Think of the neighbourhoods in Singapore that you can rely on to get a solid drink after a tiring Friday, and Telok Ayer inevitably crops up. Situated in the Central Business District, Telok Ayer hugs a number of major financial centres and offices, making it a hub for after-work drinks, no matter your poison of preference.
Cocktail bars flock there, and it remains the breeding ground for Singapore’s mixology movement, especially along Amoy Street. There are also wine bistros, craft beer joints and dive bars that dot the area — it’s impossible to be thirsty.
If you find yourself spoilt for choice, here’s our definitive guide to answer where you should drink in Telok Ayer.
Bitters & Love is one of the longest-standing bespoke cocktail bars in Singapore. The hidden bar just screams indie, from its retro-inspired decor to the diverse crowd. Skip the small drinks selection, and ask the bartender to work some magic. Expect Asian-inspired and local flavours to find their way into your drink, with excellent presentation.
Bitters & Love, 118 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068587, +65 6438 1836
Moosehead Kitchen Bar is your one-stop shop for drinks and dinner. On the culinary front, the gastrobar serves up Mediterranean cuisine with Asian influences. Choose from solid portions, or appetisers to accompany its extensive selection of unique craft beers.
Moosehead Kitchen Bar, 110 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 068579, +65 6636 8055
Mojo toys with darkness and light, because the duo concept space transforms as the hours wear on. By day, it’s a place that serves high-protein and low-carb lunch boxes for the working crowd, but by night, expect yakitori bites, tapas, sake and soju to fuel the crowd. It often runs promotions during happy hour, such as one-for-one offers on wines, beers and martinis.
Mojo, 204 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068640, +65 6220 0723
If you like wine, but aren’t ready to face the jargon and potential warfare of opinions that come with choosing a bottle, head down to Napoleon Food & Wine Bar. There are 32 wines, divided into categories like smooth, fruity, deep and spicy. Make your choice, and it gets dispensed through an Enomatic wine machine for added cool. Napoleon is well suited for dinner dates as well, as it serves up mod-French cuisine to go with du vin.
Napoleon Food & Wine Bar, 206 Telok Ayer St, S068641, +65 6221 9282
There’s little else that can be said about Employees’ Only, but we’ll say it anyway. The gilded bar makes for a great place to grab a seat on a Friday evening, and watch the revelry slowly unfold as the crowd comes in. It serves up excellent cocktails, taking bespoke drink requests if you fancy. If you want more entertainment, head over to the lone table at the entrance and meet a psychic, a mentalist, or a tarot card reader. There aren’t many bars in Singapore that can boast that.
Employees’ Only, 112 Amoy Street, Singapore 069932, +65 6221 7357
If you’ve just got a hankering for a damn good classic cocktail, then head over to Jigger & Pony. Its lengthy drinks menu is inspired by 19th-century America, and the bar was one of the first in Singapore to craft a menu based entirely on the now-popular era. It’s always pretty packed, but what else does one expect from a place that always brings quality and consistency to the glass? Jigger & Pony also has punch bowls on the menu, for anyone planning to bring a larger crowd.
Jigger & Pony, 101 Amoy Street, Singapore 069921, +65 6223 9101
You can’t go wrong with burgers and beers. Freehouse ups the ante with that winning combination by serving up craft beers and ciders on tap to crowds who just aren’t satisfied with the run-of-the-mill draught brews that populate bars islandwide. Run by the folks behind craft cider distributor, The Mad Tapper, expect a diverse range of IPAs, stouts, ciders, and even mead to quench your thirst at Freehouse.
Freehouse, 21A Boon Tat St, Singapore 069620, +65 8362 6740
The Spiffy Dapper fronts itself as a cocktail bar and coffee house, but you really want to go there for the gins. It’s got a pretty extensive selection, and makes excellent, spirit-forward cocktails. Even if you go for a simple gin and tonic, you get it served up in a fishbowl-sized glass, with your choice of tonic water. Also, The Spiffy Dapper is the home of that glittery unicorn drink that went viral, so there’s one non-alcoholic version to keep your teetotaller friends occupied.
The Spiffy Dapper, 73 Amoy St, Second Floor, Singapore 069892, +65 8655 0829
Rum’s the word at Sugarhall, one of Singapore’s only bars focused on the Caribbean spirit. It’s got a collection spanning over a hundred rums, including some rare ones available. Aside from the tropical cocktails on the menu, Sugarhall also does rum punch bowls. Couple that with reggae music, and quality grilled meats from the restaurant, and you’ve got yourself a pretty satisfying evening ahead.
Sugarhall, 102 Amoy St, Singapore 069922, +65 9732 5607.
Indulge in mod-Canto vibes at Sum Yi Tai, a multi-storey bar and restaurant that looks straight out of a film about Hong Kong in the ’70s and ’80s. On the first level, the Chinese mafia-style décor houses a tapas bar that’s best suited for casual get-togethers. The lounge-style restaurant on the second floor looks straight out of a cinematic dream, with wine or sake to go with your meal. On the rooftop, lounge on rattan couches and order cheeky cocktails with names like “Date A Gangster”, or “Golden Dragon”. It’s also got a decent range of Scotches and Japanese whiskies, available by glass or bottle .
Sum Yi Tai, 25 Boon Tat Street, +65 6221 3665.