Every spirit has its ardent fans and its complexities, but few are met with such love and intimidation as whisky. Some call it the wine of the liquor world, while others contest that it is a challenging notch above for unseasoned drinkers given how drinking whisky neat can often feeling like glugging acetone (don’t hate, whisky snobs).
Singapore has a number of dedicated whisky bars, and I’ve been to a handful. They’re usually dour affairs given that I’m not the biggest whisky fan. Prior to arriving at The Wall, I expected to walk into a similar vacuum of elitist whisky appreciation.
Here’s how I was pleasantly proved wrong.
The Wall is a whisky and sumiyaki bar that aims to democratise whisky appreciation. You’re re not going to find pompous whisky drinkers trying to one-up each other with their preferences. This “whisky for all” manifesto caters to both whisky fanatics and amateurs with great whisky, good food, and a relaxed ambience.
Exposed brick, wood and warm lights dominate the first floor of The Wall. Two long tables, one being the bar top, hug the narrow 600 sq ft space with shelves of whisky lining the interior. The awe-inspiring whisky selection is what sets the tone for the entire joint. Given that The Wall is established by hardcore whisky aficionados, you’re going to see bottles you’ve only seen online in person, like some of the rarest bottlings from the now defunct Karuizawa distillery, or every single expression ever made by Glenfarcas.
As you make your way up to the second floor, there’s a display case filled with some of the rarest bottles in the world. Bar Manager Jeremie Tan took great delight in educating us about how many cars we can purchase with each rarefied bottle. Some highlights include a limited edition Rolling Stones whisky by Suntory, Crystal Black Bowmore 29 Years 1st Edition, and The Macallan’s 1948 Select Reserve 51 years. There’s even a selection of whisky created during World War II on display — a testament to the human determination for good drink even in times of global strife.
The second floor houses a private lounge where specialised whisky events will be held, and a cellar full of exclusive wines, including Romanée-Conti. To the causal whisky drinker, this may well sound like senseless name-dropping, but seeing is believing.
It’s whisky, plain and simple. Seasoned whisky drinkers can pick out a bottle that they want by sight and order a dram, even if it’s an extremely rare whisky (as long as it’s on the menu, at least). Whisky novices can speak to Jeremie for advice — he’s a wealth of information on the spirit and is more than happy to share his expertise. Otherwise, pick up the bar’s menu. It contains a handy whisky flavour chart that’ll help you choose your ideal poison as well as an easy-to-digest breakdown of whisky profiles all around the globe.
There are whisky flights for those who want to sample a broader range. I had the East Meets West flight, featuring familiar expressions like the Auchentoshan Three Wood and Yamazaki Distiller’s Reserve, alongside two whiskies rarely seen behind bars: the fruity and slightly grainy Mackmyra from Sweden, and the Kavalan Single Malt from Taiwan, a potent whisky with distinct notes of tropical fruit.
Wines and whisky cocktails are also available if drinking whisky neat isn’t your gig.
Sumiyaki (think Japanese satay) is the heart of the menu. All skewers are handmade by the resident chef, and prove great bar snacks — they’re just the right bite-sized morsels to keep you satiated, but not so full that you can’t drink. There’s also an omakase menu crafted with the season’s freshest ingredients. Both are sumiyaki and omakase options are available to be paired with a whisky tasting set.
There’s barely any of the stifling pretence associated with many whisky strongholds around the island. The Wall is a mellow watering hole you can head to after work to unwind with a bunch of booze-loving friends in tow, and feel right at home. Alternatively, bring the biggest whisky nerd you know over for an evening, and watch them geek out ’til kingdom come.
The Wall, 76 Tanjong Pagar Toad, S088497, +65 6225 7988, firstname.lastname@example.org. Open Mondays to Saturdays, 5pm to 1am. Closed on Sundays.