The best nightlife in Singapore, from rooftop nightclubs to subterranean speakeasies

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By day, Singapore is a city that moves to the rhythm of business, but as the sun goes down and the lights go up, a cohort of bartenders steps in to wet the whistles of those who have talked themselves hoarse in the boardroom. In truth, few cities in the world can match the island metropolis in this regard. After all, it ranks second, alongside New York, for its contribution to the World’s 50 Best Bars list of 2019.

But for all the quality on display, it’s the surprising variety of Singapore’s nightlife scene that truly enchants visitors. Of course there are the skyscraper cocktail lounges, their colourful concoctions nearly (but not quite) outdone by the stunning city views; and the hushed hotel bars rank among the best in the world for elegance and refinement. But elsewhere, an increasing coterie of underground speakeasies and gin joints continues to push boundaries, creating a buzzing, energetic undercurrent to the Lion City that belies its business-like veneer.

Orchard Road

Horse’s Mouth

Dimly lit and completely door-less, this izakaya-inspired speakeasy can only be accessed from a stairway inside Uma Uma Ramen above or via Kaiseki Yoshiyuki restaurant. Far from being Japanese-inspired, the menu at Horse’s Mouth takes on a different theme each month with “What’s Up, Doc?” and “Mexican Fiesta” – made with Cimarron Tequila Blanco, Triple-Sec, Bay Leaf, Calamansi, Honey and Red Bell Peppers –  featuring in the local food-inspired menu recently. Bespoke tipples such as the Orient Express are available on request, as are classic cocktails like Charlie Chaplin. 

Contact: 00 65 8188 0900; horsesmouthbar.com
Opening times: Mon-Thu, 6pm-12am; Fri-Sat, 6pm-1am
Nearest metro: Orchard MRT
Prices: £££
Getting in: No dress code

horses's mouth, singapore

Horse’s Mouth is a speakeasy-style bar inspired by an izakaya, or traditional Japanese pub

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Manhattan Bar

Rated No. 3 on 2018 World’s 50 Best Bars list and No. 2 on Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2019 list, Manhattan beckons with an opulent, leather and dark wood interior that harks back to the 19th century golden age of cocktails. The menu dispatches cocktails inspired by Manhattan’s neighbourhoods such as Harlem, the Lower East Side and Hell’s Kitchen and features a seasonally rotating list of cocktails plus spirits, cocktails and bitters – barrel-aged in the world’s first on-site rickhouse – and Big Apple-inspired bar bites like jazzed-up Maine lobster roll and street-style hot dogs.

Contact: 00 65 6725 3377; regenthotels.com/regent-singapore
Opening times: Mon-Thu, Sat, 5pm-1am; Fri, 5pm-2am; Sun, 12pm-3pm, 5pm-1am
Nearest metro: Orchard MRT
Prices: £££
Getting in: Smart casual dress code

manhattan bar

The menu at Manhattan Bar features cocktails inspired by NYC neighbourhoods such as Harlem, the Lower East Side and Hell’s Kitchen

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The Other Room

Nondescript and parading as an ordinary door to an ordinary room in Marriot’s lobby, The Other Room is helmed by master bartender and cask-ageing spirit-pioneer, Dario Knox. Dim, with a disco ball caged by a skeletal shade, the prohibition era-inspired menu evokes the idea of a reverie away from the harshness of everyday life. The journey begins with an espresso martini in a glass dropper. While listening to the eclectic, trance-like mix of music of Knox’s personal playlist, order the Old Fashioned Way – a cocktail that brings a new forbidden slice of heaven to the age-old drink.

Contact: 00 65 8300 6085; theotherroom.com.sg
Opening times: Sat-Wed, 6pm-3am; Thu-Sat, 6pm-4am
Nearest metro: Orchard MRT
Prices: ££
Getting in: Smart casual dress code

the other room

The Other Room is helmed by master bartender and cask-ageing spirit-pioneer, Dario Knox

Civic District/Marina Bay

Ce La Vi

From its perch at the tip of the Marina Bay Sands Skypark, Ce La Vi’s SkyBar promises sensational views of Singapore’s skyline, weekly themed DJ nights and Diamond Life Ladies Night (recently with a Legally Blonde The Musical theme!). Rather than gawp at the views all night, chill out over an Eastern Spice cocktail at the poolside SkyDeck or hit the dance floor at the Club Lounge. Be sure to order their signature Kiku Vesper cocktail made from a mix of Yuzu Shochu, Gin and their in-house Dry Sake Tonic.

