Singapore is brimming with a huge choice of places for pre-dinner drinks, nightcaps or all-nighters. There are new bars popping up all the time, but here are just a few of those we like…
120 Tanjong Beach Walk
T: (+65) 6270 1355
Hip and hot (we mean it…literally: wear something you can still look good in despite the fact you are a sweaty betty) and a super fun al fresco, beachside evening hang out. They are busiest on Sunday afternoons and evenings. Food here is good (their weekend brunch runs from 10am until a lazy 4.30pm) and their cocktails are also pretty respectable. BTW: Great place for a Saturday night party as relatively easy to hire as it’s not their busiest night.
Opening Times (bar times only – for restaurant opening times, see EAT ME, DRINK ME: Break/Brunch/Coffee & Tea Joints): 11am-11pm Tue-Thu, 11am-1am Fri, 10am-1am Sat & 10am-12 midnight Sun. Closed Mon
KU DE TA
1 Bayfront Avenue
T: (+65) 6688 7688
Either we’ve become very good at justifying our drinking, or this really does make sense….instead of paying $20 a head to visit the MBS SkyPark here, book a table at Ku De Ta where you will only pay around $15 a drink. A veritable bargain. OK, so you can’t walk around on all the different levels like you can if you do the proper MBS tour, but so what. Very cool. Booking most definitely required. BTW: Worth saying that KTD is a franchise and this is the same, in name only, to the Bali original. The cocktails sound the same too (Early Grey martini etc) but be warned – they are not a patch on those shaken up overlooking the Seminyak sands…shame. As one barman told us after we sent a concoction back, as it tasted like a different drink to what we were knowingly anticipating, they are not mixologists here at KDT MBS like the Bali boys are. From the horse’s mouth.
Opening Times: 6pm-4am daily
The Fullerton Bay Hotel
80 Collyer Quay
T: (+65) 6333 8388
New and fabulous, we think this is one of the best bars in SG. Very Jo Lo and P. Diddy in vibe, this gives you awesome views over iconic MBS which we can’t seem to get enough of. Granted, it’s not as high as 1 Altitude, but it’s miles better, and miles hipper. They seem to have a policy of pretending to be terribly busy but in reality it’s not that hard to get a table/lounger, but you do need to book…when we were there, even hotel guests were being turned away. The food is not worth ordering (over priced and tiny portions), eat first and come here for some post sups slurping.
Opening Times: 12pm-2am daily
29 Tanglin Road
T: (+65) 6506 6866
Everything you think a London private members club should be but without the annual fee or joining hassle factor, this is the place for seriously sophisticated cocktails (‘Unrefined’ topped with its sprig of floating fennel is really worth coming here for). A great post or pre dinner pit stop. BTW: Go at the pretentiously named ‘Astor time’ – happy hour running from 3pm-8pm daily – to enjoy free canapés.
Opening Times: 3pm-2am daily (as long as you have ordered your drinks by 2am, being a hotel bar, their drink-up time is pretty flexible)
National Museum of Singapore (#01-02)
93 Stamford Road
T: (+65) 6336 8770
The courtyard bar (more so than the restaurant, café and inside bar) is the place to go for a secluded drink. Created by the grandiose classical wings of the Singapore National Gallery, Novus is a very discreet (and sadly sometimes rather empty because of its hidden location) spot for hunkering down with a bottle of bubbly and being transported back to colonial splendor.
