This is your 2023 edit to the best new bars and bar menus in Singapore.
For March, Resorts World Sentosa debuts a cheery new venue called Chifa!, which highlights Peruvian-Chinese cuisine together with pisco cocktails. Secluded away in Concorde Hotel is Samsu Huay Kuan, which aims to demystify rare examples of whiskies and rums. At The NCO Club, Fish Pool has been revamped with new cocktails that drink like the tropics, and Jigger & Pony kicks off its next decade with a menu that delves into its identity.
(Hero and feature images credits: Fish Pool; Jigger & Pony)
Best new bars and bar menus in Singapore for 2023
Asian immigrants in Peru gave the South American country more than just Nikkei food, as Chifa! demonstrates. The new concept at Resorts World Sentosa is named after the term for Peruvian-Chinese cuisine, which they have translated into dishes like yellowfin tamarind ceviche and wok-fried seafood XO aeropuerto (quinoa and jasmine rice with seafood and seasonal vegetables sautéed in XO sauce). To drink, Peru’s national spirit pisco is showcased in cocktails such as the ginger ale and passionfruit Chicano de Chifa, and with condensed milk in Leche de Monja.
Resorts World Sentosa, 8 Sentosa Gateway, Ave8, 098269. Book here.
You can drink with the fishes once again at the refreshed Fish Pool. The NCO Club venue now has a list of cocktails inspired by the tropics and its surrounding elements. Ocean Inspiration takes cues from the sea with two kinds of whiskies, tropical house mix, and oyster saline tincture; while Mori Ne Geijutsu looks inland with junmai sake, orange liqueur, and sparkling fruit sake. There is also R&T Heights, a spirit-forward, clarified cinnamon rum- and tonic-based blend. The raw bar also has new seafood dishes featuring Asian, European, and Latin American flavours, and a nightly underwater performance by Singapore’s first mermaid performer, Syrena.
32 Beach Rd, The NCO Club, Singapore 189764. Book here.
Jigger & Pony
Jigger & Pony marks its 11 years in operation with a cocktail menu titled Identity, which traces the evolution of Singapore’s best bar and muses about its future. Topics like sustainability are explored through the Ugly Tomatoes cocktail, which uses unsellable heirloom beefsteak tomatoes and mixes it with gin, and a house-made herbal liqueur called kummel. Local produce is also celebrated in Honey Magnum, featuring raw honey from a Singapore beekeeper, together with bourbon, strawberry wine, and beetroot. The drink is then aged in beeswax to impart a slicker texture.
165 Tanjong Pagar Road, Amara Hotel, Singapore 088539. Book here.
Samsu Huay Kuan
Samsu gets its name from a moonshine-like Chinese rice liquor, but the alcohol here are slightly more refined. They carry an extensive range of independent bottlers of whisky and rum, as well as collectible and rare spirits from around the world. A recent lineup include special anniversary whiskies for Bar Tarlogie Sona in Osaka, and Kornog single malts from Glann Ar Mor distillery in Brittany, France. The goal, however, is to keep things approachable. “Sometimes, visiting a whisky bar can be a daunting experience with lots of bottles to choose from,” said founder Jeremiah Kee. “We have kept prices affordable and accessible for all who are curious.”
100 Orchard Rd, #02-33 Concorde Hotel & Shopping Mall, Singapore 238840. Book here.
Fine-dining Thai restaurant Sarai has revamped itself with a new food menu, interior, and bar programme. Helmed by Chimkit “Lisa” Khamphuang, the à la carte and tasting menus draw upon dishes popular among the Thai royal family such as deep-fried wagyu beef with sticky rice, dried prawns and wild ginger wrapped in betel leaves, and roasted duck soup with young coconut and shiitake mushroom. For drinks, different regions of Thailand are represented by nine cocktails such as the Pandan Grasshopper (rum, peppermint liqueur, pandan, and coconut milk) and Floating Market (vodka, caramel, calamansi, and chocolate).
163 Tanglin Rd, #03 – 122 Tanglin Mall, Singapore 247933. Book here.
Underdog Inn rides on its dark horse appeal to upend Singapore’s bar scene. Opened by the same people behind Low Tide, Sago House, and Ghostwriter, the venue took over previous tenant Burger Bar, kept its 18 taps, spruced up its New York tavern interior, and added open hearth cooking. Chefs Peter Smit and Graeme Goronovsky are responsible for nose-to-tail dishes like pig’s head scrumpet and bone marrow mash, while bartenders Jay Gray and Lee Rizali are serving 12 cocktails on draught including Martini and Old Fashioned, which can be adjusted to taste. The rest of the taps are taken up by six beers on rotation, and they also have a tight list of French and Italian wines.
115 Amoy St, #01-03, Singapore 069935. Book here.
Wildfire Burgers slowly spreads around Singapore with its third location at Robertson Walk. Replacing Lil’ Tiger, the newest branch serves crowd favourites like the Classic 001 cheeseburger and The Eggstarter, as well as two new dishes: chargrilled Argentinian grain-fed Angus striploin and chopped Caesar salad. What the latest outlet does differently is offering a bar programme. The venue has cocktails like Mezcal Negroni and Daiquiri in a one-shot format for S$9++, or in a flight of six for S$48++. Full serves are also on the menu, as well as highballs, craft beer, and American wine.
