Here are the best Orchard Road bars to hit up in 2019
WHETHER you’re a thirsty tourist visiting Singapore’s grandest shopping street for the first time or a seasoned shopping arcade strutter, there will come a time when you want to put the tired feet up and nurse a solid pick-me-up.
Labyrinth of shopfronts and malls that Orchard Road is, here’s your roadmap to some of the drinking institutions you really want to visit in your time here.
Bar or museum? There’s definitely an education to be had at this massive storehouse-slash-tasting-gallery of some of the world’s rarest and most storied bottles. It’s been open for less than a year, and it’s smack bang in the middle of the action at Ion Orchard, unbeknownst to most.
Just hit up the Level 5 carpark and follow the gryphon. Start with the basic whisky flights and ask for a tour of the vault, if you’re ready to geek out a little on whisky history.
The Grande Whisky Collection
This spot on Emerald Hill is somewhat of an institution by now, so be sure to show up early or maintain a good relationship with the floor manager. Charming shophouse interiors and a spot away from the shopping arcade hubbub may have contributed to that old-world allure.
You want to be here during 1-for-1 Martini hours (after 9pm if memory serves). Be warned: no gents or ladies under 25 and 23, respectively – and they’re firm on this regulation.
No. 5 on Emerald Hill
Want interesting cocktails we’re fairly sure are unique to Singapore? Say no more, fam. Black Nut‘s nailed the art of cheeky and delicious with their irreverently-named libations.
Start with the indulgent Power Chendol and flagship pineapple-housed Huat Ah!, then be very specific as to how much spice your crew can take, because they’ve got some chilli-infused ones lying in ambush. You’ll get some gourmet renditions of local and regional flavours here, too.
Before speakeasies were cool in Singapore, there was the Horse’s Mouth. Jostle for a bar seat before things get rowdy – part of the joy to be had here is tasking the bartenders with left-field requests that let them showcase their expertise.
To go with the many cocktails with a decidedly Japanese slant, order up a bowl of piping hot Uma Uma ramen. (If you’re a newbie, that’s likely the restaurant you walked through to get here. Ask around for the second secret entrance.)
It’s no secret that hotel bars boast some of the best drinks programmes and refined interiors, but that doesn’t make every hotel bar a shoo-in on a curated list. You won’t go wrong with these ones, starting with the legendary The Other Room.
As impassioned as the Mad Hatter is, wouldn’t you think he can whip up a mean tea? Apply that logic to head bartender Dario Knox, who goes wild-eyed and almost out of breath when sharing the crazy scale of the experiments he’s been doing with all manner of spirits.
The result is a damned fine drinks menu with engineered nuances you’ll never find any where else in the world. Add that to the allure of reading the Prohibition-style menu by flashlight after finding the secret door, and you’ve got a recipe for an exciting night on Orchard.
(As it turns out, Knox went on to start rooftop bar The Other Roof, with tea as the focus of his new set of cocktails. Called it.)
The Other Room
Can’t mention Orchard Road bars without pointing out the one that’s been awarded the #1 spot – twice – in the coveted Asia’s 50 Best Bars rankings. A trip here and you’ll see the guides are right on the money, though.
The sprawling array of spirits available, superb service, spaciousness and plush interiors are mixed in with some of the most inventive folks in the drinks industry for a seamless, elevated bar experience you won’t mind forking out the dough for. Singapore represent.
A little away from the action, but if you want to escape the masses after a hard day’s shopping, the cab ride to Shangri-La Singapore’s Origin Bar is highly worth it. Double that on Fridays and Saturdays, when a live band jazzes up the colonial-style establishment.
In a small party? Try to snag the side booths, which have curtains that you can draw. Trust us, it adds an extra layer of exhilaration.
Going for something less high-brow and crowded? Hotel Jen’s tenth-storey lounge has been chugging along fine right in the heart of the action but somehow gone unnoticed by most.
With daily offers like one-for-ones till 7pm and bottomless prosecco and beer (ladies and gents, respectively) from 6pm to 9pm, it’s perfect for those ready to call it a day.