Chase down: The best sake bars in Singapore

When you were a child, having a Japanese meal meant zooming straight for the kid’s section on the menu and trying to figure out whether you’d prefer your dinner to come in a shinkansen or a plane. Fast forward to jaded adulthood, and you’re probably hitting up the sake bar or list first thing through the door, because what’s enjoying Japanese food without being able to clink cups and yell, “Kampai”?

To a casual drinker, the barrier for entry into sake is far less intimidating then delving into spirits like whisky. This clear rice wine, more appropriately termed nihonshu, is light to drink, with barely any astringency on the nose. It has the typical ABV European wines would have, ranging from 9%-16%, so you can drink with the ease of not getting too drunk (sort of). Rumour has it that sake hangovers don’t feel nearly as lethal as other wine and spirit classes too, but don’t quote us on that.

If you’re looking for a sake bar to call port at this weekend, here are 5 of our top picks from around Singapore.

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1/5

Bam! Tapas Sake Bar

Bam! is a unique tapas and sake place that serves you top-line sake and Euro-fusion bites. It’s a place that’s hip, lively and warm, with a carefully curated sake menu that spans 100 bottles. Bam! doesn’t just focus on sake from the main sake-producing regions, but brings in lesser known bottles from smaller breweries like Shizuoka and Tochigi. If you’re looking for a great dinner and drinks option to cap off your evening, make Bam! the one to visit.

Bam!, 38 Tras St, Singapore 078977, +65 6226 0500 

2/5

Kakure at Ki-Sho

Kakure is the sake bar accompaniment to the fine dining Japanese restaurant, Ki-Sho. Housed in a black-and-white colonial bungalow, coming to Kakure means taking your sake seriously, and wanting to fork out equally serious prices. That shouldn’t be any deterrent if you love quality rice wine. The bar serves omakase and sake, with a jaw-dropping supply of artisanal bottles to set any sake fan’s heart on fire. Opt for the pairing menu to make the experience count.

Kakure, 29 Scotts Road, Singapore 228224, +65 6733 5251

3/5

Orihara Shouten

This small, intimate sake bar will transport you into the heart of Tokyo just by passing through the panelled doors. Orihara Shoten is a bar where sake is revered, and you’ll find no typical mass-market labels here. Instead, the bulk of its offerings comprises rare and artisanal bottles for the keen sake enthusiast to try. The bar also has a seasonal sake of the day, if you’re a tad overwhelmed by the 200 bottles in stock.

Orihara Shoten, Robertson Walk, Singapore 237995, +65 6836 5680

4/5

Bar Ippudo

Hakata ramen restaurant Ippudo is already a household name in Singapore. Its bar and retail outlet is one where you can line your stomach with noodles as you pore over an intense sake menu, spanning limited first-press seasonal sakes, and over 50 sakes by the glass on the menu. You can be sure that the sake you’re about to enjoy has been picked by a discerning expert, as its resident sommelier actually flies down to the brewery to sample each expression before they appear at Bar Ippudo. Sake novices can also order a tasting flight, with three sakes to sample.

Bar Ippudo, Shaw Centre, 1 Scotts Road, #04-23, Singapore 228208, +65 6235 2547

5/5

Bōruto

Just to be clear, this place wasn’t named after Naruto’s son. Instead, this sake bar on the second level of Bōruto houses sake in a vault, with over 50 labels being exclusive to this bar by the bottle. Those not mentally prepared to drop a couple hundred and up on a bottle can seek help from the in-house sommelier, or pick a sake from a list of 15 available by the glass. Despite the high-end variants of sake sold here, Bōruto’s happy hour promotions are wallet-friendly. Happy hours are from Monday to Saturday, 4:30pm to 8pm.

Bōruto, Golden Castle Building, 80 South Bridge Rd, #01-01, S058710

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