THERE are few excursions as exciting as scoping out new bars to find out if they can make the regular haunts list. Ambience, the breadth of its menu, bonuses like good nosh – the parameters differ for each individual, but we’re certain the five listed here score high in each metric. Take the buds or crew here to chill out before 2019 hits.
01: MO Bar
Skyline views and progressive cocktails come together at Mandarin Oriental’s new bar. Take for example the Rough Waters by the Sea; it features herb cognac wine and edible coral. The Sea Beast, on the other hand, fuses black ink coriander soju and fizzy yuzu sushi. Pair your drinks with cured and pickled bites such as hamachi (pickled roots, shiso aioli and pine nuts) as well as Kurubota pork belly bao.
You’d hardly think that an intimate cocktail bar lies in wait in a mega club like Zouk. Targeted at those in the know as well as cocktail lovers, Queens takes inspiration from the New York City borough and the hip hop legends it birthed.
On the menu are eight libations categorised by the four pillars of hip hop: DJing, MCing, breakdance and graffiti. Highlights include Blaq Poet, which fuses pineapple rum and campari with espresso and cardamom, and the earthy North 6th St, which combines mezcal with lime juice, beetroot juice and crème de cacao and is served with a chocolate chunk.
03: Eliza Cocktail Club
Eliza Cocktail Club (or simply, Eliza) brings the glamorous city of Shanghai to Telok Ayer. Described as a “modern Asian bar”, the low-lit lounge’s plush pinstripe chairs and velvet couches centre around the stage, where live jazz singers serenade guests. The Group Chief Bartender (Sam Wong of Ah Sam fame)has created a cocktail menu that borrows from the Golden Age of cocktails in the 1800s, and reinterprets classic concoctions.
One key signature is the Drums & Sax, which takes on the Old Fashioned with its eclectic combination of Old Tom Gin and Ginger Liqueur. Chamomile syrup and honey are added for depth and sweetness, which is delicately balanced with the spicy notes from the Peychaud Bitters. Check out our full review of the bar here.
Here’s something you don’t hear every day: Tea-finished tipples. The bar in question is The Other Roof, the rooftop bar at Ann Siang House Hotel. Over 400 tea-finished spirits are available here, each created in-house — think gins, rum and vodka infused with a brew.
Those looking for a punchy drink need to try 1928, a tribute to Lucien Gaudin’s achievement of his gold medals in 1924 and 1928. Dry and perfectly bitter, it combines dry vermouth, triple sec, campari and gin. Complement your brew-infused libations with bar chows such as wood-smoked oysters, and spicy italian sausages grilled over bruschettas. The man behind the tipples? Dario Knox, the same mastermind behind popular haunt The Other Room.
05: IB HQ Singapore
Here’s where you’ll find the crème de la crème of local-inspired cocktails. IB HQ is the brick and mortar brainchild of the Indigenous Bartender, a platform that brings together bartenders who advocate the use of locally sourced ingredients. Drinks here are not your classic cocktails — these are only available upon request. Examples of its unique signatures include the Musa, which combines banana whisky, maple syrup and Xocolatl Bitters, or the Bunga Raya, which fuses blended malt whisky, hibiscis falernum and perrier.