Food & Drink

The Best Bars In Singapore For An Epic Cocktail

By Gracie Stewart
3rd Apr 2024

Jungle Ballroom

From char kway teow to chilli crab, everyone knows Singapore has drool-worthy food, but how much do you know about the bars in Singapore? 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, Urban List has rounded up the best bars in Singapore for your next night out.

Nutmeg & Clove

8 Purvis Street

Don’t Chicken Out cocktail from Nutmeg & Clove
Image credit: Nutmeg & Clove | Supplied

Nutmeg & Clove, the acclaimed Singaporean bar consistently ranked among the World’s and Asia’s 50 Best Bars, is set to celebrate its 10th anniversary in May. To commemorate its colourful journey, the bar is kickstarting its celebrations by unveiling a brand new look, along with a new cocktail and food menu. Simply and aptly called TEN, the new cocktail menu features a list of 25 cocktails crafted by Head Bartender Gavin Teravasan and pays homage to key events over the past ten years, alongside crowd-favourites.

New Signatures include the Agnes’ Requiem, a floral, dry and fruity mix, shaken up Monkey 47 Gin, Raspberry Eau De Vie, rhubarb, galangal, orchid, jasmine, lemon and saline, and the Yam Seng, a refreshing concoction made from Montelobos Espadin Joven Mezcal, lemongrass, pandan, taro, lemon and cream, silkened with egg white for an extra smooth finish. A true ode to Singapore comes with the Don’t Chicken Out, a savoury, spicy and complex mix reminiscent of the Singapore staple chicken rice. The drinkable version is shaken up from Bacardi Anejo Cuatro 4YO Rum, Tio Pepe Fino, Sherry, cucumber, Hainanese chilli, lime and a dash of MSG.

In commemorating the milestone anniversary, flavours on the food front are also being turned up a notch by the new head chef Bernstein Lim—expect favourite local dishes elevated with additions from the best of different cultures. We recommend the Duck Rice Arancini and Babi Kicap Skewer of confit pork belly.

Chandu

1 Unity Street

A cocktail from Chandu
Image credit: Chandu | Supplied

Chandu is a hidden speakeasy at the back of The Robertson House that only opened a few months ago—you’ll know you’re in the right place when you find a nondescript black door with a gold handle in the shape of a round moon. Drawing inspiration from opium dens and clan associations, Chandu, which means opium in Malay and moon in Hindi, focuses on cocktails with a tale and market-to-glass specialties.

As the ingredients used are sourced daily from the street markets of Singapore, as well as from local urban farmers such as Edible Garden City and Victory Garden, you can expect variations on drinks with every visit. Some of their signature cocktails include Be On Time (Ceylon arrack, melon, genmaicha sol, yogurt whey, honey and thyme) and Death and Taxes (Seven Tails XO Brandy, Mackintosh Blended Malt, saffron, figs and cacao husk).

Parliament Bar

18 Teck Lim Road, #02-01

Inside Parliament Bar
Image credit: Parliament Bar | Supplied

Looking for a cosy place to kick-start the night? This 80s retro Americana bar has an exceptional level of fun vibes to bolster your after-hours in Singapore. Tucked away on the second floor of a Teck Lim Road shophouse, Bar-Owner Daniel Raghani and the team behind PleasureCraft group have raised the bar—both literally and figuratively—when it comes to unwavering rock n roll vibes.

Having just celebrated its first birthday, Parliament Bar has unveiled an all-new cocktail menu which pays homage to pop culture, music and sci-fi. Find a booth and enjoy an 88 Miles Per Sour which draws inspiration from the iconic film ‘Back to the Future,’ where innovation and adventure collide. This cheeky libation features brown butter fat washed Maker’s Mark Bourbon, cloudy apple, spiced orange, citrus and Angostura Bitters. For those looking for a little caffeine hit, the White Widower puts a playful twist on the classic White Russian, featuring Canerock Rum, Galliano Ristretto and topped with a healthy dose of whipped soft serve—it’s honestly one of the best cocktails we’ve tasted in a long time.

If you fall for Parliament Bar and want to settle in for the night, you can tuck into classic Americana bites like the Parliament fried chicken burger, tater tots with garlic chilli dip and Spam fries with salsa picante mayo.

Last Word

8 Purvis Street, #02-01

A cocktail from Last Word
Image credit: Last Word | Supplied

Last Word is the quintessential classic cocktail haven by the team at Nutmeg & Clove, aiming to rekindle the romance of classic cocktails. Beyond being a bar, it embodies Japanese bartending, emphasising technique and precision in a minimalist space adorned with soft hues and clean lines.

