Orchard Road is both the easiest, and the most challenging place in Singapore to navigate. The entire stretch, beginning (arguably) from Far East Plaza to an ambiguous grey area around Cuppage Plaza, is the default place for many Singaporeans to visit, no matter the need or time of day. Its centrality may have something to do with that, but the sheer amount of options contained within that strip forms a compelling reason. Our absurd national obsession with whiling time away in shopping malls makes for another solid factor.
Looking for dinner? Orchard Road. Looking to shop? Orchard Road. Looking to get lost in a suffocating crowd? Orchard Road. These are all truths to visiting one of the most populated areas in Singapore. Many don’t see the place as one to visit for drinks, preferring more nightlife-centric areas like Ann Siang Hill, Club Street or Clarke Quay. Contrary to how it appears, this congested shopping belt is also packed with a number of quality drinking spots well worth a try.
You’ll definitely need a drink after dealing with the Friday night squeeze there, after all.
Emerald Hill is full of crowded bars, but No. 5 is at the peak of those well worth the jostle. The joint mixes a mean martini, serves up absolutely scrumptious prawn paste chicken wings, and allows you to throw peanut shells on the floor for the fun of it. You really can’t ask for much more.
No. 5 At Emerald Hill, 5 Emerald Hill Road, Singapore 229289, +65 6732 0818
One of Singapore’s pioneering hidden bars is The Horse’s Mouth, an izakaya that’s a favourite amongst locals and Japanese visitors. Enter through a curtain from Uma Uma Ramen, and you’ll be right smack in a wonderland of quality Nihon beers, whiskies and sakes. The bar makes excellent cocktails too.
The Horse’s Mouth, Forum the Shopping Mall, 583 Orchard Road, #B1-39, Singapore 238884, +65 6235 1088
Despite topping the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list this year, and being a fixture on the World’s Best Bars ranking, Manhattan still remains dedicated to upping its game. On the surface, it’s a swanky bar that removes you from Singapore, but at its core, Manhattan’s a place that people who love an A+ cocktail can flock to, and be comfortable at. There’s no pretence, just good American-style food and drinks. Its recently launched American Whiskey Embassy — a collection of over 150 rare whiskey bottlings that you can gawk at and try — makes the establishment even more exciting.
Manhattan Bar, Regent Singapore, 1 Cuscaden Road, Level 2, Singapore 249715, +65 6725 3377.
There’s no place like this bar to get your hands on a top-of-the-line martini. It’s pretty much incontestable. Whether you like it dry, wet, as a Gibson, or want to explore flavoured permutations of the martini, here’s where you ought to be. It’s also got happy hour deals that’ll make you smile.
Martini Bar at Mezza9, 10 Scotts Road, Grand Hyatt, Singapore 228211, +65 6738 1234
Is this the secret bar to end all hidden bars? Perhaps so. Right behind the black curtain at Marriott Hotel is The Other Room, a fantastical bar run by Dario Knox, who’s a whiz behind both cocktails and crafting spirits. In honour of its first year, the bar has launched a secret menu, with cocktails you won’t find out about until you’ve filled out a “passport” to vouch that you’ve tried all 30 of its signature drinks. Read more about that here.
The Other Room, Tangs Plaza Marriott Hotel, 320 Orchard Road, Singapore 2388865, +65 8300 6085
Mitzo may be best known for its mod-Canto cuisine (the char siew is top-notch, trust us), but it’s got a decent bar programme too. The cocktails are mostly made with an Asian twist and can be enjoyed with food or on their own, at the atmospheric bar flanked by a three-metre long jellyfish tank.
Mitzo, Level 4 Grand Park Orchard, 270 Orchard Road, Singapore 238857, +65 6603 8855
Established by the Les Amis Group, Caveau is the place to visit if you want a no-frills, wine-filled night. The place is a coffee spot by day, but transforms into a casual wine bar by night. The selection focuses mainly on French wines, Burgundies in particular, but there’s definitely something for every alcoholic persuasion.
Caveau Bar, 1 Scotts Rd, Singapore 228208, +65 6737 2622
The folks behind the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland have established one of Singapore’s finest jazz bars, and it’s here that you can expect to be satisfied by quality drinks, daily live music performances, and hearty Western fare.
Montreux Jazz Café, 10 Claymore Road, Pan Pacific Orchard, Singapore 229540, +65 6733 0091
Fans of blues, lounge music and chill vibes ought to pay Alley Bar a visit. The spot is a popular one along the Orchard Road stretch and is usually frequented by the after-work crowd. Unwind after a long day with its selection of cocktails, wines, spirits and bar bites.
Alley Bar, Peranakan Place, 180 Orchard Road, Peranakan Place, Singapore 238846, +65 6738 8818
A bar completely dedicated to aperitifs is hard to come by in Singapore, but the revamped One-Ninety Bar has since taken care of that. Fronted by Joseph Haywood, the bar’s l’aperitivo selection spans anything from an Aperol Spritz to a solid negroni, and you’re also entitled to its selection of cold cuts and cheeses with every order of a drink.
One-Ninety Bar, Four Seasons Hotel, 190 Orchard Boulevard, Singapore 248646, +65 6734 1110