Contact: 00 65 6508 2188; celavi.com
Opening times: Sun-Thu, 6pm-3am; Wednesday; Fri-Sat; 6pm-4am
Nearest metro: Bayfront MRT
Prices: £££
Getting in: Smart casual dress code

ce a vi, singapore

Perched at the tip of the Marina Bay Sands Skypark, Ce La Vi is the place to go for drinking in the views (along with a cocktail or two)

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LeVeL 33

Housed in a glass-wrapped penthouse loft 500 feet above the ground, the world’s tallest micro-brewery provides one of the city’s best vantage points to take-in jaw-dropping views of the Marina Bay Sands behemoth whilst sipping a glass of ice-cold beer. With copper brew house kettles and use of earthy tones and textures, the microbrewery offers unrivalled beer tastes and options such as their 33.1 blond lager – inspired by the authentic 1841 Vienna version, 33.15 dry pale ale, the 33.4 house porter or the 33.3 smoky stout.

Contact: 00 65 6834 3133; level33.com.sg
Opening times: Mon-Wed, 11.30am-12am; Thu-Sat, 11.30am-2am; Sun, 12pm-12am
Nearest metro: Raffles Place MRT
Prices: ££
Getting in: Smart casual dress code

level 33 singapore

Some 500ft above the ground, LeVeL 33 lays claim to the title of World’s Highest Urban Craft Brewery

Credit:
DANIEL CHIA

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Caffe Fernet

Housed in a newly created structure next to Customs House with vaulted ceiling and floor-to-ceiling wrap-around windows, this hip new bar and restaurant by the Jigger & Pony group offers stonking views of the Marina Bay Sands to go with hipster Italian fare washed down with Italian-inspired swizzles (try the Amalfi Spritz) and the fruit-infused Frose (the Watermelon Frose is made with rose wine, watermelon and vodka). Come early to catch the nightly Marina Bay Sands night show at 8pm.

Contact: 00 65 9178 1105; caffefernet.sg
Opening times: Mon-Sat, 12pm-2am; Sun, 11am-5pm
Nearest metro: Raffles Place MRT
Prices: £
Getting in: Smart casual dress code

caffe fernet, singapore

Caffe Fernet offers stonking views of the Marina Bay Sands to go with hipster Italian fare washed down with Italian-inspired swizzles

Credit:
TAWAN C

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1-Altitude

Perched at 925ft (282m) above sea level, Singapore’s tallest point is also the city’s hottest al fresco bar. Featuring a sunken bar, all-round view of the city and two mixologist capsules, guests may mix their own cocktails like gin and tonic, the iconic Singapore Sling or simply just take in the sights with a flute of Krug Champagne in hand. Sister to the hot nightclub, Altimate, the 16,ooo square feet bar spans 3 floors and the spot gets extremely crowded on weekend nights on the dance floor with the electropop jams.

Contact: 00 65 6438 0410; 1-altitude.com
Opening times: Sun-Tue, 6pm-2am; Wed, Fri-Sat, 6pm-4am; Thu, 6pm-3am
Nearest metro: Raffles Place MRT
Prices: £££
Getting in: Smart casual dress code

1-Altitude

Singapore’s tallest point, 1-Altitude, is also the city’s hottest al fresco bar

Chinatown 

Operation Dagger

Channeling the suspense of a speakeasy, this subterranean bar at Club Street features an apothecary-like space – and a bijou lab – with a glass bulb-ceiling and the mood lighting where Australian bartender, Luke Whearty, dons his mad scientist cap to concoct swizzles like bottle-aged carbonated cocktails and sous-vide tarragon-infused gin. For something that screams homemade, why not have mead made from honey collected from the bar’s very own rooftop beehive? Better yet, try the homemade fermented fruit wines – they are guaranteed to knock your socks off!

Contact: 00 65 6438 4057; operationdagger.com
Opening times: Tue-Sat, 6pm-12am
Nearest metro: Chinatown MRT
Prices: ££
Getting in: Smart casual dress code

operation dagger, singapore

Operation Dagger is a laboratory-like space set underground, serving everything from carbonated cocktails to homemade wines

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Gibson

Set along the Bukit Pasoh stretch, Gibson boasts more than a somewhat retro setting in a windowless space tucked on the second floor of a heritage shop house. But make no mistake, the marble-topped bar fields some of the most delicious cocktails this part of town. Favourites include Crystal Ramos Gin Fizz paired with bar snacks like the platter of luscious oysters or sea urchin with cauliflower puree on brioche. Come between 5 to 8pm daily for a limited selection of discounted cocktails, beers and wines at Asia’s 50 Best Bars list-rated bar.

