There’s no better way to kick off the weekend than painting the town red with loved ones, accompanied by a delicious tipple or two. Knocking back a few drinks as a pre-party aperitif or settling down in a hideaway bar for an intimate evening of conversation can be made even more appealing when the drinks are particularly elegant, colourful, or flavoursome. Singapore wears the crown as a cocktail capital, and is home to bars listed on the highly coveted World’s 50 Best Bars list year after year. It comes to no surprise, with each taproom promising an enthralling night of concoctions seated at the front edge of innovation and artistry crafted by acclaimed mixologists.
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, consider switching things up for your night out celebrating the season of love. From hole-in-the-wall taverns to lavish reading rooms, there’s a place for every taste. Eager to be taken by surprise? Explore Junior the Pocket bar, whose chameleonic demeanour is reflected in its ever-changing menus and concepts. You’ll find yourself at a retro discotheque one visit and a Japanese izakaya next. If groovy and understated is up your alley, keep Offtrack on your radar. With its dynamic DJ roster and inventive takes on cult cocktail classics, you’ll find yourself whisked away to an addictive ambience.
Below, Vogue Singapore rounds up the most stellar cocktail bars to visit, ranging from speakeasies focusing on specific types of liquor to eco-conscious taverns pushing out plant-based concoctions. Either way, it’ll certainly be a Valentine’s Day you won’t forget.
1 / 17
Cat Bite Club
Tucked away in the vibrant Duxton Hill neighbourhood, Cat Bite Club promises a night defined by qualities of feline nature–curiosity, excitement and a touch of mischief. A glowing red Cheshire cat marks the entrance, a hint of the fascinating journey that awaits within. The bar focuses on agave and rice spirits, experimenting with flavour and aroma. Taking cultural and culinary inspiration from Mexico and Southeast Asia, explore reinterpretations of classics such as their signature Cat Bite Margarita or Soju Sprint. If you’re feeling more adventurous, try your hand at the Rice Rice Daisy with its blend of shochu and rum with miso, coconut and coriander; while the Ghost’een is a tropical twist of mezcal and mangosteen, topped off with chilli and fresh citrus.
Cat Bite Club, 75 Duxton Road, Singapore 089534
2 / 17
There is an enigmatic quality to The Bar Kakure. Its entrance is entirely discreet—blending in with the wall panels on the second floor of a colonial black-and-white bungalow—and can only be unlocked with a keycode that changes daily. Within its intimate space, a dining experience is defined by omotenashi, the concept of Japanese hospitality. Head bartender Kazuhiro Chii helms the bar with an intuitive ability to personalise his service according to each guest’s mood—whether it’s a friendly chat over the counter that you seek, or the solitude of a quiet nightcap. His masterful artistry arises from technical precision and a deep respect for tradition and form, cultivated over more than two decades behind the bar. The signature Fresh Fruit Cocktail is an undeniable highlight here. Choose from a selection of the season’s finest Japanese fruits—we recommend the peaches if they’re available—which Chii then uses to create a delightfully refreshing tipple. Another unique standout is the Yamaoroshi, a smooth, creamy libation of wasabi-infused gin, cacao liqueur and freshly grated wasabi. If you find yourself feeling peckish halfway through the night, a carefully curated menu of elevated Japanese snacks pairs superbly with Chii’s cocktails. You’ll find what is possibly one of the best renditions of Japanese curry rice in Singapore in the Mini Miyazaki Wagyu Curry Rice, while the Toro Katsu features tender cuts of fresh otoro coated in a special charcoal-infused panko then deep-fried to wonderfully crisp perfection.
The Bar Kakure, 29 Scotts Rd, Singapore 228224
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Understatedly cool, this music bar prides itself on an impressive DJ roster—stemmed from local music collectives Darker than Wax and Ice Cream Sundays. And while ambient beats are a sure thing here, most would definitely return for the bar’s inventive cocktails and Asian-skewed food menu that span from Korean Gnocchi to Garlic Noodle. Apart from a selection of highballs, some highlights include the Grasshopper—a smooth amalgamation of mint liqueur, milk, cream and cacao liqueur.
