Scotch, rye, the gentlemen’s drink, the water of life — whisky goes by many affectionate names, appealing to a broad variety of drinkers. There are some that argue whisky should be drunk neat, on the rocks at the most. Others prefer to defy this puritanism by drinking their scotch with soda (but for the love of god, not Coca-Cola), or have the complex liquor mixed into a cocktail.
The variegated spirit beckons an infinite amount of exploration, from collecting to masterclasses and distillery visits, but there’s arguably no better place to enjoy it than at a quality whisky bar.
Singapore is chock-full of whisky bars celebrating the malt liquor. It’s not difficult to find a watering hole that hosts a healthy selection of tasting drams. But there are some places that take it to another level by pairing staggering whisky options with a unique concept, making them a cut above. Here are our favourite whisky bars.
This two-storey joint comprises a whisky and sumiyaki (Japanese skewer snacks) bar, as well as a private gentlemen’s lounge up top. It’s a place remarkably friendly for amateur whisky fans, with a menu that decodes whisky profiles. It doesn’t sacrifice on appealing to pros, though. The Wall’s in-house collection comprises every Glenfarclas expression ever made, extremely rare Karuizawa bottlings, and whiskies from WWII.
The Wall, 76 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088497, +65 62257988
Recall a whisky bar that a spy figure from a film wouldn’t be amiss in, and you’ve got The Auld Alliance. Its decor can be a little intimidating, but connoisseurs will find a trove to enjoy in its menu. There are some 1,500 labels to venture into, and over 30 flights to explore.
The Auld Alliance, 9 Bras Basah Road, Rendezvous Hotel, Gallery #02-02A, Singapore 189559, +65 6337 2201
As one of the more familiar whisky bars around town, Quaich Bar is a welcoming joint with some of the rarest cask finds on the market. Run by whisky lovers for whisky lovers, the bar intends to make even premium whiskies (relatively accessible) by pricing its drams according to an expression’s original cost at release, and not its auction price.
Quaich Bar, 390A Havelock Road, Singapore 169664, +65 6386 5366
This quaint whisky shop transforms into a whisky bar for the discerning once night comes. Their selection is carefully curated towards whiskies that are aged in single casks, hence the name. It’s an extremely niche market, but anyone who appreciates Scotch would understand the prize status of single cask whiskies. They’ve got everything between a 27 year old Glenrothes to a 43 year old Macallan, and many whisky flights to choose from in between. You can opt to sample drams, then take home a bottle as well, or buy one on site and keep it there until your next visit. The Single Cask offers such a unique experience, you’re bound to head back.
The Single Cask, Chijmes, 30 Victoria Street, #01-25, Singapore 187996, +65 6837 0953
The Writing Club is a purveyor of all whiskies obscure. Prioritising small batch distillers that are hard to find in Singapore, this gentlemen’s club-style space is home to about 500 bottles of spirits, along with independent bottlings for you to peruse. On top of the drams, The Writing Club features a number of cocktails on the menu, including a bourbon-based Old Fashioned that’s our go-to.
The Writing Club, #02-10 Palais Renaissance, 390 Orchard Road, Singapore 238871, +65 9362 8626T
Parked along the lively Ann Siang is the two-storey wine and whisky haven, Tipple and Dram. Tipple is its street-level wine bar, but pass that to the basement and you’ll end up in Dram, a speakeasy-style bar with stately leather couches to sink into as you imbibe. The team behind Dram has collected more than 100 bottlings, most exclusive to distilleries, which makes a trip to this bar a journey throughout Scotland for your palate, without having to board a plane.
Tipple and Dram, 24 Ann Siang Road, Singapore 069704, +65 6423 0353
Two whisky fanatics and close friends amassed a collection of bottles so extensive that they no longer had space for it at home. The next logical step was, of course, to open a whisky bar. The Swan Song is that pet project, and the name holds a particularly poignant message that extends to the expressions offered at the bar — every bottle they have, especially for the rare, hard-to-source scores, will only be available once. Every bottle that is opened for sale will soon experience its swan song. The Swan Song is one of our favourite nooks to get into whisky if you’re a novice as well, given the wide range of choices and attentive owners. Read our full review here.
The Swan Song, #02-01 50A Prinsep Street, Singapore 188680
With a wide selection of drams priced according to age statement, The Cooperage is one of the most wallet-friendly whisky bars in town. They don’t skimp on quality either, as you’ll be able to find classic whisky expressions like the Glenfiddich 12-Year-Old and Singleton 18-Year-Old on the menu. To top it off, The Cooperage has a full-fledged food menu beyond just bar bites, so you can easily while away your hours after work at this relaxed joint. Read our review here.
The Cooperage, 42 Hongkong St, Singapore 059681, +65 6535 0074
La Maison du Whisky is a household name that anchors Singapore’s whisky scene. Its brick-and-mortar space in Robertson Quay is a library of whiskies both accessible and rare, priced reasonably to ensure that you don’t break the bank as you explore new single malt worlds. Within La Maison du Whisky is also a retail space, so you can bring bottles home to add to your prized collection.
La Maison du Whisky,#01-10 The Pier, 80 Mohammed Sultan Road, Singapore 239013, +65 6733 0059
Based in the Esplanade, The Exciseman Whisky Bar is run by the folks behind Le Vigne Wines and Spirits. Their Scotch playground is dedicated mostly to artisanal producers, so enthusiasts will be pleased to find a number of independent bottlings available. One of the highlights at The Exciseman Whisky Bar is the fact that they have a full range of Douglas Laing’s Remarkable Regional Malts, which you’d rarely find as a suite elsewhere.
The Exciseman Whisky Bar, #02-27 8 Raffles Ave, Esplanade Mall, Singapore 039802, +65 963 1192