Singapore is a vibrant and dynamic city that is continuously evolving. It’s where you can seek out adventures, explore its culture and history, go on a culinary escapade, shop till you drop, connect with fun-loving people, and so much more! The list of activities is almost endless, with festivals, concerts, tours, and events all year long. There’s the Singapore Art Week, Singapore International Festival of Arts and Singapore Art Festival for the art aficionados; the Chingay Parade, the largest street performance and float parade in Asia, that celebrates Singapore’s unique multicultural personality; sports fans can get their fix of rugby at The World Rugby Sevens, football at the International Champions Cup Singapore,  and Formula 1 racing at the Grand Prix Season Singapore; and EDM lovers can dance their hearts out at Ultra Singapore and ZoukOut. Add to that the year-long attractions like Universal Studios, Sentosa, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore Botanical Gardens, Night Safari, the list go on! There’s definitely something for everyone. There’s definitely something for everyone. Whatever your passion, Singapore can make it possible.

We at DrinkManila.com are passionate about drinks, drinking culture, and nightlife. We follow our passion with a thirst for good drinks and good company, which has led us to Singapore during the most prominent cocktail event in Asia, the Singapore Cocktail Festival. Singapore is a major drinking destination in Asia. It’s got a vibrant bar scene, innovative concepts, world-class mixologists, and various distilleries to visit like Brass Lion Distillery and Tiger Beer Brewery to name a few. It’s no surprise that 12 Singapore bars landed on Asia’s 50 Best Bars in 2018. 


Want to go to Singapore for free? Click on this link to join our contest and get a chance to win a 3-day, 2-night trip for two to Singapore Cocktail Festival 2019!


We’re excited to hit the hottest bars in SG for 2019 SGCF from May 10 to 18, but while waiting, here’s a glimpse of some of the best bars we had visited from SGCF last year. Plan out your trip with these bar recommendations. 

1) Manhattan (Best Bar in Asia 2017-2018,  #3 in World’s 50 Best Bars)

Address: Level 2, 1 Cuscaden Road, Regent Singapore, 29715
Operating Hours: 5 pm – 1 am (Daily); Violet Hour: 5 pm – 7 pm (Monday – Friday)
What to drink: The Manhattan, Solera-aged Negroni, Princess Cut, New York Sour
When to go: Every Sunday from 12 pm to 3 pm, when you want to have a boozy Sunday brunch and during their Violet Hour—Monday to Friday, 5 pm to 7 pm, or whenever you feel like having a good drink in the best bar in the Lion City.
The busy bar of Manhattan 
Eras of New York menu

Manhattan has been on the top of the cocktail map in Asia and has been Asia’s Best Bar for two consecutive years on Asia’s 50 Best Bar, and recently awarded #3 in World’s 50 Best Bars. What makes this three-year-old hotel bar so successful are the team behind the bar, formerly led by renowned mixologist Philip Bischoff, and their head bartender Filipino Cedric Mendoza (who recently left for Sydney), the bar just recently named its new head bartender, part of the  founding team of Manhattan, Korean born Sophia Kang.    

It starts with a sophisticated but welcoming atmosphere. From the façade to its interiors, the place feels like a portal to a different era with a promise of exciting craft cocktails to appease your palate. The warm and accommodating bar team go above and beyond to make sure that you experience the culture, history, and flavors of 19th century New York City through cocktails.

Manhattan Bar’s rickhouse
Aged gin and bramble

Aside from the drinks, one of the bar’s highlights is its in-hotel rickhouse and the ingredients room. Manhattan Bar’s rickhouse is the first and only in-hotel rickhouse in the world. It holds over 100 American oak barrels used to age the house whiskies, cocktails, and bitters. The ingredient room is every bartender’s dream. It displays the bar’s assortment of exotic ingredients, in-house herbs, spices, fruits, and roots in various stages of drying and pickling. Five new ingredients per menu are rotated or changed every three months.

2) Atlas (Number 4 on Asia’s Best Bars 2018)

Address: Parkview Square, 600 North Bridge Road Singapore 188778
Operating hours: Monday - Thursday 8 am - 1 am; Friday 8 am - 2 am; Saturday 12 nn - 2 am, Closed on Sunday
Website: atlasbar.sg
What to drink: Atlas Martini, Tamara in a Green Bugatti
When to go: When you want to indulge in gin, champagne, and quality cocktails while marveling at how beautiful the bar is. This is the place to take someone you want to impress. 
Atlas bar’s magnificent interior
Atlas’ Art Deco interior

Atlas is ridiculously beautiful. Ranked 8th in The World’s 50 Best Bars, it is located on the ground floor of Singapore’s iconic building, Parkview Square, we couldn’t help but look around with our mouths agape. The Art Deco- style interior of grand lobby and bar, with 25-meter high ceilings, bronze relief plaques, and opulent furnishings, take inspiration from 1920’s European grand hotel lobbies. The centerpiece of the impressive space is a gilded gin tower showcasing over 1,200 bottles of gin that goes all the way up to the ceiling. 

