The rate at which bars are opening and closing in Singapore goes to show how much we love to drink and how quickly we’d get bored of things. Here are three hottest bars that are sure to get you hooked.
30 Victoria Street, B1-01/02, CHIJMES
What it is: The folks behind Raven would like you to think of the bar as a woman by saying things like, “She’s dark. She’s sleek. She’s sexy, and oh-so-very sophisticated. She’s Raven.” Considering this, we were initially sceptical. But then, we realised that “she” would also pour and serve you as much beer, wine, gin, rum, and whisky as you want. And if that weren’t enough, “she” would whip up truffle fries, churros, and croquettes whenever you please. Only catch: Leave your credit card on the table. Raven’s a woman indeed.
What to expect: First of all, you’ll be glad to know that Raven – located in CHIJMES – is very accessible and easy to find unlike some bars these days that require climbing stairs, navigating alleyways, and reciting the alphabet backwards to find and enter. The bar serves up a combination of Northern and Southern American comfort food with an Asian flair that aims to create an all-encompassing dining experience. Sit on the comfortable couches or simply stand at the black marble bar to enjoy craft beers, wines, or cocktails.
What to have: Start off with the signature cocktail Cucumber Rickey, a refreshing botanical tipple based on cucumber-infused Hendrick’s gin, alongside sidekicks Benedictine D.O.M, freshly squeezed lime, and tonic water to exude hints of sweet spices and herbs, before transitioning to heavier stuff like the Agave Smash, a refreshingly tart and subtly sweet blend of Patron Silver tequila, Drambruie, agave, and fresh lemon.
18 Bukit Pasoh Road
What it is: Located in a shophouse on Bukit Pasoh Road, Gibson is a cocktail bar with raw seafood offerings. Brown, gold, and green tones, custom-made marble tables and stained antique mirrors lend a classic feel that, when paired with a playlist of blues and swing, transports you to another era.
What to expect: Innovative cocktails and bartenders that don’t take themselves too seriously. Founders Indra Kantono and Gan Guoyi (also the founders of Sugarhall and Jigger & Pony) have created a setting with an intimate yet lively atmosphere, ideal for casual meet ups or unadulterated merrymaking. Rock up to the bar on any day and you might just find the bartenders greeting you in bow ties, shirts and bermudas, ready to concoct drinks from a menu of 30 signature cocktails that have been designed around ideas and themes like “Finding comfort”, “Forging friendship”, and “Sharing happiness”.
What to have: For the quintessential Gibson cocktail, try the aptly named (albeit somewhat unoriginal) Gibson – a gin-based cocktail made with Hendrick’s, Monkey 47, and Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry that comes with a range of condiments that include a pearl onion specially pickled in-house, smoked radish, and quail’s egg. Guests in the mood for something a little more interesting can indulge in an Oyster Shooter Imperial cocktail topped with oyster and caviar or Crystal Ramos Gin Fizz made with No. 3 Gin, clarified Ramos fizz, and orange-flower bubbles.
5 Cox Terrace
FORT by Maison Ikkoku
What it is: FORT by Maison Ikkoku is the brainchild of of Ethan Leslie Leong. As a matter of fact, we’ll go one better; it is a reflection of Ethan Leslie Leong. As its executive chef and senior master mixologist, Leong combines his cocktail-making techniques with a balanced selection of food such as soups, salads, cocktail carpaccio, and hand-rolled maki. He even designed FORT’s interior with lots of copper and wood with embellishments like railway sleepers, Edison filament bulbs, and red velvet for an industrial look and feel. If you want to get to know who Ethan Leslie Leong is and what he’s about, go to FORT for a visual representation of the man himself.
What to expect: A more rounded cocktail bar experience. The cocktails at FORT focus on “taste profile development” – a different style of cocktail mixing, using techniques such as distillation, infusion, spherification, dehydration, emulsion, smoking, and house made Tonic Water. But FORT understands that clever cocktails won’t cut it anymore, especially when we consider the country’s proliferation of bars offering such options. As a result, Leong has crafted a six-course cocktail pairing menu with concoctions and dishes complementing each other for a multi-sensory dining experience.
What to have: Be sure to try FORT’s signature dish, The Sea, which brings out aromas, tastes, and visuals of the ocean with sea salt sorbet, seaweed, scallop, oyster, and salmon roe.