My favorite bars in Singapore / Local Guide
With winter month and the festive season ahead, I get into the mood for cozy and secluded bars, iconic cocktails with a twist, and inspiring interior designs. Despite having summer temperatures all year around in Singapore, you will find those bespoke, secluded bars here, too.
I told you about one of my favorite activities in Singapore a while ago: Sipping an Aperol Spritz while looking down at the city from a breezy rooftop bar has been one of my favorite things to do during summer for a long time, not only in Singapore actually. But while Singapore’s temperatures stay warm (if not to say hot) and sunny all year round, I lately feel for a cozy little corner in a bar, drinking a decent Old Fashioned to get into winter mood and maybe even develop a little bit of festive feeling.
Hence, I’ve been trying out a few bespoke bars lately, in the city that we have been calling home for a year now. And I was surprised to learn that Singapore actually has some top notch bars to offer, having not one, but four bars that made it to the very top of the best bars globally (while my home Berlin is only represented with one bar).
And since we still have a lot time and leisure to explore Singapore and try out all those amazing places the little red dot aka foodie-and-drinks-heaven Singapore has to offer, I am happy to share my favorite bars with you.
People who have been following me for a long time will know that my criteria for a “good” bar are the ambiance and decor, the staff’s attentiveness, and, last but not least, the quality of the drinks. Extra points for Happy Hour and, or reasonable prices.
Here’s to my favorite bars in Singapore
Jigger & Pony
Jigger & Pony is not only my personal, but also Asias #1, as it once again tops Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2020 list and ranks #9 in the world! Based at the Amara Hotel, the ambiance is classy but relaxed with a plush, luxurious twist. The staff is very attentive, the food and drinks are excellent (try the Bikini Sandwich and thank me later!) and the Happy Hour from 4-7 is just the cherry on the top (literally). And despite its excellent awards and ratings, the Jigger & Pony is still very down to earth, celebrating Happy Hour daily with my favorite drink for only 16 SGD!
165 Tg Pagar Rd, Amara Hotel, Singapore 088539
Tuesday to Sunday, from 4 pm – 10.30 pm, Happy Hour from 4 pm to 7 pm.
With Jigger & Pony being my favorite bar in all of Singapore, the Gibson Bar should be mentioned here too. Gibson Bar belongs to the same group as Jigger & Pony and even shares some of the staff. No wonder Gibson Bar offers the same level of uncompromising quality on cocktails, hospitality, and interior design. The ambiance is however more casual, with cosy corner booths, low lights and abstract art with upmarket gold accents. With the intimate atmosphere, the barkeepers have a playground to flaunt their mixology prowess and experiment boozy ideas. Some of them are true artists when preparing drinks on fire and juggling the cups before handing them to the customers. Gibson is ranked #25 on prestigious Asia’s 50 Best Bars in 2020 and – just as Jigger & Pony, has daily Happy Hour with reasonable prices, so it doesn’t hurt to give it a try!
20 Bukit Pasoh Rd, 2nd Floor, Singapore 089834
4pm – 10.30pm daily, Happy Hour 4pm – 7pm
An effortlessly classy establishment, it has charismatic bartenders to boot” – Bloomberg
The Tippling Club is actually not only known for its great bar, but for its ultra-progressive modern gastronomy restaurant helmed by chef-owner Ryan Clift. Founded in 2008, this acclaimed boundary-pushing gastro-cocktail destination has made a name for itself in Singapore. With its consistently playful, fresh, and fun drinks and food, the bar’s ‘edible menu’ still brings praise. Think of tipples that feature salted liquorice, brandywine tomato and green coffee. The bar is listed in the 2019 MICHELIN Guide Singapore and yearly ranks within Asia’s best bars. There isn’t a happy hour, but the prices for drinks are solid 21 SGD.
38 Tg Pagar Rd, Singapore 088461
Monday – Friday 12pm – 10.30pm , Saturdays 4pm – 10.30pm, closed on Sundays
Gracing at the ground floor of Singapore’s iconic Parkview Square Building, the Atlas Bar is a must-visited when in Singapore. With its unique Deco- and almost Gotham City-esque decor it has recently made to the fourth-best bar in the world. The open atrium-style bar offers masterfully crafted cocktails, as well as what is perhaps Singapore’s largest gin collection. Open from 10 am, all-day eating and drinking can be taken literally at Atlas – from morning coffee to afternoon tea before continuing into the evening with Martinis.
600 North Bridge Rd, Parkview Square, Singapore 188778
Monday – Saturday, 10 am – 10.30 pm, closed on Sundays
At Bar Stories, the name is the program: They don’t have a menu, so instead of ordering from a list, you let the barkeepers know what you feel like, and they will create bespoke cocktails for you, served in extravagant and opulent designs. The bar setting is relaxed, very intimate, and reminds me a lot of my grandmas living room in back in the days in West-Berlin.
