Clarke Quay may be the nightlife hotspot in Singapore, but it’s next-door neighbour, Boat Quay, is arguably where the magic happens.
More than just a tourist attraction, Boat Quay offers a myriad of experiences for thirsty thrillseekers after-hours, from dive bars, clandestine clubs, to craft cocktail dens, all spotted with colourful characters once the sun goes down.
Though many of us have a mental roadmap when it comes to the bars in Boat Quay, the waterfront stretch still manages to surprise even the seasoned visitor. Let us take you through the best bars in Boat Quay — the old, the new, and the all-round exciting.
Ah Sam’s Cold Drink Stall was a cocktail bar that banked on the allure of secrecy and nostalgia before it was cool. Parked above a convenience store in Boat Quay, the venue itself is replete with vintage and old-world trinkets, all of which share space with a long bar that pushes out signature cocktails inspired by Singaporean flavours. The Tak Qiu is an Old Fashioned made with Milo-infused bourbon, while there is also the Laksa, where vodka is fat-washed with dried shrimp. For the less adventurous, there are also cocktails made with herbal flowers like chrysanthemum and osmanthus. Expect local hawker snacks like oyster omelettes and har jeong kai chicken for nibbles too.
Inspired by the Gold Rush in San Francisco and Singapore’s maritime past, Barbary Coast is a multi-concept destination just off the main Boat Quay stretch. On the lower level, you have Deadfall, a dive bar with some of the most affordable craft cocktails around, while on the second floor stands the Barbary Coast Ballroom, a lounge where well-thought-out cocktails and a “press for champagne” button are best enjoyed with their excellent cheeseboards. For our full review, click here.
Boat Quay’s standalone gin bar is tucked atop British pub, The Penny Black. Offering a wide selection of gin and cocktails, as well as tasting flights for those keen on getting educated, Begin is your one-stop-shop for fans of the spirit. There are also bar bites available, inspired by British-Indian cuisine.
Braci is one of Singapore’s top Italian restaurants and also ranked as one of the best Italian restaurants in the world. Its two-storey address houses a charming rooftop bar that overlooks the Singapore River, perfect for drinks as the sun sets. Progressive Italian dishes govern the menu here, while the cocktails tend towards classic recipes made with fresh ingredients.
Skinny’s Lounge is an American-style dive bar that’s rowdy in the best way possible. Whether you’re looking for a nightcap, or a place to start your night, the rock n’roll vibes, bustling crowd and fuss-free drinks make Skinny’s Lounge the place to be if taking yourself too seriously is your idea of obscene.
Rooftop oyster bar, Southbridge, has a 360 view of the Singapore skyline, a beauty matched only by its extensive list of gins and bubblies. Happy hour prices are friendly enough at Southbridge, with price slashes available for the oysters as well. Rest assured, they’re fresh as can be.
One of Singapore’s earliest microbreweries is a Boat Quay stalwart. Home to award-winning beers, including their famed Monster Green lager, infused with spirulina, Red Dot is the place to be for an ice-cold pint in Boat Quay.