Offtrack, 34 N Canal Rd, #01-01, Singapore 059290
4 / 17
This inviting speakeasy removes all barriers to entry in the guise of a cosy den. Fitted out with stylish high chairs, whimsical doodles splayed on the walls and ample skylight, The Store feels like your friend’s living room—where it’s possibly the best place to imbibe in libations. Some cocktails stay on the safer side, while others like the Irish Kyoto Collins, draws out umami notes from an unconventional ingredient: wasabi, as it’s mixed with yuzu juice, seaweed and a generous splash of Glendalough Botanical Dry Gin. Of course, customisations are readily available—feel free to check in with the friendly bartender on shift based on your preferences.
The Store, 11 Neil Road, Singapore 088809
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Alcohol aficionados are sure to be familiar with Sugarhall; a venture from World’s 50 Best Bars regular Jigger & Pony that went on hiatus four years ago. The latest chapter sees its return as a rum-focused cocktail bar located along Raffles Place helmed by principal bartender, Sam Loh—an enclave harbouring touches of fire-engine red and chartreuse that bring to mind the playful quality of pubs in New York City. Its extensive menu brims with classic flavours and experimental twists; concoctions comprising intriguing elements in the form of galangal ginger, makrut lime leaf, mango sorbet and more. The experimental lot are sure to appreciate the rum of the month programme that allows for visitors to indulge in premium and exclusive rums curated by the staff.
Sugarhall, 19 Cecil Street, Singapore 049704
6 / 17
The House Bar
Regent Singapore had added The House Bar into their repertoire; a boutique lounge exuding quiet refinement and sophistication. This is evident via its subtle signage and dimly lit, minimalist interiors anchored by a facet-edged feature wall showcasing their wide variety of sakés. Its Japanese slant comes through in the premium cocktails and elixirs available, where tried-and-tested blends such as an Old Fashioned are crafted with Hanoki bitters and Japanese red sugar. This treatment extends to its menu of bar bites, too, where negitoro, ikura, and avocado are sandwiched between crisp slices of monaka and paired alongside other Asian-inspired dishes in the vein of Miyazaki wagyu claypot rice.
The House Bar, 1 Cuscaden Road, #01-02, Regent Singapore, Singapore 249715
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Local flavours are heavily emphasised upon at Low Tide, a cosy space located along the Club Street stretch. This hidden gem is considered to be a cult-favourite establishment amongst local bartenders, with Low Tide encompassing a wide variety of unorthodox blends featuring ingredients in the vein of kopi, fermented pineapple beer, sambal stingray flavouring and the like—an apt pick for anyone looking to indulge in South-East Asian fare and tipples. This applies to the bar nibbles as well, where local dishes such as chilli crab, beef rendang and chicken masala sliders make up the bulk of the menu.
Low Tide, 98 Club Street, Singapore 069467
8 / 17
Junior The Pocket Bar
Be sure to make a reservation at this intimate, intriguing speakeasy—seats fill up fast at the 25-seater located along Ann Siang Hill, with its ever-changing menus and concepts drawing crowds since its conception. So far, Junior The Pocket Bar has been a tiki and a mezcal-oriented bar; a ‘70s après-ski chalet; and a Japanese-inspired bar dubbed Washi. As of 2022, it is a ‘60s-inspired French discothèque comprising citrusy Citadelle Gin cocktails as well as Jameson slushies comprising Jameson Irish Whiskey and homemade chai syrup.
