly sponsored by Singapore Tourism and endorsed by Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.

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