Atlas Martini

The drinks concept centers on cocktails inspired by the roaring 1920s and 1930s, as well as vintage champagnes and gins. They even have vintage cocktails prepared with the style and ingredients of their time (and cost a whopping 200 SGD). Bright, crisp, sophisticated cocktails await you at Atlas. 

3) Tippling Club (Number 7 on Asia’s Best Bars 2018) 

Address: 38 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088461
Operating hours: 12 nn - 3 pm (Lunch, Monday to Friday); 6 pm - late (Dinner, Monday to Saturday), 12 nn - 12 mn (Bar, Monday to Friday), 6 pm - 12 am (Saturday), Closed on Sunday
Website: www.tipplingclub.com
What to drink: Oud & Lust, Elixir of Orris, Crispy Myrrh, Cream of Sandalwood
When to go: When you want a fun and unique drinking experience where your senses are engaged. 
Tippling Club bar
Tippling Club restaurant

Known equally for being an award-winning restaurant and award-winning bar, Tippling Club, is the place to go to for a unique dining and drinking experience. Under the helm of chef-owner and gastronomic star Ryan Clift, it has become famous for innovative, progressive cuisine and cocktails. Tippling’s new location features the bar, which is the first thing that greets you when you enter; the main dining room built around the open kitchen, where you can feel the energy behind the kitchen; and upstairs private dining room.  

Edible gummy menu
Perfume menu

Following Tippling’s theme of innovation, former head bartender Joe Schofield, who joined Tippling Club in 2016, came up with an edible cocktail menu, Dreams and Desires. You are presented with a bag of gummy bears and a chart with corresponding cocktails. Names like Happiness, Lust, and Knowledge reflected the theme. Taste the gummy bears and choose your cocktail. It was a unique and fun experience of ordering a drink. The cocktails also featured edible garnishes that bring together the best of bar and kitchen. 

The creativity and execution of their cocktail menu paid off. Apart from ranking seventh in Asia’s Best Bars 2018, and winning Most Creative Cocktail Program at The Bar Awards Singapore, Tippling Club is nominated for World’s Best Cocktail Menu and Best International Bar Team at the prestigious Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards 2018, and Joe Schofield got the International Bartender of the Year award. 

They’ve even launched their very own limited edition gin. Made from botanical ingredients such as juniper, coriander seed & lemon myrtle, Sons of Tippling Gin is a collaborative effort between Chef Ryan Clift, Joe Schofield, and master distiller James Young.

Joe left Tippling after a two-and-a-half-year stint and will be opening a bar called Schofield’s with his brother in Manchester this 2019. Andy Loudon, who has cut his teeth behind some of the best bars in London and Melbourne, has taken over seamlessly from Joe and is continuing the Sensorium concept with Chef Ryan. 

Andy and Tippling’s Filipino Assistant Bar Manager John Chavez came out to Manila last January with four of their 12 limited edition cocktails. The Perfume menu was launched on December 3, 2018, in partnership with IFF (International Flavors and Fragrances) to celebrate Tippling’s 10th anniversary, and is based on the popular novel “Perfume: The story of a murderer.”

Joe Schofield
John Chavez
Andy Loudon

They divulged that it only took the bar team six weeks to make the menu, a task that usually takes six months to complete. When pressed for a clue to what’s to come, Andy says, “brigades.” Such a random word, but he says that once the menu comes out, it will all make sense. We’re excited to see, smell, and taste what the Tippling Club team has in store for cocktail festival.  


Click here for your ultimate guide to Singapore Cocktail Festival 2019


4) Native (Number 8 on Asia’s Best Bars 2018) 

Address: 52A Amoy Street, Singapore 069878
Operating hours: Monday - Saturday 6 pm - 12 mn, Closed on Sunday 
Website: tribenative.com
What to drink: Strawberry Kimchi, Pineapple Arrack, Native’s collaborative gin with Paper Lantern Gin. 
When to go: When you want to try genuinely local Singaporean and Southeast Asian flavors in cocktails or sample some homegrown gin. 
Sparkling Sake welcome drinks; Antz cocktail from their first menu

Native has been making waves since it opened on December 2016 on the second floor of a shop (they rank 13th in The World’s 50 Best Bars 2018). A celebration of locally and regionally sourced spirits and ingredients, Native is a foraging bar; known for serving cocktails with Southeast Asian flavors and unusual ingredients, like goat’s milk, and grasshoppers (previously, they served a cocktail with ants). The is bar shaped like a boat, with different local and Asian spirits (including some Filipino brands) displayed on the shelves, and stairs leading to the attic that serves as their gin distillery.   

