Restaurants & Nightlife

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Great new cocktail bars in Singapore

Words by Ben Chin

23 August 2023

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Discover the best new openings in Asia’s cocktail capital.

Singapore is renowned as Asia's cocktail capital; the cosmopolitan city is dense with award-winning bars, local distilleries and elegant speakeasies. World-famous powerhouses like Atlas and Manhattan are regulars on every imaginable best-of list, including Asia's 50 Best Bars, where this year, 11 of the Lion City's finest, including Sago House and Analogue Initiative, were recognised.

In October, when the international mixology community flocks to the island state for the 15th edition of The World's 50 Best Bars, there'll be a dozen or more new additions to the country's glittering cocktail scene. Here are the notable newcomers worth raising a glass at.

Jungle Ballroom

Mondrian Singapore Duxton's cocktail lounge is a seductive den of sinuous curves, lush monstera leaves and kaleidoscopic artwork, punctuated by a menu of colourful, adventurous drinks. Head Bartender Adrian Besa, who formerly led the team at Mandarin Oriental's award-winning MO Bar, was inspired by his formative years in Pampanga, the Philippines' culinary capital. The team sources spices and other ingredients from around the region.

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16A Duxton Hill, #03-03, Singapore 089970

'We're also bringing in spirits from across Southeast Asia,' he added. Some of the tipples might look wild on paper (Nightshade combines awamori sake with banana leaf, wax apple, mirin and mugwort), but everything is carefully calibrated in the mixology laboratory behind the bar. With instruments this precise, even bespoke orders are a walk in the park.

Cat Bite Club

A love letter to agave and rice spirits, this secret bar purrs from behind an empty upscale café on Duxton Road. To find it, you'll have to peer closely; the cat is only out of the bag if you spy the neon-lit Cheshire grin that's hardly noticeable from the street. Behind the curtain, it's a warm, intimate industrial-style space presided over by founder-friends Jesse Vida and Gabriel Lowe.

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75 Duxton Rd, Singapore 089534

They've designed the menu to showcase the spirits equally; for every Cat Bite Margarita (Código 1530 Blanco Tequila, Siete Misterios Espadín Mezcal), there's a Soju Sprint (Tokki soju and absinthe) – very different, but equally tasty. The adventurous can opt for a sampling flight to discover from an impressive shelf with over 100 agave spirits, rice spirits, and gin, rum and whisky curations.

PS: don't ask about the cat-shaped bottle behind the bar unless you're fully prepared for the unexpected. You know what they said about curiosity.

Mish Mash

The name of the game at this disco-hued gastro bar is wine. The latest by The Proper Concepts Collective (of Gaggan's Ms Maria & Mr Singh Singapore), Mish Mash is the city's first-ever wine-cocktail bar. Its seven-drink menu is concise, covering the bases from sparkling to fortified wine, with no bellinis or sangrias in sight.

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198 South Bridge Rd, Singapore 058747

We enjoyed the savoury Adam & Eve, a unique union of Junmai Daiginjo sake, tomato essence and Seedlip Garden served with a traditional masu cup. Bites are just as well-executed: the Japanese-inspired cherrywood smoked engawa is sensational, and the hefty, beautifully charred Kurobuta pork chop with Louisiana dirty rice is a dish to remember. If you're more classically minded about pairings, there is, of course, a wine list.

Mixology Salon Singapore

It's teatime. Master Mixologist Shuzo Nagumo's celebrated craft cocktail bar has arrived at Singapore's lively Robertson Quay – the Tokyo bar's first international outpost. Renowned for its signature 'tea tails', a fusion of premium Japanese green tea leaves such as gyokuro, oolong, and hojicha in expertly made cocktails, guests are invited to savour the delicate, nuanced flavours within the intimate, refined 17-seater.

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1 Nanson Rd, #02-07B InterContinental Robertson Quay, Singapore 238909

For those fresh to the concept, get acquainted with a tasting menu like the Gyokuro Cocktails Course, where Shuzo's protégé Kaoru Takii guides guests through three distinct infusions of gyokuro – a luxurious, shade-grown Japanese green tea. Expect to experience different flavour intensities and, as a finale, the tea leaves are served with a delicate smoked oyster soy sauce. Beautiful.

Florette

High above the throng of glitzy Orchard Road sits Pan Pacific Orchard's sophisticated new Champagne and oyster bar. Located on the Garden Terrace of the newly refreshed biophilic hotel, Florette serves up botanical-inspired cocktails alongside top-shelf seafood and a rotating bubbly menu.

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204 Rangoon Rd, Singapore 218451

Start with the herbaceous Chicory, which melds Monkey Shoulder with Averna, honey and acid. To complement Executive Chef Pedro Samper's gourmet bites, try the more delicate Lavender (Plantation 3 Stars rum, El Dorado 12 tequila, Velvet Falernum, citrus). On nice days, the immaculate lawn outside beckons you to while the day away with a chilled bottle of Louis Roederer.

Anthology

This historic triplex shophouse along the Singapore River now houses Compendium Spirits' first flagship bar and brand house. The upper floors are reserved for the local distiller's private members' lounge and climate-controlled barrel cellar, and respectively, the ground floor is a cosy rattan-and-wood-filled bar and restaurant. Here, you’ll be served craft cocktails, innovative fusion plates and, most unique of all, sparkling fermented 'wines' created from Southeast Asian ingredients.

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10 Circular Road, Singapore 049366

Signature drinks include the twist-on-a-classic Teh-groni, which substitutes gin for a Compendium-made tea liqueur, giving it a greater bittersweet profile than the average Negroni. If you only have room for one, make it the Rojaktini, which adds pink peppercorn infusion and torch ginger flower shavings to the brand's flagship Rojak gin for a real bite.

White Shades

Founded by Stay Gold Flamingo's (#32 on Asia's 50 Best Bar 2023) JiaWei Bai, this mixology multiverse combines different cocktailian experiences in one four-floor shophouse. The odyssey begins with level one's Dessert, a playful ice cream parlour that serves alcoholic flavours on housemade juniper-flavoured cones alongside low-ABV tea cocktails.

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25 Boon Tat St, Singapore 069622

Head upstairs to the Cocktail, where Hermès scarves adorn the cushioned walls for a sharp dose of glamour and sophistication. You'll find imaginative, theatrical libations such as Savi Galloping, made with Codigo Blanco tequila, paprika, lime, fire water and smoked chips here.

Chef Hosni, formerly of Employees Only, dishes up contemporary fusion nosh like tagliatelle tossed with spiced bebek ragu and winged bean to pair. No prizes for guessing what third-floor Event is designed for, whereas the similarly imaginatively named Rooftop is a breezier, less buttoned-up space serving more affordable draft beers and draft cocktails.

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