Andrew Lum Photography
Singapore’s cocktail scene has developed quite a bit since the Singapore Sling at the Raffles Hotel. The city state already has an enviable culinary scene that ranges from $2 hawker fare to gourmet headliners spearheaded by Michelin star chefs; the recent surge in speakeasy and hidden bars makes the equatorial city just as inviting in the dark. You just have to know where to look.
28 Hong Kong Street
28 Hong Kong Street has helped shape the cocktail scene in Singapore as they were one of the first speakeasy bars in the city. They have a very sexy and incredibly innovative cocktail menu that you should delve deep into. Their boutique spirits are worth trying too – be sure to ask for recommendations.
What to order: An Old Fashioned – they can make it from anything you like.
28 Hong Kong Street, Singapore, 059667 | Phone: +65 6533 2001
For a bar that’s hidden behind a secret door and requires a password to get in, The Library is possibly Singapore’s worst kept secret. You can find the password, which changes often, on their Facebook Page, or you can pop next door to their sister restaurant, The Study, and ask the staff for it.
Modeled to look like the speakeasy establishments in the Prohibition era, the bar is dark, with wall-to-wall bottles of alcohol behind the bar, and the vibe is almost too-cool-to-care. But oh, they do care, especially about their cocktails. The cocktails are creative, and often playful, served in copper mugs. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want in a drink, and have them recommend a mug of magic.
What to order: Bloody Mary with lamb fat-washed vodka
47 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089153 | Tel: +65 6221 8338
Located in the equivalent of Williamsburg of Singapore, Bincho at Hua Bee is a tiny bar/ restaurant occupying the back of a half-a-century-old traditional Chinese mee pok eatery that is still in operation. The mee pok spot continues to run in the day while Bincho operates during lunch and dinner hours. Be sure to get a reservation because this space is tiny; even if you find you’re practically sitting on someone else’s lap, this place is absolutely worth it. They have a solid selection of sake, whisky, and beers from craft brewer Hitachino, as well as cocktails. Be sure to try their rooster comb as a bar snack.
What to order: Banks of Bincho, a concoction that includes Taketsuru Whisky, Angostura bitters and Mikan juice.
78 Moh Guan Terrace, Unit 01-19, Singapore 162078 | Phone: +65 6438 4567
If you think the rest of the ones of this list is not exactly hidden, Operation Dagger will send you on a treasure hunt. The only sign to the bar is a vampire-like scrawl at the entrance before you find yourself in a dark corridor and stairwell that leads you into a unique bar experience in Singapore. Much of the spirits have been distilled locally, so instead of familiar brands lining the bar, you’ll see apothecary-like bottles, with labels scrawled by hand.
What to order: Gomashio, black sesame distilled cocktail with citrus notes. Or you can also ask for the Omakase experience.
7 Ann Siang Hill, Singapore, 069791
Ah Sam Cold Drinks Stall
There is a “love-you-long-time” massage parlor on the third floor of the shophouse that Ah Sam Cold Drinks Stall calls home; where you want to go is on the second (at least we hope). Located in the tourist trap and seedy bars central that is Boat Quay, Ah Sam Cold Drinks Stall is not like the others around the area. The bar is small, and they don’t try too hard, but what they do, they do it well.
What to order: Any of their localized cocktails. Think drinks inspired by Milo, Gula Melaka and Potong ice cream.
60 Boat Quay, Singapore 049848