We are thick into a stretch where a good portion of Singapore’s bars have become watering holes that fuel the World Cup. Sure, it’s fun to shout at a screen with your friends over a pint or five for 90 minutes, but that shouldn’t take over your definition of nightlife this July.
This month’s line-up of new bars includes a time capsule dedicated to the 80s, with arcade consoles for you to play games (instead of just watching one on screen), as well as two destinations that reinvent Chinese herbs as cocktail ingredients.
Now, turn the TV off and make your way to any of those we’ve spotlighted below. And for those who don’t care for the World Cup hype, you won’t find hollering, jersey-wearing soccer bros at these new bars, we promise.
True to its name, Nineteen80 checks all the boxes when it comes to inciting nostalgia for ’80s kids everywhere. This latest venture by the Phat Cat Collective is a retro arcade bar, and every detail in the space reminds you of that identity — a wall lined with cassette tapes, another row flanked with consoles housing over a hundred old-school games like Space Invaders and Mortal Combat, and the rotating schedule of DJs that play hip-hop, R&B, as well as disco hits from the yesteryears.
Even its cocktail menu is a throwback to what the bar hails as the “dark ages of drinking”. Long Island Iced Tea, Blue Lagoon and vodka Ribena are all elevated with a twist, with hopes that it will alleviate some of the horrors you’ve experienced with those libations during your prime.
Nineteen80, 21 Tanjong Pagar Road, #01-05, Singapore 088444, +65 9183 6073
You probably are familiar with Ivan Brehm’s Nouri, a restaurant along Amoy Street that regales stories about the intersections across cultures through food. Its dedication to ‘crossroads cooking’ has now extended to its newly-established bar programme, run by acclaimed sommelier and bartender, Matthew Chan.
The swish bar’s streamlined menu of four ‘crossroads cocktails’ comes steeped in thought. The drinks pay homage to an Asian celebration across Indian, Korean, Chinese and Japan, applying flavours from these regions to the blueprints of classic cocktails. An equally edgy wine and sake list occupy the rest of the programme, where biodynamic and organic wines take precedence.
Nouri, 72 Amoy St, Singapore 069891, +65 6221 4148
Wine and whisky purists have something to celebrate with the opening of Tipple and Dram at Ann Siang Hill. The two-level venue is split into separate concepts.
Tipple, the street-level bar, has a firm focus on French wines with a smattering from other New World regions, offered alongside an array of spirits to imbibe in. Dram, with all its strapping leather and hardwood décor, is a quintessential whisky lounge located in the basement. It spotlights rare single malts, distillery exclusives, and other bottlings that will get any ardent malthead’s blood rushing.
Tipple and Dram, 24 Ann Siang Road, Singapore 069704, +65 6423 0353
Sum Yi Tai is already a household locale renowned for its Wong Kar Wai vibes, and with Mona Lounge, it has taken that brand a step further. The back-room cocktail lounge emulates Hong Kong’s hedonistic nightlife circa the ’80s, where Chinese jazz and plush chinoiserie furniture helps you feel transported back in time.
Crafted by head bartender Sam Wong, the cocktails within share an equally oriental slant, as most are made with traditional Chinese ingredients. So exclusive is the lounge that you cannot access it right through Sum Yi Tai. Instead, visitors must ask one of the staff for Mona to receive a private code that will unlock the way there.
Mona Lounge, 25B Boon Tat Street, Level 2, Singapore 069622, +65 6221 3665
We absolutely adored Six Senses Duxton’s mod-Chinese Yellow Pot restaurant when we visited (read our review here), but its adjacent bar also warrants writing home about. Bartending veteran Kamil Foltan created the drinks to align with Chinese medicinal principles and all of its house signatures resonate with that philosophy through the use of ingredients from China.
Those seeking out non-alcoholic options will also find something worth the time at Yellow Pot, where Foltan and team have created a list of “tonics” to revive body and soul, including jamu, a herbal elixir from Indonesia.
Yellow Pot, Six Senses Duxton, 88 Duxton Rd, Singapore 089540, +65 6914 1420.