55-57A Haji Ln, Singapore 189248
Tuesday – Saturday, 5 pm – 10.30 pm, closed on Sundays and Mondays
Smoke & Mirrors
Perched on one of Singapore’s most historically and culturally significant icons, at the Old Supreme Court Building at the National Gallery, is the Smoke & Mirrors. Just as the name is hinting, the menu combines spirits and magical illusions and uses equipment like a rotary evaporator to redistil and create unexpected flavors in its cocktails. On top of that, Smoke & Mirrors offers spectacular panoramic views of Singapore’s skyline. With sophisticated neighbors like Aura, the National Gallery’s offerings are pitched at an unapproachable price point. Luckily, Smoke & Mirrors offers some happy hour deals on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays that come between 3 pm and 5 pm.
1 St. Andrew’s Road, #06-01 National Gallery Singapore, 178957
3 pm – 11 pm daily, Happy Hour Monday – Wednesday, 3 pm – 5 pm.
Even though the Oriental Elixir has a stunning 5,0 rating at Google, it’s none of those bars you’ll find in a usual travel guide. Oriental Elixir is very different from normal bar concepts, with no menu and only non-brand gins on the top shelves. But don’t you worry about becoming worried after a while, as the Gins are all made in different casks and with infused flavors of all kinds that take the cocktail tasting experience to the next level. With each cocktail being one of a kind, you tell the bartender what you feel like having – or he will tell you what your type might like and lay back and enjoy the quaint venue.
10 Haji Ln, Singapore 189203
Monday – Saturday, 6 pm – 10.30 pm, closed on Sundays
IBHQ | A Cocktail Bar
The IBHQ is tucked away on the brick and mortar second floor of an old shophouse in Tanjong Pagar. The name stands for “Indigenous Bartender Headquarters” as the team focuses on crafts behind the cocktail making. They produce their own liqueurs and are inventive in their recipes. This results in the servers and bartenders knowing their ingredients and skills like no one else, patiently guiding you through a journey of new flavours and making the higher price point worth it.
76A Duxton Rd, Level 2, Singapore 089535
Tuesdays – Saturdays, 5 pm – 22.30 pm, Sundays 3 pm – 9 pm
The newest brand in the Jigger & Pony family, Live Twice welcomes guests to an intimate, cinematic cocktail bar inspired by Japan’s mid-century modern era. According to Lifestyle Asia, “Live Twice makes cocktails for people that actually enjoy cocktails, not those that give overly-saccharine concoctions the thumbs-up while slighting a martini or sazerac” and I can confirm that: Live Twice is not for everyone, but if you are looking for an high quality but eclectic evening in drinks and food, you should give it a try!
20 Bukit Pasoh Rd, Singapore 089834
4 pm – 10.30 pm daily, Happy Hour 4 pm – 7 pm
Bars I haven’t visited, but that are on my list:
Jekyll & Hyde
Jekyll & Hyde seems to be of the go-to bars in the list of bars worth visiting more than once in Singapore. The cocktail menu is exciting and has an interesting mix of flavors. The prices are fine by Singapore standards. Worth putting on your list of bars to try.
74 Neil Rd, Singapore 088839
Tuesday – Friday 4 pm – 10.30 pm, Saturdays 11 am – 10.30 pm, Sundays 11 am – 6 pm
Native is a bar focusing on creative cocktails with locally sourced ingredients, many of which makes use of materials that would have just gone to waste in a kitchen. Located on the second floor of an unassuming shop house, the creative bar has just ranked #18 on the world’s best bars. The atmosphere at Native is very relaxed and chill, with an experiment lab aka microdistillery on the top floor and a long bar on the second floor to watch all the buzz of the bar. Be aware that the Native doesn’t serve much food, so rather come here after dinner.
52a Amoy St, Singapore 069878
Monday – Friday, 5 pm – 10.30 pm, Saturday and Sunday 4 pm – 10.30 pm
Manhattan Bar is located in the luxurious Regent Hotel and reminds of the golden age of cocktails in Manhattan. With carefully selected drinks that have almost been forgotten, the Regent Hotel brings the great age of cocktails and fine drinking back to Singapore.
1 Cuscaden Rd, Level 2 Regent Singapore, Singapore 249715
Tuesdays – Saturdays, 5 pm – 10:15 pm, Sundays, 12 pm – 3 pm
Operation Dagger is a secret Singapore bar that’s so hidden there’s no name on the door. According to the just-announced new rating of the world’s 50 best bars, where Operation Dagger ranks #30, once you’ll find your way into the subterranean bar, “you’ll be greeted with a light cloud, formed from several hundred lightbulbs (one for each Eureka moment the team has had), bunker-chic decor (very minimalist so as not to detract from the drinks) and a whole lot of creativity.”.
7 Ann Siang Hill, #B1-01, Singapore 069791
Tuesdays – Saturdays, 6 pm – 10:30 pm
Originated from NYC back in 2004, that just ranked #38 in the world’s best bars, the Singaporean outlet of Employees Only offers flawlessly executed cocktails and delicious, elevated food, served in a dark and intimate space with club-vibes. The music is also on the loud side, which makes the Employees Only not the place for intense conversations, but for shutting down from the day, enjoying that ‘speakeasy’ ambiance that makes having a fancy old fashioned so much more delicious.
112 Amoy St, Singapore 069932
4 pm – 10.00 pm daily
** These are unusual times, so please check whether venues are open and the best way to make a reservation beforehand.