Native’s own distilled gins
Vijay Mudaliar

The drinks, like the bar, have stories behind them, and the knowledgeable bar staff is more than happy to share them with guests. Plus, they offer complimentary aperitifs and digestifs, which is a nice touch. The menu is short but is designed to showcase a range of Singaporean and Southeast Asian flavors. The cocktails have weight to them (earthy, bold, savory) and served in relatively small portions perfect for sipping and savoring. Multi-awarded bartender and owner Vijay Mudaliar (who was awarded Bartender of the Year by The Bar Awards Singapore 2018), has created a menu that is innovative and connects guests to the flavors of the region. They change their menu every at least every six months, and we’re looking forward to what the next cocktails will be. 

5) Gibson (Number 22 on Asia’s Best Bars 2018) 

Address: 2nd Floor, 20 Bukit Pasoh Rd. Singapore 089834
Operating hours: Monday - Thursday 6pm - 1am; Friday & Saturday 6pm - 2a
Website: www.gibsonbar.sg
What to drink: Sake-tini, Soursop the Great, and Virgin Lobster Mary

When to go: When you want craft cocktails and mocktails with Asian flavors in a relaxed establishment with a vintage feel. Oysters Happy Hour from 5 pm to 8 pm nightly, and all night long on Tuesdays, where you get to enjoy a selection of cocktails for only 14 SGD and wines and beers for 13 SGD. 

Virgin Lobster Mary

Gibson, named after the famous pickled onion Martini, was launched by the same team behind other high-profile local bars Jigger & Pony (42 on Asia’s Best Bars 2018), Sugarhall, Humpback and Flagship in late 2015 has become a solid favorite among imbibers because of their creative approach to cocktails. The old-meets-new decor, with the antique ceiling and stained glass windows, gold accents, and green bar chairs, and retro lighting fixtures evoke the feel of a bygone era but keeps it casual. They take their drinks seriously but don’t take themselves too seriously, as is evident by the contrast between the bartenders whipping up cocktails dressed in a tie, shirt and coat, and Bermuda shorts. 

Bartenders dressed in a tie, shirt and coat, and Bermuda shorts

Their current menu from head bartender Aki Eguchi comes from asking the question, ‘What does it take to be a craft cocktail bar in Asia?’ They’ve taken its cocktail inspirations from the flavors the team grew up with and their travels around the continent, dividing the menu into classics, Southeast Asia, and Japanese-inspire seafood menu, they’ve incorporated some of those ingredients in their drinks as well. Their drinks are delicate, with very polished distinct flavors. 

6) Employees Only (Number 23 on Asia’s Best Bars 2018)

Address: 112 Amoy St. Singapore 069932
Operating hours: Sunday - Friday 5 pm - 1 am; Saturday 5 pm - 2 am
Website: employeesonlysg.com
What to drink: All. The. Cocktails. (specifically Mata Hari, Ready Fire Aim, and Bahama Mama)
When to go: When you want to let loose in an effortlessly cool bar and get damn good drinks at lightning speed every single time. 
Steve Schneider
Mata Hari - Remy Martin VSOP Cognac shaken with Chai-infused Italian Vermouth & Pomegranate Juice
Mata Hari – Remy Martin VSOP Cognac shaken with Chai-infused Italian Vermouth & Pomegranate Juice

One of the best bars in the world, Employees Only in New York, opened a second branch in Singapore in June 2016 bringing with it a different style of bartending to the Singaporean bar scene. There is no sign outside, just a neon light reading ‘Psychic.’ There is a person who offers tarot card readings by the door, but the real magic happens past the black curtains and behind the bar.

Steve Schneider
Ready Fire Aim – Del Maguey VIDA Mezcal, Fresh Lime Juice & House-made Honey-Pineapple Syrup with dashes of Bittermens Hellfire Bitters

We are usually sticklers about the use of jiggers to ensure consistency, but Ex-US Marine and principal bartender Steve Schneider is an advocate of the free pour. All three drinks we ordered were balanced, spot on, and delicious. Color us impressed! Donning a white ‘chef’ jacket, Steve was on the top of his game. Considering ’80s pop-rock tunes were blaring and the bar was packed (predominantly with the expat crowd), he not only took our orders without wearing out our vocal chords, he also whipped them out so quickly that we thought the drinks belonged to other people (all the while enjoying himself and vibing off the crowd). The energy of the bar was electric. Great for a fun night out with your friends. We heard that the last guests standing at the end of the night get served warm chicken soup. So apart from the fast, fantastic drinks and the great vibe, that might be another reason to go check them out and drink the night away. 

