When The Other Room opened in 2016, it was an establishment that defined the spirit of the speakeasy trend catching fire around the city. Parked behind clandestine black doors in Marriott Hotel, The Other Room offered drinkers a setting where they could not only explore cocktails revived from the prohibition-era but spirits with different finishes. Smoked, infused, housed in different casks, all these unique expressions were the babies of one man’s vision and expertise — Dario Knox.
Like his bar, Knox has become a bartending icon, not just in Singapore, but in countries that he’s worked in, such as England, Australia and beyond. After The Other Room’s reputation has settled as one of Asia’s Best Bars for two years running, Knox has moved into his latest project, The Other Roof at Ann Siang House. The massive hotel rooftop bar has become his temple to tea-infused spirits, further exploring his passion for experimenting with liquor.
The Other Room is not your skyscraping rooftop bar. What you get are buildings from the Central Business District and the Chinatown neighbourhood towering around you, making for a great change of scenery from the usual Marina Bay views.
Designed entirely by Knox, the 75-seater bar is fit with comfortable outdoor furniture, clustered to fit large groups. While we firmly believe you should sit outdoors (what else is the point of visiting a rooftop bar, right?), The Other Roof also features a long bar that offers a different view, where drinks being whipped up in real-time.
Knox’s modus operandi for The Other Roof was the merger between afternoon tea and cocktail hour. To achieve that, there are 300 different tea-infused spirits behind the bar, of which a good portion are used in the 14 concoctions unique to Knox’s new menu.
The sheer bulk of tea-infused spirits is astounding, but what makes this exercise more admirable is the fact that all the tea blends used are designed in-house. Knox and his team, which includes bar manager Macarena Rotger, have worked with a large tea supplier to craft over 80 blends for the bar, and these are also available for retail in-house.
The union between tea and spirit leads to surprising results. One such combination, titled Aloe From The Other Side, features the citrusy Citadelle gin from France finished with soft, nutty rooibos tea. When served with their housemade tonic, one gets a crisp, zesty libation that goes down dangerously easy.
Monkey See Monkey Do is another effortless thirst quencher. Five simple ingredients make the cocktail: sugar, soda, lemon, grapefruit and Monkey 47 gin finished with one of the bar’s signature teas. The tea, called Pink Fluid, offers juicy pomegranate notes to the otherwise peppery, green German gin, and this crossover lifts the entire cocktail to refreshing new heights.
For something with more of a punch, there’s the Chocola Tea. Pedro Ximinez sherry, chocolate liqueur and vodka infused with a tea that has notes of a latte macchiato come together in a glass to delicious results. Smooth, chocolatey and moreish, this drink goes down like a good lover.
Diehard fans of The Other Room can remain assured that some of their favourites have been imported to the new address as well. The Other Whiskey Sour, Reversed Gin & Tonic and more all own a place on The Other Roof’s menu. While the recipe remains untouched for now, Knox does plan to tweak the drinks with tea infusions in the near future.
The Other Roof also has a substantial selection of bar bites for sharing. The usual suspects like hummus, mini beef sliders, cheese platters and oysters are accompanied by other inventive snacks that you don’t often spot on bar menus.
One of our favourites was the bikini sandwiches. Toasted with ham and truffle or grilled zucchini and olives, this Spanish staple comes to the table in small slices, perfect for pecking at without the mess. Another crowd pleaser was the beetroot hummus, an earthy take on its chickpea cousin that you won’t be able to stop from dipping into.
Rooftop bars are a concept done to death in Singapore, and yet, Knox brings something fresh and engaging to the table with the bar’s tea-infused library of cocktails and spirits, you can’t help but regard The Other Roof with renewed eyes.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 4.30pm to 12am
Recommended drinks: Aloe From The Other Side, Monkey See Monkey Do
Price: Cocktails range from S$22 to S$26, teas range from S$8 to S$13 a pot, and infusions range from S$15 to S$20.
Noise level: Noisy.
Service: Attentive and fast.