Shophouses and Back Alleys: 7 hidden, historic bars in Singapore

Photo: Facebook/Jekyll & Hyde

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Singapore’s a lot smaller than most major cities in the region so there’s no chance we’ll escape from its rich history. And why would we want to? While every corner of Singapore’s 719.1 km² is full of stories, a lot has changed in the past decades. With a couple of modern touches (sophisticated toilets and thorough urban planning come to mind) rustic shophouses and charming back alleys now house the most peculiar and fascinating shops — including watering holes, perfect for the island’s climate and the islander’s palate.

Photo: Facebook/Flying Monkey

Flying Monkey

67 Bussorah St

For offbeat cocktails based on familiar flavours, Flying Monkeys in the Arab Quarters of Singapore will see that you take in the flavors of mango lassi, jasmine flowers, and rice syrup in a solid cocktail. Besides drinks with an Indian twist, Flying Monkey is an unpretentious Indian tapas bar as well. Ask about the legend behind the Galouti Kebabs, you’ll get your fix of history too.

Phat Cat Laundry

4 Jiak Chuan Rd 

First things first, this ain’t no stuffy laundromat in downtown Chinatown. Joining the other discerning establishments on the very cool Jiak Chuan Road is the cheeky Phat Cat Laundry. You’ll be greeted with a neon sign and several signs of washing machine wordplay and then the laundry references end. With sophisticated tea-infused and Asian-themed cocktails – there’s a Mango Sticky Rice cocktail – some served with all the frills (the Andy Lau comes all sparkly and purple in a glass bottle), you might just end up airing some laundry after a few drinks.

Photo: Facebook/Phat Cat Laundry

Atlas Grand Lobby & Bar

600 North Bridge Rd

If the roaring twenties was something you’d like to experience, you’ll probably just read The Great Gatsby again. But if somehow you’ve always wanted to insert yourself in a scene in the Baz Luhrman-directed spectacle, you should care for a tipple at Atlas Bar. Housed within the iconic Parkview Square, Atlas should already score high points in the aesthetic category but imagine perusingan impressive tower of their carefully curated gin collection across time and space, while having an Art Deco-inspired cocktail to pass the day, Jay Gatsby style.

Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall

60 Boat Quay

After you’ve tried all the local drinks a Singapore kopitiam has to offer, consider Ah Sam’s a level up. Incorporating local flavours like Milo, soya bean milk, kopi or longan to make you a bespoke cocktail is a great party trick to have. Word has it that they serve pretty decent grub as well. You can’t get more Singaporean than having Hokkien noodles at Boat Quay — with an alcoholic Milo in hand.

Photo: Facebook/Atlas Grand Lobby & Bar

Smoke & Mirrors

1 St. Andrews Road

Rewind to a couple of decades back and you’d never think that one day you’ll be sitting on the Old Parliament House (now the National Gallery Singapore) having a Peking duck daiquiri. Yup, duck. While you sit pretty at Smoke & Mirrors, just remember that the picturesque view is no illusion – and neither are the cocktails. Hitting the spot when it comes to presentation and palate, the drinks at this rooftop bar are novel and impressive, a mix between age-old classics and peculiar whipped-up concoctions.

Jekyll & Hyde         

49 Tras St 

In the heart of the CBD, Jekyll & Hyde, like its name, appears to be both polished and raw, with deep wood and stone aesthetics. You can order a drink from the unusual menu or ask the mixologist nicely to make one for you – and be specific about your choice of flavours because they can go all-out creative. Their most popular beverage is Mr. Bean – an outstanding and boozy version of the local favourite, soy beancurd. Stick around the area, there are a lot of hidden gems in the vicinity if you’re looking for an offbeat drinking experience.

Photo: Facebook/Bitters and Love

Bitters and Love

118 Telok Ayer St 

When you’ve a got a loyal following after changing addresses, then you know you’ve done something right. Now in the shophouse-lined streets of Telok Ayer, Bitter and Love are still at it with their custom-made tipples. Throw out the menu and tell them what you feel (like drinking), they can whip up something from the spectrum of fresh to spicy if that’s your poison. Or try the Kaya toast cocktail if you have got a sweet tooth, it’s a crowd favourite.

Are you ready to explore Singapore, starting with the island’s historic, and curious, watering holes? Scoot flies from Bangkok (Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi) to Singapore daily at a range of timings, at affordable prices. Click here now for a special 20% off discount for your flights to Singapore! Book by 12 May 2017.

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