Steve has been one busy bee, taking over Elysian Cafe in Hoboken, New Jersey (where he previously worked) in October last year, and opened up The Odd Couple in Shanghai soon after with renowned bartender Shingo Gokan of award-winning bars Speak Low and Sober Company. 

7) D.Bespoke (Number 32 on Asia’s Best Bars 2018)

Address: 2 Bukit Pasoh Road Singapore 089816
Operating hours: Monday - Thursday 6 pm to 1 am; Friday and Saturday 6 pm - 2 am; Closed on Sunday
Website: dbespoke.sg
What to drink: The bartender will recommend a cocktail once you tell them what flavors you prefer. Also, inquire about their fine spirit collection and barrel-aged cocktails.  
When to go: When you’re flush with cash and want to splurge in a Ginza-style bar that provides an elegant cocktail experience, or on a special occasion.
D.Bespoke entrance
D.Bespoke head bartender and owner Daiki Kanetaka

D.Bespoke is one of those places where you know you’re in for a treat as soon as you enter it. Fronted by a lifestyle store selling some of the bar’s glassware, leather products, and other items, the Ginza-style speakeasy breathes sophistication and features a long bar with big leather armchairs, a small sitting area with more big leather chairs, and a shelf with mid and top-shelf spirits and vinyl records that spans the wall. It’s cold and quiet, soft jazz music plays in the background, signaling that this is a place for quiet conversations. The bar exudes luxury and style, and you might feel underdressed. The service is impeccable. You are helped into your seat, handed a hot towel, and are served a shot of sencha tea to cleanse the palate, a glass of water, and a saucer of nuts and dried fruit before you know it. 

D.Bespoke barrel aged cocktails
Gimlet using Ki No Bi Gin

Head bartender and owner Daiki Kanetaka seeks to bring good bar culture from Japan, having trained in the Ginza style for almost ten years and wanted D. Bespoke to be a refuge where guests can have meaningful conversations over proper drinks for the last four years. Coming here already inebriated might not be the best idea, lest you get rowdy and seem like bulls in a china shop (based on a true story). They take their drinks seriously, and it takes them a week to freeze their ice and shave it into shape (slow freezing so the impurities can collect in the middle). There is no menu, they just ask you what spirit and flavors or mood you might be in, and they will make a recommendation. Since there is no menu, you don’t really know how much the drinks are until you get your bill, which is not detailed either. Make sure that you have sufficient funds. Continuing to bring Japanese bar culture to Singapore, he opened RPM by D.Bespoke, a casual Japanese vinyl listening room at Duxton Road late last year.  

8) The Other Room (Number 50 on Asia’s Best Bars 2018)

Address: 320 Orchard Road, #01-05 Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, Singapore 238865
Operating hours: Monday - Thursday 6 pm - 3 am; Friday - Sunday 6 pm - 4 am
Website: www.theotherroom.com.sg
What to drink: 1928 - a vintage prohibition era cocktail, Sherry Cask Fashioned, Southern New York Sour
When to go: When you’re curious to try cocktails through time or want to taste the numerous finished spirits on hand or want to go for the last round or two of drinks before calling it a night. 

The Other Room is a Prohibition-inspired hidden bar at The Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel. Press the discreet doorbell at the lobby of the hotel (best to ask the hotel staff where it is because the entrance blends with the walls) and step into a speakeasy with a twist. The place is dark, illuminated mostly by the lighting behind the bar where over a hundred unmarked bottles are displayed. Old movies projected at the black curtains by the entrance and witty quotes scribbled on the walls add to the laid back and fun vibe of the place. Plus, they’re one of the bars that are open till late. 

1928 came in a flask inside a hollowed out copy of Les Miserables
1928

The latest drink menu called Timeline includes cocktail recipes that date as far back as the 1500s and progress through time. Each drink is accompanied by a short explanation of its history, ingredients, and flavor profile – giving guests a better understanding of the cocktails. You are primed to drink once you arrive, as you are presented with a welcome concoction of espresso martini served in a small glass bottle and dropper, and are given a digestif as well before you leave. They have fun with the way they serve drinks, like 1928, that came in a flask inside a hollowed out copy of Les Miserables and a chilled empty glass. Another major draw, apart from the cocktails, is all the finished spirits. Headed by Dario Knox, the bar doesn’t have any branded bottle of liquor on their shelves, and instead boasts of its comprehensive collection of over 150 bespoke cask-finished liquors, infused, and smoked spirits. 

