Destination Drinking

I, Mr. Know-It-All, am on the ball about anything and everything, and that includes everything and anything about the drinking scene here. Let me take you through my inimitable list of must-go drinking destinations, from the best venues to drink cocktails, champagne and martinis, down to the coolest spots and best happy hours to lim (read: drink) beer too! Slurp!

Cocky Cocktails

New party places are always welcomed, especially if they serve yummy cocktails (always a plus point). And you know, to uphold my reputation as the know-all in well, everything, I just have to hang out and be seen at the latest hot spots. The Hacienda (13A Dempsey Rd. 6476-2922), a sophisticated outdoor alfresco bar, boasts a wide array of freshly squeezed juice-based cocktails. Expect no syrup or chemicals, man. I love all this natural goodness that lessens the guilt of imbibing without lessening the fun.

And if you want to get all romantic with your girl, guy or anything in between, hang out at the intimate Alley Bar (2 Emerald Hill, Peranakan Place, 180 Orchard Rd., 6732-6966). This bar has an old-world appeal and is endowed with awesome margaritas which are ultra-smooth and blended to perfection. Try the strawberry margarita—it’s bound to get your head spinning. Another hit here is the “Café Del Mar,” which comes in colorful layers, and is made up of cointreau, midori, peach schnapps, pineapple and cranberry. It’s sweet and delicious, an apt drink while you sugar talk your date.

Café Iguana (#01-03 Riverside Pt., 30 Merchant Rd., 6236-1275) is also loved for its margaritas, and you can choose from flavors that range from lime to mango, blueberry to peach. Try it on the rocks, or frozen. I like the series of frozen “House Margaritas” better, because they are more invigorating. Get them at half price during happy hours, which are from 6pm to 9pm from Mondays to Fridays, and noon to 9pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Head down to the Balcony (#01-K5/02-03, The Heeren, 260 Orchard Rd., 6235-2325) if you prefer a Mediterranean setting to people-watch. This place is also blessed with wicked margaritas, but I advise you and your date to watch out for its jelly drinks that will keep you on a high!

But if your partner is a bore and appears spaced out most of the time (and you’re sure it’s not the drinks), ditch him or her and focus your attention on The Butter Factory’s (#01-03 Riverside 48, 48 Robertson Quay, 6333-8243) cocktails instead. “The Japanese Slippers” is a citrus cocktail with a melon taste, while the fizzy “Butter Factory Ice Tea” is bitter at first, but has a coffee and orangey aftertaste. The creamy “Peanut Butter and Jelly” shooter here is worth a shot too. Wonderful, wonderful…

Le Lounge (2/F, Crazy Horse Paris, #01-01 Blk. B Clarke Quay, River Valley Rd., 6336-1800) has some signature cocktails such as “Vestal’s Desire,” “But I’m a Good Girl” and “Bitchy Me.” If you want something light, these will do. And, oh yes, if the drinks don’t turn you on, I’m very sure the leggy Crazy Horse girls who sometimes chill out at this lavish hangout will!

The “Singapore Sling” at The Long Bar (#02-01 Raffles Hotel, 1 Beach Rd., 6431-6156) has got to be one of the best I’ve ever tasted. And several places have new poisons in store too. Introbar (1/F, Equinox Complex, Swissôtel The Stamford, 2 Stamford Rd.,6431-6176) for example, has just come up with some deadly—but very pleasing—punches. Ingredients include Barcardi rum, cinnamon, banana, lemon and dry chilies. There’s the “California Punch,” “Hawaiian Punch,” “Cape Codder” and “Bay Breeze Punch.” New vodka cocktails such as “Crimson” can be found at City Space (70/F, Equinox Complex, Swissôtel The Stamford, 2 Stamford Rd., 6431-5671). And the latest news I’ve heard? Axis Bar and Lounge (4/F, The Oriental Singapore, Marina Sq., 5 Raffles Ave., 6885-3098) is launching a promotion featuring several new cocktails on Oct 16. They come with complimentary unlimited tapas from 5-8pm daily.

Shaken, Or Stirred?

There’s no better way to get a girl’s attention than to pose pretty with a martini. OK, that’s what James Bond seems to say in his movies anyway. I recommend trying your luck at the Bar at Morton’s (4/F, The Oriental, Marina Sq., 5 Raffles Ave., 6885-3740). The place is known for its Mortini nights (Mon-Fri, 5-7pm) when martinis are available at $9.95 and come with complimentary steak sandwiches. If you can’t pick anyone up by posing pretty, hey, at least the drinks and food will bowl you over.

But, in case you do manage to pick someone up (I can give you better tips than James Bond on that, but that’s another story altogether), head down to the Martini Bar at Mezza9 (Grand Hyatt Regency Singapore, 10 Scotts Rd., 6416-7788) next for an even more exhilarating time. This place has a very wide assortment of martinis and with names such as “Dirty,” “Rendezvous” and “Hot and Sexy,” rest assured of a very exciting and, well, hot, night ahead.

