While most of us might choose to blank out all memories of the ’90s (take a moment to recall your sister’s scrunchies and crimped hair, your dad’s fanny pack, and your own oversized acid-wash jeans), there is a bunch of folk who do not see only the cringeworthy aspects of the forsaken decade. In fact, they find the era and all its tamagotchis worth celebrating, and have recently launched what is certainly Singapore’s first ’90s-themed cocktail bar.
Located on the second floor of boutique hotel, The Sultan, FRESH! is helmed by buddies Mike Cheong and Shawn Kishore. Both born in the mid-80s, they openly admit to spending their formative years bobbing to songs such as MMMBop by teen band, Hanson, and Barbie Girl by Aqua, and this bar-club is their first joint venture. But in no way are they newbies to the nightlife scene, as Kishore has a day job as managing director of bar consultancy company Bespoken Concepts, while operations manager, Cheong, is the winner of the regional cocktail competition La Maison Cointreau Asia 2015. Given their career backgrounds, not only are these two well-versed in bar management, but they most certainly also understand what constitutes a good drink.
Indeed, aside from a fun and eye-catching mural that includes ’90s pop cultural references such as Super Mario Brothers and Nirvana’s iconic Nevermind album cover (and even Big Splash at East Coast Park) which unfolds graffiti-style above eye level across a few walls, the cocktails whipped up at the bar are definitely worth checking out. The team of champion bartenders were carefully handpicked for their competency and adroitness in concocting tasty drinks, and the all-original menu (priced at $22-24 per cocktail) attests to that with the bartenders’ personal renditions of crowd favourites.
Entirely in line with the fun vibe of the joint, the cocktails eschew names that are cliched and forgettable – instead, you’ll find the list consists of the Xin Jia Po Sling (a zesty incarnation of the Singapore Sling, the Kopi Negroni (a caffeinated pick-me-up that will perk you up), and the FRESH! Sandy Sex (need more be said?), amongst others. And spirit connoisseurs will be happy to know that aside from a selection of good cocktails, they also very proudly create their own blends of gin and rum.
But, back to the music. Kishore says that Since FRESH!’s opening, they have been receiving lots of requests from excited Gen-Y patrons to host ’90s-music karaoke nights so that they can exuberantly belt out tunes like Macarena and Ice Ice Baby, and after staging a very successful one-off session in mid-August, he says that they are likely to host another – or perhaps even make it a regular gig.
So, watch this space. But meanwhile, if you’re looking to reminisce and unapologetically relive the cheesy fun of the 90s, you know where to go.