Restaurants & Nightlife

3 MINUTE READ

Sustainable bars in Singapore

Words by Shamilee Vellu

28 February 2024

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If you fancy a cocktail with a side of eco-mindedness, visit one of these four spots.

Green is trending in Singapore’s most innovative bars, and we're not talking Midori. In response to growing environmental concerns, some of the country's most progressive watering holes are taking on the challenge of creating a more responsible drinking culture in an industry known for its food wastage and high carbon footprint. At these bars, sustainability goes beyond simply jettisoning plastic straws – it’s a mindset permeating every aspect of their business.

Whether they’re using locally sourced ingredients, creating root-to-leaf cocktails, or embracing circular economy models, these bars show it's possible to create drinks and bites that are sustainable, innovative, and delicious. Here's where to try Singapore’s best green cocktails:

Native

The bar that got people ingesting ants (in its infamous Antz cocktail), Native Bar was well ahead of the sustainable drinking curve when it opened on Amoy Street in 2016. Founded by Vijay Mudalia, it's spread out over three floors – a ground-floor restaurant, a second-floor main bar, and an attic experimental lab – and features a laid-back, 'repurposed' aesthetic (think upcycled furniture, drinking vessels and coasters). Its tightly curated cocktail list celebrates locally and regionally sourced ingredients (like intensely earthy buah keluak seeds). It creatively reuses ingredients usually binned, like leftover curds, from making clarified milk punches.

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52A Amoy St, Singapore 069878

Start your Native experience by ordering one of its classics like the Pineapple Arrack. It's made using a Sri Lankan spirit distilled from the sap of coconut flowers, then infused with flavour-makers like pineapple skins and Ceylonese cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, and cloves. The food menu is also worth perusing – a plant-forward selection that shares Native's drinks' sustainable, regional ethos. A good pick? The nose-to-tail chicken pao fan, a steaming-hot clay pot filled with juicy organic chicken, fragrant rice, and an intensely savoury broth rendered from roasted chicken wings and chicken feet.

Fura

Founded by a millennial power couple – chef Christina Rasmussen, previously head forager at the three-Michelin-starred Noma and bartender Sasha Wijidessa of the now-defunct Operation Dagger – this much-buzzed-about cocktail bar in Amoy Street revolves around 'future food', or sustainable drinks and dining that feature eco-friendly ingredients. These run from quirky (like locally sourced 'ugly' fruit and vegetables that would otherwise be discarded) to pretty unorthodox, like invasive species, including jellyfish, and locusts.

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74A Amoy St, Singapore 069893

But there's no need to be squeamish. Via Rasmussen and Wijidessa's skilful hands, even the most eyebrow-raising ingredients are transformed into downright delicious fare, like oyster mushrooms with nut milk dashi, kelp ice cream, and pasta with smoked almonds and yeast garum cream. And that jellyfish martini? Imagine one of the most delicious dirty martinis you've ever had – but with an added savoury edge you can't quite place.

Smoke and Mirrors

Also home to one of the most stunning views in Singapore – with Marina Bay Sands, the Singapore Flyer, and the Esplanade laid out before you – Smoke and Mirrors works to minimise its carbon footprint and promote eco-consciousness. The team endeavours to use local ingredients, from spirits to edible flowers, in their cocktails, even repurposing leftover citrus peels to create garnishes, infusions, and powders. For example, the Kiss of Revival cocktail features smoked citrus peels in a vessel shaped like a miniature cauldron.

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1 St. Andrew's Road, #06-01 National Gallery Singapore, Singapore 178957

Leftover wines are creatively repurposed as ingredients in two cocktails, Heart Strings and Liquid Seduction, and the bar uses specialised tote containers, reducing the number of glass and plastic bottles required. Following the sustainability programme at The National Gallery Singapore (where it's located), the bar also separates all bottles, cans and paper waste for easy recycling. Its latest cocktail menu, 'The Real Art of Drinking – Volume III', is inspired by traditional and modern art and offers a tasty way to see these initiatives in action.

Analogue Initiative

Push past Analogue Initiative's glass door, and it becomes apparent that this sultrily lit space (Mudalia's second venture) isn't your garden-variety night out. For starters, the bar (which won the Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award 2023) is dominated by an undulating, 20-metre-long turquoise bar top, which is entirely 3D printed from 1,600 kg of recycled plastic bottles. But if you can’t snag a seat here, make yourself comfortable on one of the intriguing 'self-growing' tables containing mycelium spores, a type of fungi.

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30 Victoria St, #01-31 Chijmes, Singapore 187996

It's an ideal perch on which to savour the creative drink menu, which focuses on local, low-impact, and biodiverse ingredients. Think carob instead of chocolate, chicory instead of coffee, and an enthusiastic use of other left-field ingredients. Like in the vibrantly fuchsia Cactus Cocktail, which includes prickly pear, pink dragon fruit, and aloe vera (cacti and succulents projected to thrive on our warming planet). Equally inventive is the food, like the Berbere-spiced jackfruit tacos, plant-based 'nuggetz', and prickly pear leather fruit roll-ups.

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Shamilee Vellu

Singapore-based Shamilee certainly knows a thing or two about the country’s luxury travel and lifestyle trends – she’s been reporting on them for the last 20 years. Her work for us is a comprehensive guide to luxury living in the Lion City.

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