Journey through five eras with meticulously crafted cocktails—the Golden Era, Prohibition Era, Years of Indulgence, The Dark Ages, and the Cocktail Revival. We are big fans of their signature  Clover Club which features Roku Gin, Dry Vermouth, raspberry, hibiscus, dried rose, lemon, and egg white. As for the food, you can expect a series of small dishes inspired by minimalist Japanese recipe. Truffle Edamame, Crispy Gyoza, Tonkatsu Sando and Chicken Karaage get our vote.

Draft Land

24 Purvis Street

Draft Land Singapore serves cocktails on tap
Image credit: Draft Land | Supplied

Draft Land, the renowned cocktail bar from Taiwan, officially opened its doors in Singapore at the end of 2023. Originally founded in 2018 by Drinks Lab, a beverage R&D company by renowned bartender Angus Zou, it was the first bar in Asia to pioneer cocktails on tap.

Ranked #45 in Asia’s Best Bars 2019, Draft Land Singapore had collaborated with Nutmeg & Clove, a Singapore-centric establishment with numerous accolades, including the prestigious #7 ranking on Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2023.

With over 20 cocktails on tap and a pioneering Sample Service (where you can try before you buy), Draft Land is certainly delivering a breath of fresh air to the cocktail scene.

Pæl.et

55 Keong Saik Road, #01-02

Pæl.et bar
Image credit: Pæl.et | Supplied

Owned and operated by Joe Haywood (one of Asia’s top bartenders), SJS Group (one of Singapore’s leading restaurant, bar and nightlife companies) and the team from Papi’s Tacos (everyone’s favourite Mexican restaurant), Pæl.et (the phonetic spelling of pallet, palate and palette) has recently opened its doors on Keong Saik Road. Seamlessly blending art, design and culinary excellence, the new cocktail bar aims to redefine the dining and drinking experience by “uniting global flavours, championing diversity and fostering a vibrant and energetic atmosphere”—the latter we can certainly attest to.

Signature cocktails like the Istumi Martini infused with the essence of pasta water from the SJS Group’s Pasta Bar, Nikka Coffey Gin, Beefeater Gin, konbu, spirulina and the Seoul Searcher, a Korean take on a classic margarita made with ingredients like Codigo Blanco Tequila, gochujang agave and orange wine offer a taste of global mixology. As for the food, you can expect a range of diverse flavours with a menu curated by Head Chef Ash (formerly of Burnt Ends) with items such as a biltong watermelon tartare with banana shallots and a fried brioche, a grilled half tom yum chicken with a jarrah honey glaze, and a rambutan and beetroot sorbet with salted white chocolate foam.

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Jungle Ballroom

16A Duxton Hill, 03-03

A cocktail from Jungle Ballroom
Image credit: Jungle Ballroom | Supplied

Jungle Ballroom at Mondrian Singapore Duxton is a cocktail bar inspired by the sights, sounds and mystery of tropical Asian jungles. Overseen by head bartender Adrian Besa, who is praised for his use of creative ingredients such as turmeric, gula melaka, longan, black sesame, ginger and salted plum, the menu takes you on a journey through the ancient jungle—from the upper reaches of the tallest trees to the jungle floor and everywhere in between.

Little Pari, the first in a series (known as Jungle Journeys) of unique cocktails crafted to showcase the little-known spirits and flavours of Southeast Asia’s territories, is a martini style cocktail balanced to perfectly express and celebrate the flavours of Pari’s Herbal Kulen Gin. Other highlights include the monkey cup (pineapple rum, apricot brandy, rose, seared passionfruit, orgeat and citrus) and the lost ruins (pahit gin, secco vermouth, racilla, fennel, champagne vinegar, orange and mandarin bitters).

White Shades

25 Boon Tat Street

Clear Yellow cocktail from White Shades
Image credit: White Shades | Supplied

Six months since opening, White Shades—Singapore’s only four-storey modern cocktail and dining playground on Boon Tat Street—has unveiled its first official drinks menu: COLOURS. Taking inspiration from the venue’s name, the cocktail menu is segmented into four themes: Clear, Mark, Mood and Flavours.

In the Clear section you will find five clarified cocktails, including elevated favourites from the earlier UnRAW menu. Clear Yellow is made with Maker’s Mark bourbon, sweet corn and a milk-washed mango corn leather inspired by the local Singaporean sweet corn mango dessert, with a dehydrated crisp mango chip to finish, while Fresh Pink, a sweet and tangy tequila drink featuring rhubarb and sparkling pink coconut water from the Mood section, delivers a herbaceous kick.