Contact:00 65 9114 8385; gibsonbar.sg
Opening times: Mon-Thu, 6pm-1am; Fri-Sat, 6pm-2am
Nearest metro: Outram MRT
Prices: ££
Getting in: Smart casual dress code

gibson bar, singapore

Gibson is a retro little drinking spot on the second floor of a heritage shophouse

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Employees Only

The first international outpost of New York’s most popular cocktail bar, Employees Only offers cocktail aficionados the same experience – from the retro décor, the white jacketed bartenders to the fortune teller that presides at the entrance – matched by the bar’s trademark fast-paced free pouring cocktails and a menu of hearty eats. Come hungry for the hand cut steak tartar, bone marrow poppers, whole rainbow trout and bone-in 800 gram prime ribeye steak. Be sure to try out their Eo Gimlet cocktail while bopping along to their “International Zoo Mix” music.

Contact: 00 65 6221 7357; employeesonlysg.com
Opening times: Sun-Fri, 5pm-1am; Sat 5pm-2am
Nearest metro: Telok Ayer MRT
Prices: ££
Getting in: Smart casual dress code recommended

employees only, singapore

Employees Only brings the decadence of Prohibition-era New York to Singapore’s nightlife scene

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Jigger & Pony

Named after a bartending measuring device, Jigger & Pony is the venue to reignite your passion for classical cocktails. . A favourite on the menu would be the cheekily named “Madame President”, a deconstructed Negroni inspired by Singapore’s own UNESCO site, the Botanic Gardens. Be sure to try the locally-inspired Harvest Martini, made with Singapore-harvested herbs: tarragon, cologne mint and butterfly sorrel, while listening to the classic jazz tunes and enjoying the comfortable, classic 19th century vibe.

Contact: 00 65 6223 9101; jiggerandpony.com
Opening times: Sun-Thu, 5pm-1am; Fri-Sat, 5pm-3am
Nearest metro: Tanjong Pagar MRT
Prices: ££
Getting in: Smart casual dress code

jigger and pony, singapore

If you’re out in Singapore and have a thirst for a classic cocktail, Jigger & Pony is the place to go

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Studio 1939 by Potato Head Folk

This reservations-only rock music lounge bar brought to us by the Potato Head group is set on the third floor of an Art Deco building on Keong Saik Road, right atop Three Buns, a burger restaurant by the same group. With a vintage theme, the interior design features a marble bar centerpiece and antique rattan chairs. The well-stocked bar by mixologist, Dre Masso, pours inspired cocktails made with homemade infusions and artisanal spirits like Heard It Through The Grapevine (gin, lemongrass, ginger, lemon, ginger beer). Don’t miss the homemade cola with inspiring top notes of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Contact: 00 65 6327 1939; pttheadfolk.com
Opening times: Tue-Thu, 11am-1am; Fri-Sat, 11am-2am; Sun, 11am-1am
Nearest metro: Outram Park MRT
Prices: ££
Getting in: Casual dress code, reservations only

Studio 1939 by Potato Head Folk

The well-stocked bar at Studio 1939 by Potato Head Folk features inspired cocktails made with homemade infusions and artisanal spirits

28 HongKong Street

Tucked behind an unmarked door off an obscure street in Chinatown, 28 HongKong Street is hailed as one of Singapore’s best-kept secrets for good reasons. Hidden behind an old shophouse, discover carefully curated American-style craft cocktails and artisanal spirits bi-annually updated by the charming head bartender, Logan Demmy, while listening to classic hip-hop beats. When hitting up the cocktail bars circuit in Singapore, 28 Hong Kong Street is a must, if only to witness why this bar is consistently rated on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list.

Contact: 00 65 8318 0328; 28hks.com
Opening times: Mon-Wed, 6pm-2am; Thu-Fri, 6pm-3am; Sat, 6pm-12am
Nearest metro: Clarke Quay MRT
Prices: ££
Getting in: Smart casual dress code

Kampong Glam

Maison Ikkoku The Gallery  

Stacked atop a boutique and café in a triple-tiered shop house at Kampong Glam, this semi-outdoor rooftop space shifts gear to reveal a sophisticated bar persona by dusk. Belying the bijou space are bespoke cocktails,  chock-a-block with liquid gems – the signature coffee-accented cocktails are guaranteed to kick start your night on a caffeine-high. Be sure not the miss their Journey of the West cocktail which includes hojicha, Bulleit Bourbon and Guinness reduction along with bar bites such as Arancini Balls and Pork Belly Skewers with sweet glaze, freshly grated garlic and greens.

Contact: 00 65 6294 0078; ethanleslieleong.com
Opening times: Mon-Fri, 11.30am-3pm, 6pm-2am; Sat-Sun, 11.30am-2am
Nearest metro: Bugis MRT
Prices: ££
Getting in: Smart casual dress code

Maison Ikkoku The Gallery

The signature coffee-accented cocktails are guaranteed to kick start your night at Maison Ikkoku

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