Opening Times: 6pm-12am Mon-Sat; closed Sun
8d Dempsey Road
Singapore 249 672
T: +65 6475 2217
A masterclass in molecular gastronomy, this bar and restaurant is one of a kind in Singapore. Hailed as Asia’s answer to Ferran Adria or Heston Blumenthal by foodies in the know, Ryan Clift serves up challenging and visually impressive food. The cocktails hold their own in the style-stakes and succeed in being both theatrical and delicious: 9/10 for Teacher’s Tipple which arrives in a hipflask concealed within a dusty old volume; Smoky Old Bastard’s presentation is second to none (a cocktail in a corked bottle with swirling cigar smoke on top of it) and there are plenty more. Well worth a beginning-of-evening detour (will anything live up to them?) or better still, drop by for an end of night closing cocktail and divine desert. Just don’t ask for tap water. They don’t do it. Sit at the bar inside amid the suspended orchids dangling from the ceiling or on the decked, candle lit terrace outside. BTW: The Dempsey location is a bit obscure and if you aren’t here on a Friday or a Saturday, it can be eerily quiet…the benefit though is that you have the bartender’s undivided attention and they will happily create off-piste concoctions if what you want isn’t on the menu (unlikely). Think Heston B in SG.
Opening Times: 6pm-10.30pm Tue-Sat. Closed Mon
The Terrace: 6pm-9pm Tue-Sat. Closed Mon
1 Fullerton Square
T: (+65) 6733 8388
The Fullerton has to be the coolest version of an old post office we’ve seen in a while. Not forgetting its heritage, their best bar is very sleek and stylish and the gives the over-used label ‘cocktail bar’, credence.
Opening Times: 12pm-2am Mon-Fri; 5pm-2am Sat; 3pm-2am Sun
SCREENING ROOM45 Club Street Singapore 069422
T: (+65) 6221 1694
Listed here for its low-key late night drinking capability, but otherwise a fun place for an off-beat art house movie (see FUN listing). Push your way to the very top of the building where you will find the, invariably pretty rammed, roof top terrace bar (they have another indoor bar which is also usually full to over-flowing). A self proclaimed union of film, food and nightlife, this is a multi-tasking venue if ever there was one. Besides its two bars, it also offers viewings of arthouse and mainstream movies paired with relevant food (i.e. watch The Godfather and eat cannelloni).
Opening Times: 6pm-1am Mon-Fri; 6pm-3am Saturdays; closed Sun
The Esplanade (#04-01)
8 Raffles Avenue
T: (+65) 6336 9366 or (+65) 9733 6911
Perched on the very top of the Esplanade, this outside bar may have a slightly pedestrian – but perfectly good – cocktail and wine list, but it’s the atmosphere, view and fresh air that you come for. Sit and slurp looking down on the Fullerton, the Merlion and more. For those off alfresco drinking, stylish glass airconditioned boxes can be reserved – or turn up early and help yourself.
Opening Times: 5pm-2am daily
Odeon Towers (#03-07)
331 North Bridge Road
T: (+65) 6338 8035
A play on the word roof, Loof may think it’s the rooftop bar that beats all others….but they are wrong about that. They are only on the 3rd floor which rather scuppers the notion of sitting and slurping and looking down on the world (which a rooftop bar rather implies). All in all, we are not blown away but there is great seating – loungey and leather and based around two trees which make this place special. There’s a good mix of international cocktails with fun, in-house stuff they call their own. Makes a break from the rather too obvious Swissôtel’s bar ‘City Space’ (T: (+65) 6837 3322 if you are feeling unadventurous, or if it’s raining – Loof has no roof). If you get there for happy hour (5pm-8pm and 30% off your first drink is not that exciting, but bring your biz card or UOB credit card and it’s 1 for 1 that runs til 8.30pm) it can be quite good value. Before you order, ask what their offers are (at the time of writing, Monday is satay night (ie free satay with your drinks; we didn’t find this out in time and ordered and paid for satay), Wednesday is martini night with 40% off martinis etc etc). Happy hour does not run every day and on Sundays a UOB or business card will only get you a measily 10% off drinks, but the promo does go on all night.
Opening Times: 5pm-1am Sun-Thu, 5pm-3am Fri & Sat
W WINE BAR
11 Club Street
T: (+65) 6223 3886
If you smoke and drink and want to do the two together, indoors, then this is for you. A great late night drinking den, it’s open ‘til 1am.
Opening times: 6pm-1am