Over 150 bespoke cask-finished liquors, infused, and smoked spirits
The Other Room Menu

9) Origin Grill Bar (Best New Bar by The Bar Awards Singapore 2018)

Address: Lobby Level Tower Wing Shangri-La Hotel, 22 Orange Grove Singapore 258350
Operating hours: Sunday - Thursday 5 pm - 1 am; Friday and Saturday 5 pm to 2 am
Website: www.shangri-la.com/singapore
What to drink: The Pearl, Buona Vista
When to go: When you want to take a trip around Singapore through sophisticated cocktails, want to elevate your palate, or check out the newest bar concept in Singapore.
Origin Grill Bar
Buona Vista

Origin Grill Bar at Shangri-la Singapore, which opened on December 2017, harkens back to and is a celebration of Singapore’s rich heritage. Modeled after train stations of yore, the bar shaped like a ticketing office, with the rest of the space serving as the waiting area. The decor echoes the concept of the menu, which will take you on a trip through space and time.

Adam Bursik
Home made syrups and liqueurs
The Pearl

Head bartender Adam Bursik created a cocktail menu that gives guests a taste experience inspired by five of Singapore’s districts: Orchard, Chinatown, Little India, Boat Quay, and Marina Bay. Inspired by Singapore’s storied past, he selected ingredients that represent each neighborhood’s specific flavors and aromas. The menu takes you on a journey of discovery through the notes and nuances of cocktails and includes pictures of life back in those areas during the colonial times from the national archives. The cocktails are complex, sophisticated, and exceptional. They employ machines and gadgets to take their drinks to another level. Experimental and refined at the same time, those with trained palates (and bartenders) will be surprised and delighted by these drinks. Origin was awarded Best New Bar by The Bar Awards Singapore 2018. 

Origin even offers mocktails per district, for those who want to abstain but still have a delicious drink. They just updated their cocktail menu at the end of January, so you can check out their new concoctions and old favorites. 

10) Skinny’s Lounge

Address: 82 Boat Quay Singapore 049870
Operating hours: Monday - Friday 5 pm - 3 am; Saturday 7 pm - 4 am
Website: www.facebook.com/drinkskinnys
What to drink: Beer (though their cocktail selection looks interesting). 
When to go: After a long night of boozing to get a nightcap or hotdog, or whenever you’re in the mood to get rowdy in a dive bar. 

Located at the end of Boat Quay, Skinny’s Lounge is an American dive bar that converted from a Chinese KTV bar. One of the few bars that stay open until late, it’s where bartenders go to unwind after their shifts and those who want to keep the party going end up for a few more drinks. It’s unpretentious and casual. There are lots of signs for specials (like Tinder Tuesday where you show up with your Tinder match on Tuesday for a free drink), fluorescent graffiti in the restrooms, and bras hung on a line behind the bar, a KTV room at the back where you can belt out some hits, and a pool table outside. For a two-year-old bar, it feels like Skinny’s has a history. Maybe it’s because it is located in a historic part of the city, but there is a lived-in quality to it; like it almost feels like an institution. 

By the end of a long bar hopping, beer tasted really great

People usually go here for beers (especially the bartenders who just finished a night of serving cocktails), but they do have a well-stocked bar and an interesting selection of cocktails (and you have an option to “make it nice” with top-up spirits at only SGD 3). Lots of people are already (or almost) hammered when they get there, so, it can get rowdy, but there’s still a haze of drunken camaraderie going around in the crowd. It’s a place where you can have nights you can’t forget or remember, depending on how much you drink. 

If you find yourself in the Lion City during its famed Singapore Cocktail Festival from May 10-18, you can take advantage of their Cocktail Passport offering. Over 45 bars – including Atlas, Native, Origin, and Tippling Club – are included in this year’s Cocktail Passport, which entitles you to exclusive cocktail promos. They partnered with the Sluggr app, so you can redeem the promos and enjoy exclusive contests and offers in-app. The SGCF portal goes live in April, and the Sluggr app is free to download and use in both iPhone and Android devices. 

Visit www.singaporecocktailfestival.com for updates and the full list of bars and promos. Beyond the cocktail festival, check out other exciting nightlife and entertainment offerings awaiting you in Singapore! Visit www.visitsingapore.com or follow them on Twitter @visitsingapore and Facebook at VisitSingaporePH, and @Visit_Singapore on Instagram for more information. 

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