Singapore’s CBD (Central Business District), and the swarming streets that flank it are as corporate as our nation gets.
To work here is to be a part of the grind that speeds this country forward, and to commit to intensely competitive industries that can frankly be quite soul-sucking. The reality speaks for itself as there’s never a night around the area where bars aren’t populated. A good, chilled drink is one accessible highlight to turn to after a long day’s hustle.
To ensure that you’re doing the most (dis)service to your liver if you so happen to be rooted to the area, this edition of Lifestyle Asia’s Bar Guide series focuses on Singapore’s CBD. For the sake of convenience, our picks on the list are a walkable distance from Raffles Place, which includes the Collyer Quay and HongKong Street area. If you’re located or visiting Boat Quay, Tanjong Pagar, or Telok Ayer — other neighbourhoods that count themselves a part of the CBD — just click on those names to be directed to its respective bar guide.
That aside, any of the places on this list are also worthwhile to bring a tourist, have a date, or host a meeting. On to our top 10 picks.
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The Fullerton Hotel arguably holds one of the most attractive views of the Singapore River around the CBD. If you are not staying there, head up to The Lighthouse’s rooftop bar where you can enjoy the same exquisite vantage point as you enjoy a bottle of wine, or some cocktails. Those who want to have dinner along with their drinks can enjoy a fine Italian meal at The Lighthouse restaurant itself.
Shinkansen, a salad bar by day, morphs into The Secret Mermaid by night. The blink-and-you-miss-it cocktail bar is hidden from view, but well worth looking out for because of the extensive range of American craft spirits catalogued within, from barrel-aged gin to smoked salmon vodka. It is a pretty cosy establishment with limited seating, which is all the more reason to head down around its 5 pm opening time, and give yourself a break.
The Black Swan, an icon in the local drinks and dining scene, is the joint to be at to treat yourself after an arduous day at the office. The Art Deco-style bistro bar has excellent happy hour deals, with S$9++ house pour drinks and S$2++ fresh oysters, from 5pm to 8pm, Mondays through Fridays. We can’t think of a better way to start an evening.
Update: The Black Swan is on a temporary hiatus at the moment.
Taste a slice of Catalonian revelry at FOC, a Spanish tapas bar by Michelin-starred chef, Nandu Jubany. It is one of the best places around the CBD to get yourself a well-made jug of sangria, with the bonus of enjoying small plate dishes made from seasonal produce in a casual atmosphere.
If you want to immerse yourself in the epicentre of Singapore’s cocktail culture, there’s nowhere better than 28 HongKong Street. The hidden, speakeasy-style bar exudes American-style sophistication and the promise of bespoke cocktails that never disappoint.
Marcello, a new entrant to the Singaporean bar scene is the nighttime alter ego of Publico, a deli at The Quayside. Everything at the bar from its cocktails to the small bites, present an innovative spin of traditional Italian fare. Opt for its unique spin on aperitifs to start, like a punchy smoked black olive negroni or an Amalfi sour.
Super Loco is one of Singapore’s freshest Mexican restaurant-bars, with booze and bites that don’t skimp on flavour. If you’re in the mood for a joint with a lighthearted vibe, go to Super Loco, grab yourself a table, a jug of margaritas, some juicy tacos and you’re all set. It also accommodates teetotallers with a selection of non-alcoholic agua frescas.
It’s a pain to have to entertain after working hours, whether it be for personal or professional reasons. We get the struggle, and the need to impress, so if you’re showing someone foreign around, take them for a night at 1-Altitude. The sky-high bar offers a 360-degree view of the cityscape, guaranteed to awe. But, if you’re just looking to nab yourself a pint after-work, the establishment has a relaxed ground floor bar to park yourself at too.
The al fresco Bar on Chulia is conveniently located next to some of the most populated office buildings in the CBD, and they sure cater to the crowd. To help you loosen up, liquid buffets are available each evening, from 5pm to 11pm, alongside S$1 fresh oysters on Thursdays.