11 Unity St, #01-07, Singapore 237995, Book Here
Chef’s Table: Oyster and Champagne Bar
Capella has revamped its private dining space, Chef’s Table into the Oyster and Champagne Bar. With wicker furniture, copper pots, and a raw bar, it resembles a bistro in an expensive home.
The concept allows diners to try five kinds of oysters side by side. Of the three French Fine de Claire varieties, the balanced and mild Vertes separate the assertive David Hervé from the delicate Saint Kerber. Irish Kelly oysters are fatter, and Canada’s Fanny Bay has a quiet tang.
Russian, French, and Chinese caviar can also be sampled back to back. Chef’s Table supervisor Marie Pusung described them in terms of a film. “The Kaviari is like an action movie, while the Oscietra is a love story. The Sturia Vintage has a bit of both.”
Available by the glass, Roger Coulon Heri-Hodie Premier Cru is a non-vintage champagne that mixes aromas of marzipan and green apple with a sharp finish. Another popular option is the Jean-Louis Vergnon’s Eloquence, which offers notes of red apple and almond, plus a hint of umami. The latter is sumptous with items from the Chef’s Reserve Platter, especially rich Japanese sea urchin and intensely sweet Alaskan king crab legs.
1 The Knolls, Singapore 098297. Book here.
Last November, Lolla collaborated with Denmark-based Empirical Spirits on a cocktail pairing for their seasonal tasting menu, which was successful enough that the restaurant decided to list four of them as their signature cocktails.
Created by Empirical brand manager and Operation Dagger alumni Sasha Widjidessa, the drinks do not adhere to any classic cocktail template. Instead, ingredients are incorporated with culinary techniques such as sous vide. With a plum-based spirit, Peas Please recalls flavours of marzipan, yuzu, and basil, which sit nicely with salads and parmesan. You Say Tomato, I Say Tomato is built on a Mexican chilli spirit, and its smokiness cuts through buttery dishes like Lolla’s signature sea urchin pudding.
Made with the same chilli spirit, Lolla Luau is reminiscent of charred pineapple. Drunk alongside a river crab cooked in coconut milk and garnished with kaffir lime leaf, the combination is similar to tom yum soup. The Last Straw-Berry has a fruity, bubblegum-like aroma, but grows serious thanks to an oily texture, and aromas of apple zest and vanilla.
22 Ann Siang Road, Singapore 069702. Book here.
Modern European restaurant Lumo‘s latest cocktail menu took cues from colours that evoke certain emotions. Part of the blush red ruga hue, Manakin is a spicy and smoky number with mezcal, tequila, and bird’s eye chilli, while Serenity under the azure-leaning blua inspires calm through chamomile-infused Chita whisky, chamomile tea, and thyme-infused honey. All the cocktails are built with sustainability in mind, with most ingredients used entirely to show “respect and appreciation” for them, said head bartender Aaron Lancelot.
50 South Bridge Road, Singapore 058682. Book here.
Nostalgia is always nice in hindsight – can we go back to 2022 and seven percent GST? – and Origin Bar at Shangri-La hotel doubles down on this sentiment with 18 new drinks inspired by time travel. From 1860, the minty and fruity Chicle celebrates the creation of chewing gum, and Atomico marks the invention of the nuclear bomb in 1942 by fusing rum with yuzu, sake, and wasabi. Drinkers can also go back to the very beginning of life with Dark Matter, which combines tequila, amaro, chocolate, and smoke into a complex and intense sip.
22 Orange Grove Road, Singapore 258350. Book here.
Papa Doble is in a strange place. The bar went from being The Old Man Singapore to its current moniker early last year, kept its former offerings, got on Asia’s 50 Best Bars list under its new name, refreshed its entire team, and launched a new cocktail menu over Christmas 2022. Even founder Andrew Yap admits it. “Even till this day, Papa Doble remains in a state of partial opening.”
The bar still pays tribute to Ernest Hemingway, this time by retracing the literary giant’s journey through eight signature cocktails. A visit to Singapore is represented by a gin drink with DOM Benedictine, clarified pineapple, and pomegranate coulis, while Thailand is symbolised by chamomile-infused single estate vodka, clarified starfruit, torched ginger-infused honey, and fleur de sel. Other stops include Africa, France, Bahamas, and Italy, with vastly different ingredients from mandarin dijon foam to mascarpone gelato cream.
55 Keong Saik Road, #01-04, Singapore 089158. Book here.
Playing all the greatest hits from the 40s to the 90s is Tippling Club, which has created a jukebox of cocktails based music from the past six decades. Laid down by head bartender Arathorn Grey, the 31 drinks are named after an artist and their song, with ingredients telling their stories. Learnin’ The Blues by Frank Sinatra features the crooner’s favourite spirit, Jack Daniel’s, as well as amontillado sherry and amaro, of of which are barrel aged in an ex-ruby port cask. There’s also Funky Monks by Red Hot Chili Peppers, which highlights punchy agricole rhum with ginger and togarashi lime garnish.
38 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088461. Book here.