Junior The Pocket Bar, 6 Ann Siang Hill, Singapore 069787
9 / 17
Inspired by the bloody, bawdy, sometimes villainous San Francisco district from the 19th century, Barbary Coast is a chic establishment with grandmillennial aesthetics and reasonably priced drinks. A two-floor concept, the plush Barbary Coast Ballroom sitting on top of the more rough-and-ready Deadfall, visitors can expect to see owners Michael Callahan and Celia Schoonraad (the veterans behind famed Singaporean bar 28 HongKong Street) holding court on any given night, easily chatting with regulars and thanking newcomers for supporting the business. Barbary Coast is open for business through Phase 2, complete with a new food menu in order to comply with government regulations. Despite having made such a major adjustment over the summer, the food selection is surprisingly vast (and tasty), with a particular standout being the cheese and charcuterie boards. Order one of the candy-coloured drinks on the ground floor and settle into the friendly, jovial surroundings, or head upstairs for a more nuanced creation like the “One Inch Punch” or the “Tea with Raspberries and Cream.” Either way, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
Barbary Coast, 16 North Canal Road, Singapore 048828
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Jigger & Pony
One of the standouts on the scene since 2012, this classy and classic speakeasy not only won the distinction of the Highest Climber Award on the 2019 World’s 50 Best Bars list, moving up 33 places, but was also crowned the best bar in Asia in May. Located in the Amara Hotel, their menu now features 24 tantalising cocktails. The smartly-dressed hospitality staff are more like family than coworkers, as the bar’s founders have been working steadily for years to build a nurturing environment that sees a much lower turnover rate than most local F&B businesses. That comforting sense of support translates into a warm, convivial atmosphere for guests, so good it has to be seen to be believed. However, if you’re still reticent to see and be seen in a crowded place, Jigger & Pony has you covered; their ready-to-drink cocktails (artfully packaged, with garnishes wrapped up alongside them) can be delivered right to your doorstep, and—even better—can be ordered in bulk.
Jigger & Pony, 165 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088539
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The Elephant Room
Inspired by the sights and sounds of Little India, slipping into this Tanjong Pagar watering hole often feels more like visiting a culture-forward bar in Bombay. The experience at The Elephant Room kicks off with the signature spice plate, which allows guests to inhale deeply all the spices that are on offer that night. Take a seat at a Jaali-patterned table top and pull up a lungi-embroidered coaster, because these South Asian spices are then combined into complex cocktails that are each a little heaven in a glass. The “Banana King” (Himalayan gin, sandalwood, and the fermented fruit) and “Jothi’s Flower Shop” (jasmine gin, lime, and honey) are our personal favourites. Every bold cocktail on the menu has a layered story, and owner-bartender Yugnes Susela is more than happy to regale you with the breakdown behind your choice. Perched atop the Michelin-starred Burnt Ends, The Elephant Room is Susela’s passion project, based on his heritage and childhood.
The Elephant Room, 20A Teck Lim Road, Singapore 088391
12 / 17
Tipple and Dram
Billing itself as Singapore’s “finest wine and whisky bar,” Tipple and Dram is a relative newcomer to the scene, having only been founded in mid-2018. That said, its subsequent rise has been nothing short of meteoric. Featuring a menu replete with rare single malts and cigars, its two levels (the titular “Tipple” and “Dram” occupying the first and second floors, respectively), it wouldn’t be especially surprising to walk in one evening and find a character from Mad Men sitting at the bar. An old-world style is fleshed out by more than 100 unique bottlings that sit comfortably behind the bar, just waiting to be indulged in.
Tipple and Dram, 24 Ann Siang Road, Singapore 069704
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One of the Jigger & Pony Group’s concept cocktail joints, Live Twice is a mid-century warren of classic cocktails and bar signatures (divided into two on the menu, emblematic of its Nancy Sinatra-inspired name). An elevated and cosy izakaya, it feels more like your most sophisticated friend’s living room than a drinking establishment. It’s almost a hidden bar in its sleek aesthetics and presentation, and wouldn’t be out of place as a setting in a Kurosawa flick. Try the Pear Alexander if you’re a fan of chocolate notes, or the Mizuwari if you’d rather indulge in a finely mellowed grain whisky. Also of distinction are the “Spring Riot”, with its grated daikon over rogu gin, and the “Snow Flurries”, with Empirical Spirits’ Fallen Pony blend (a vacuum-distilled koji, for the uninitiated) and oolong tea. The katsu sandos—take your pick of beef, pork, or ebi and corn—are addictive, and not to be missed.