Alongside cocktails, the Level 2 menu has also expanded to include a curated and broad wine selection. You can enjoy a delightful Prosecco rosé from Scavi & Ray or a velvety full-bodied Pinot Noir with smooth berry notes from New Zealand’s Central Otago region.

Puffy Bois

20A Bali Lane

A pizza and cocktail from Puffy Bois
Image credit: Puffy Bois | Supplied

What’s better than pizza and cocktails—nothing right? Which is why Puffy Bois should definitely be on your radar. The former pop-up concept is bringing pizza and cocktails to its new permanent home on Bali Lane. Taking high-brow/low-brow to a new level, the drinks selection spans from Grower Champagnes to Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, as well as classic and custom cocktails. Highlights include the refreshing sour crush cooler with whiskey and sour mango, and the duck & weave, a tequila old fashioned Puffy Bois-style.

As for the pizza, there’s five to choose from and they can be ordered by the slice or pie. The margherita and pepperoni are mainstays, while the additional three will change based on the team’s creative whim. Their current offerings include parma-roni, black clam and spiced artichoke.

The Lobby Lounge

80 Middle Road

The Lobby Lounge
Image credit: The Lobby Lounge | Supplied

The heart of InterContinental Singapore, The Lobby Lounge has recently launched an all-new cocktail menu crafted in collaboration with award-winning mixologist Jesse Vida. Using a mix of local spices and herbs such as cloves, cumin and star anise, the menu is inspired by the hotel's neighbourhood—Kampong Glam, Arab Street, Haji Lane, Albert Food Centre and 80 Middle Road.

Highlights include the Flaming Tightrope, featuring Nikka FTB, toasted rice, basil, chilli and soda and the Haji Paji, an agave-based drink made of Tequila Ocho Plata, Herrencia Mezcal, cumin, grapefruit, lime, absinthe and soda.

Atlas 

600 North Bridge Road, Parkview Square

A cocktail from Atlas
Image credit: Atlas | Supplied

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.

The team have also just launched a new cocktail menu, Preservation of Fire. Conceived by Head Bartender Lidiyanah ‘Yana’ K, this menu pays homage to the rich history of cocktail making techniques and enduring traditions that have fuelled generations of bartenders. The drinks are separated across four chapters, each representing a technique used in bartending: carbonation, temperature, washing, and infusion. Four cocktails, each offering a classic style— martini, champagne cocktail, sour, and old fashioned—appear in each chapter.

Our favourites include The Jubilee Royale which brings together gin, rum, rose infused rosso vermouth and raspberry liqueur before an effervescent splash of champagne, and the non-alcoholic Age of Discovery which features Seedlip Spice with raspberry-infused Italian soda and a passionfruit vanilla syrup. 

Studio 1939

36 Keong Saik Road

Cheesy Melon High cocktail from Studio 1939
Image credit: Studio 39 | Supplied care of @gluggony

Tucked away on the third floor of Potato Head Singapore on Keong Saik Road, Studio 1939 is a decadent drinking den with an ever-evolving cocktail menu. Their current menu, STFU (Spice, Tea, Fruit, Umami) draws inspiration from local flavours the team have grown up with and enjoyed throughout their lives.

The menu features 12 new signature cocktails, with half of the menu designed to be available in a non-alcoholic variation as well. Developed by Head Bartender Daniel Fong and Operation Manager Kavish Hurrydoss, the drinks are very technique-driven, drawing inspiration from culinary ingredients and techniques more often found on the plate than in a glass.

Highlights include the Curry On, a tropical and aromatic blend of Arak, pandan, coconut, calamansi and Jaffna Curry blend. The herbaceous Thyme After Thyme features mezcal, thyme, vermouth, star anise, Sauvignon Blanc and Aer. Fans of savoury drinks will enjoy the Cheesy Melon High featuring a surprisingly harmonious mix of tequila, apple, watermelon, mint, feta cheese and oregano, or the Som Tum Mamuang, a mix of gin, peanut butter, mango, salad mix and lime that seamlessly merges tangy, sweet, spicy, and salty flavours.

Sago House

37 Duxton Hill

Cocktail from Sago House
Image credit: Sago House | Supplied

Only a few weeks after securing the 32nd spot on the World’s 50 Best Bars list for 2023—one of only three Singapore bars to feature on the annual list, alongside Jigger & Pony (No. 14) and Atlas (No. 48)— Sago House has moved to its new home at Duxton Hill.

Founded by three veteran industry hands: Jay Gray, Desiree Silva and George Abhishek, this truly authentic and independent institution focuses on hospitality and community as well as reusability, up-cycling, and good old-fashioned hustle to bring you a weekly rotating menu of cocktails and tasty bites created from local produce.

