Because cocktails are just the beginning

Asia’s 50 Best Bars has been a welcome addition to the drinks scene in the region, and Singapore has performed admirably in both editions so far—nine entries in 2016 with 28 HongKong Street at number one and 13 in 2017 led by Manhattan. While we more or less agree with the list, we can’t help but feel that, with a couple of exceptions, it could be more accurately titled Asia’s 50 Best Cocktail Bars instead. What about specialty spirits bars? And craft beer bars? And wine bars? A bar doesn’t have to focus on cocktails to be great, as these five establishments prove.

Alchemist Beer Lab

Singapore has a thriving cast of microbreweries, and two decades on from the arrival of pioneers like Brewerkz and Paulaner Brauhaus, Little Island Brewing Co upped the ante with their offshoot, Alchemist Beer Lab. Using special towers, they infuse beer, cider and mead with ingredients like vanilla, marshmallows, pink guava and even duku. The classy stemware and contemporary setting at South Beach add even more to the experience.

The Auld Alliance

No matter how many times you visit The Auld Alliance, that first step through the door always takes your breath away. With well over a thousand bottles of whisky filling its shelves, some dating back more than a century, it is in essence a temple dedicated to the water of life. Whether you’re spending five figures on a rare and old Bowmore bottling, or getting to know a new distillery over a few reasonably priced drams, you’re welcomed as a whisky lover by a team of fellow whisky lovers.

La Maison du Whisky Singapore

Though whisky takes center stage here, as its name suggests, it’s La Maison du Whisky’s stockpile of other spirits that sets it apart from any other place in town. From single village mezcal and vodka made from Bolivian quinoa to Okinawan rum, Sri Lankan gin, pisco, grappa and calvados, their range of meticulously sourced spirits will send you on a world tour like no other.

La Terre

Fronted by sommelier extraordinaire Daisuke Kawai, La Terre is an oenophile’s dream, covering icons, novelties and everything in between. Their wine list reads like a who’s who of legendary producers with Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, the Bordeaux First Growths and the Super Tuscans all making appearances. Mere mortals aren’t left out, however. La Terre's rotating list of wines by the glass and regular tasting events make fine wine accessible to everyday drinkers.

Smith Street Taps

Smith Street Taps might not offer the creature comforts of other craft beer bars and they don’t have as many options as the city’s other tap rooms, but all things considered, they’re the complete package. Unapologetically Singaporean, they have a selection of brews that never disappoints—poured by people with passion and knowledge to rival any world-class mixologist.