Live Twice, 20 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore 089834
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The Regent Singapore’s signature cocktail bar, Manhattan has all the glamour and refinement of the city that never sleeps itself, and then some. Since opening in 2014, the bar has quickly accumulated a wide circle of dedicated customers and seems to have found a forever home on the World’s 50 Best Bars list. Oozing luxe and finesse, the menu explores an endless array of old New York’s iterations, from the 1520s to the 1990s. Choosing just one or two tipples from the list of classic and forgotten cocktails is nearly impossible, but guests can rest easy knowing that, no matter what they settle on, it will be meticulously crafted in the world’s first in-hotel rickhouse, a whisky-aging mini-warehouse. Its Sunday cocktail brunches—the first in Singapore—are also notoriously equal parts elegant and indulgent. Even better, the bar is known for its environmental consciousness, taking excess ingredients like spent coffee grounds, excess cream, and strawberry tops, and infusing them into their spirits to give them a new lease on life.
Manhattan, 1 Cuscaden Road, Singapore 249715
15 / 17
The Old Man
Another Keong Saik charmer, The Old Man wears its heart on its sleeve. Said heart belongs only to Ernest Hemingway, whose likeness can be spotted all around the room. Not only that, but every drink on the menu is inspired by Papa’s novels and mythology. Even the strangest-looking drink on the menu, arguably the frothy, electric green, yoghurt-infused “Death in the Afternoon,” plays on the senses as delightfully as Hemingway’s prose. The bar itself modelled after the prolific author’s Havana estate, lined with books and shaped like a runway, with a built-in cooling strip running down the middle that keeps your drink perpetually chilled. Beware, however, the lack of signposting outside the bar, which can make locating it an interesting challenge. Keep an eye out for the lone pineapple lamp lighting the entranceway, or follow a waiter carrying in a slice of creamy cheesecake from the kitchen next door, and you’ll be golden.
The Old Man, 55 Keong Saik Road, #01-04, Singapore 089158
16 / 17
Focused on regional ingredients and locally sourced produce like curry leaves and starfruit flowers, Native’s innovative mixology makes not only for a fun evening, but also a great story. Cosied in to a quieter corner of bustling Amoy Street, this bar is another local establishment with a carefully-curated hidden speakeasy vibe, complete with exposed brick and hanging lamps. Sharp-eyed local art connoisseurs might recognise the graffiti on the wall as the handiwork of Rajesh Kumar, or the ceramics on the shelf as sporting Ummuramics’ signature curvy style. Owner Vijay Mudalier sings the praises of the commercial foraging movement, and it’s easy to see why. You may have never considered Thai rum with crunchy ants (also locally foraged, naturally) and pink jasmine blossoms as a viable cocktail combination, but the minds behind the bar at this Ann Siang Hill joint certainly have, to wonderful effect. Its marvellous, slightly grainy texture makes for an exciting, luscious drink that you’ll be bragging about to all of your friends for days afterwards.
Native, 52a Amoy Street, Singapore 069878
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One of Singapore’s grandest bars, Atlas welcomes all-day drinking and dining deep into the night. Holding the coveted #8 place on the World’s 50 Best Bars list, Atlas has long been a fixture on the local cocktail scene, and is certainly one of its more sweeping contenders. Known for its iconic gin tower, the bar holds over 1,000 varieties of the spirit, some dating as far back as 1910. The 7,400 sq ft establishment is consistently compared to a setpiece from the The Great Gatsby. With drinks on the menu like the caramel-infused Transatlantic and Mr. Schulze’s Sour, named in tribute to the man behind the beverage programme on the Hindenburg, we’ll let thirsty guests decide for themselves.
Atlas, 600 North Bridge Road, Singapore 188778