D.Bespoke

2 Bukit Pasoh Road

D.Bespoke
Image credit: D.Bespoke | Facebook

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, which 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.

Le Bon Funk 

Various Locations

Le Bon Funk at Club Street
Image credit: Le Bon Funk | Supplied

Looking for a change from cocktails? 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. With outlets at Club Street and Holland Village, it's the ultimate neighbourhood wine bar.

Native

52A Amoy Street

Native
Image credit: Native | Facebook

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.

The Guild

55 Keong Saik Road

The Guild
Image credit: The Guild | Supplied

If you’re a fan of craft beer, you’re in luck at The Guild. This hip gastropub housed in a refurbished shophouse was 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.

Cat Bite Club

75 Duxton Hill

Cat Bite Club Margarita
Image credit: Cat Bite Club | Supplied

Having only opened in June 2023, Cat Bite Club has already cemented itself as a major player in the Singapore bar scene. Tucked away behind a secret entrance—look for the glowing red sign with a mischievous Cheshire cat grin and you’ll know you’re in the right spot—Cat Bite Club specialises in agave and rice spirits.

While agave and rice spirits come from vastly different parts of the world and can carry a wide range of flavours, they share many common threads. Beyond the obvious when it comes to fermentation and distillation, the two also have a strong cultural significance, with a deep history in Mexican and Asian culture respectively.

Signature serves include the Cat Bite Margarita with Código 1530 Blanco Tequila and Siete Misterios Espadín Mezcal, and the Soju Sprint with Tokki Soju. The food menu mirrors the flavours found in the drinks, with a mix of traditional Mexican and Asian bar bites such as chilli chicken bao, tuna tostada and chips and guacamole.

For those looking to further their knowledge of spirits, Cat Bite Club has recently introduced two new agave and rice masterclasses where you can look forward to drinking and learning with technical notes, history and recipe recommendations for your chosen category. Each 45-minute session will feature four unique products chosen by Cat Bite Club’s expert team, paired with light bites.

At the end of the class, you will also receive a personalised Certificate of Completion marking your achievement and inducting you into a community of like-minded enthusiasts. You will also be eligible for special access to future events such as product launches, masterclasses and more to continue your spirits education.

Manhattan

Level 2, 1 Cuscaden Road


Image credit: Manhattan | Supplied

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.

Jigger & Pony

Amara Hotel, 165 Tanjong Pagar Road

Jigger & Pony
Image credit: Jigger & Pony | Facebook

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 crowned number one in Asia's 50 Best Bar List 2020? Like we needed another reason.

Low Tide

98 Club Street

Low Tide
Image credit: Low Tide | Supplied

Opening its doors in May 2021, Low Tide is spread over two floors, each with a unique tropical concept. On the first level, you’ll find an expansive outdoor terrace where bartenders serve refreshingly tropical drinks that respect the classics while expanding upon them.

The food menu is rooted in Southeast Asian flavours and is designed for sharing. In the basement you'll find The Cave, which exudes dimly lit dive bar vibes, in the best possible way, and has a stronger focus on high quality tropical spirits while offering specialised small dishes.

Ume San 100

190 Middle Road, #02-07 Fortune Centre

Cocktails from Ume San 100
Image credit: Ume San 100 | Facebook

Hidden away behind a row of unassuming Japanese vending machines in Fortune Centre (near Bugis MRT station), you’d easily miss Ume San 100 if you didn’t have the inside scoop. Part ramen bar, part speakeasy, the small but mighty Izakaya boasts the largest selection of Umeshu in Singapore.

Lunchtime guests can cram onto small wooden tables and dig into steaming bowls of spicy ramen topped with minced pork, or snack on crunchy garlic chicken karaage. At night, the menu expands to include Japanese favourites like sea urchin croquettes, charcoal wagyu fried rice and their signature Umesan Nachi Pagoda—a selection of seafood-focused treats and a stack of crunchy, fried gyoza skin for dipping.

From 5pm onwards it becomes a pure bar setting (aged 18 and above only) with a drinks menu offering page after page of the best plum-based Umeshu and plenty of playful cocktails—so don’t skip out without sinking a few cold ones at the bar.

The Tippling Club

38 Tanjong Pagar Road

The Tippling Club
Image credit: The Tippling Club | Facebook

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.

28 HongKong Street

28 Hongkong Street

28 HongKong Street
Image credit: 28 HongKong Street | Facebook

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 HongKong Street.

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Main image credit: Jungle Ballroom | Supplied

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