ANOTHER new face has joined the Singapore bar lineup, and she’s got a little fire in her. Christened “Eliza”, the bar’s part of an unfolding storyline that started with Sum Yi Tai and Mona Lounge at Boon Tat street.
TL:DR – Knockout tipples | Insta-worthy | Food you’ll come back for | Solid band catered to old souls (Cantopop, Hokkien, modern)
Stylistic differences aside, you’ll find the core DNA of the chain only improved on here: poppin’ music from a seasoned live band, mean cocktails that hit like right hooks, and bar bites that are substantial and delicious enough for the menu to stand on its own in a restaurant. In short, the perfect recipe for a one-stop destination that’ll take you from aperitifs to dinner, then late-night chilling. It’s also a stone’s throw away from Telok Ayer MRT since you’ve stashed the car at home on drinks night.
Don’t count on being able to stumble to the train station, however. The cocktails brewed here sling quite the punch – you’re getting your money’s worth in booze, we guarantee it – and are so diverse in character that you’ll voluntarily explore the breadth of it, perhaps over multiple trips. (Happy hour’s from 5pm to 8pm on weekdays.)
The maestro behind the mix magic? Sam Wong himself, who brings his vast experience of left-field, meticulously composed cocktail creations to the opulent bar.
Most of the lounge is shrouded in just the right amount of darkness – enough light to peruse the menu, but not enough to break the spell that falls upon your party once you’re through the giant safehouse doors. No, your eyes are meant to either survey the well-stocked bar or lavish some well-deserved attention on the band taking the stage.
When we visited, said stage was held down by a versatile, seasoned quartet capable of belting out everything from ’80s Canto-pop to jazzed-up ditties you’d hear on Billboard Top 40 today. They will, by now, be the resident band on most nights. DJ Aldrin, of Zouk fame, takes over the helm slightly past midnight to dish out tracks to groove to.
We advise coming in a group of 4-6 friends so you can have a great time sipping at each other’s drinks, then progressing down the horizontal flights mapped by Wong across the drinks menu. Wong graciously presents the Eliza signatures last, opting instead to pay tribute to the most storied of drinks (Sazerac, gin fizz) before progressing to more recent crafts (your Vesper and Moscow Mule)
Ask Wong for recommendations – he’s crafted a bevy of poisons to suit everyone’s taste, and we’d not presume to prescribe on a topic so personal. On separate occasions, we lapped up a Moscow Mule and Brandy Crusta (the ‘grandfather’ of the sidecar, origins in 1850) – and they were consistently well-blended while balancing tastes from wild ends of the spectrum (heat from ginger beer and cooling lime, for example).
Some were also alarmingly strong to those expecting a watered-down drink – a cause for celebration, if we may say so, and a rare trait of a bar that prides itself on making memories, not margins. Of course, if you want things neat, they’ve got Shackleton to Dalmore on hand, and a moderate wine list comprising entirely Old World wines.
As if a solid drinks programme and convenient location aren’t enough to make this place a regular haunt, Eliza brings with her the same style of elevated bar bites that you’d find at Mona Lounge.
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Expect some amount of disbelief around the table – dishes as simple as Shanghainese Style Tofu with Century Egg or the Shanghai Red Braised Pork Belly could blow you away. Both showcase the mastery of delicate elements with heavier textures and flavours. In the former, the creamy century egg that’s not overly pungent melds perfectly with the fragile and expertly-treated tofu.
Other bites we’d recommend are the Shredded Melon Duck Spring Onion Wraps and Crispy Spiced Pork Ears for the adventurous. Have both mains – the al dente Noodles with Ebi and Spring Onion Oil is a clean and easy staple to wolf down.
On your first visit, go early and be sure to pick seats suitable for your purpose – away from the stage if you want a quieter, chat, for example. The crowd here doesn’t budge once they’ve settled in.
Mon-Fri: 5pm – 3am, Sat: 5pm-4am.
Dinner and live band: Mon-Fri til 12.30am, Sat 1.30am
Happy Hour: Mon-Fri from 5 – 8pm, Saturday 6pm to 8pm.