Post Bar (The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, 1 Fullerton Sq., 6887-8135), which now comes with a trendy alfresco area, has a range of shaken martinis. Check out the “White Cosmopolitan,” a spin-off from the traditional red “Cosmopolitan” martini. It is aromatic and smooth, so I’m not surprised at its growing popularity. Don’t miss the killer mojito while you are here too.

For a cool and minty martini, try the “Mintini” at Ink Club Bar (Raffles The Plaza, 80 Bras Basah Rd., 6431-6156).This drink is made from premium vodka, and is only available for the month of October. The signature drink “Ink Perfection,” is delectable too.

I love Insomnia (#01-21/22/23 Chijmes, 30 Victoria St., 6338-6883) for its sumptuous “White Chocolate Martini.” Made with Jago Vanilla Cream Liquer, and with delicious white chocolate grated onto the top of the drink, it’s smooth and luscious. New salsa bar Fuego (#01-01 5 Gemmill Lane, 6327-1998) has some sinful martinis as well, with “Red Apple Martini” being the most popular. It’s zesty and aromatic, ideal as a after-work drink. Hop on to No. 5 (5 Emerald Hill, 6732-0818) after that, as its signature martinis are a great way to cap off an evening.

Pull Me a Pint!

Listen, if you have been hanging out with the uncles at the kopitiams for too long, and yearn for something more thrilling, follow me to the Archipelago Brewery Company (79 Circular Rd., 6327-8408). This pub features three novel craft beers which are infused with exotic spices such as ginger, assam, lemon grass, herbs and mandarin orange peel. The “Archipelago Traveller’s Wheat” is easy on the stomach, while the “Archipelago Straits Pale” is crisp and round-bodied. For a creamy drink, take a swig of the “Archipelago Traders Brown Ale.” These thirst-quenchers are especially made to pair up with Asian food.

Brewerkz (#01-05/06 Riverside Pt., 30 Merchant Rd., 6438-7438) has a fairly comprehensive beer selection. Ales, lagers, stouts and more are also available. From the “Maredsous Blond” to the “Chimay Blanche,” the “Duvel” to the “Trois Pistoles,” bottled beers from distinctive breweries from different parts of the world can be found. Oh wait, the waitresses here are cute too (oh, and that’s another story)!

When I am in the mood for authentic German beers, I head right to Paulaner Brauhaus (#01-01 Millenia Walk, 9 Raffles Blvd., 6883-2572). This three-story place with laid-back vibes has an in-house microbrewery. And I absolutely dig its fresh and flavorful “Munich Lager” and “Munich Dark.”

However, if Australian beers are more your thing, hit Prince of Wales in Little India (101 Dunlop St., 6299-0130). Besides being known as a live music joint, this cozy pub has bottles by The Cascade Brewery Company, Boag’s Brewery (J. Boag & Son) and more. These are available at $4 to $7 during happy hours which last from 9am to 9pm! This bar is the only importer of the Gippsland Gold beer of the Grand Ridge Brewery in Singapore as well. Ingredients for an intoxicating day and night are in place here, matey!

I go to Vintage (#03-17/18 Cuppage Plaza, 5 Koek Rd., 6733-0278) when I am short of cash, and want to enjoy cheap beers. Beers are going for just $6 a mug on weekdays. Other favorite watering holes of mine are Harry’s Bar (28 Boat Quay, 6538-4029) for its inviting ambience and Ice Cold Beer (9 Emerald Hill Rd., 6735-9929), where two bottles of Carlsberg or Yebisu can be had at $12, and three bottles of Asahi at $20! The inviting ambiences at these places are always a draw with people from all walks of life, including me.

Rock Hard

When I get hard-up for some hard liquor on the rocks, Q Bar (#01-04 The Annex @ The Old Parliament House, 1 Old Parliament Lane, 6336-3386) never disappoints. With 111 vodkas neatly stocked in its freezers, this place has the largest selection of premium vodkas in Singapore! Rare and top-flight labels from all over the world, such as the Diva Gem Filtered from Scotland, Van Gogh from Holland and the Wyborowa Single Estate from Poland, are housed here. Some flavors are even exclusive to the bar. I tell you, this stylish place is heavenly.

Japanese whisky bar Coffee Bar K (#01-076 UE Square, 205 River Valley Rd., 6720-5040) is the place to hit if you are looking for an extensive drinks list. Opened in March, it’s very sophisticated (with prices to match) and has about 400 whiskies primarily from Scotland and Japan for your picking.

And do check out The Whisky Store (2/F, 3/F, 56 Cairnhill Rd., 6732-3452). This quiet place debuted two months ago, with clean-cut furnishings and an air of intimacy. Its owners Khoon Hui and Joyce are very approachable, and I must admit, they know (nearly) as much about the honey-brown liquid as me. If you are new to whisky, they will be more than happy to tell you about it. Over 80 different kinds of whiskies (some rare) are served here, with around 70 single malts. New whiskies are added to the drinks menu every month, and there are unique whisky cocktails using ingredients such as the English breakfast tea to tantalize your palate.

If you like a more boisterous nightspot to enjoy your whisky, Balaclava (#01-01B Suntec City Mall, 1 Raffles Bldvd., 6339-1600) is da place to be. Its whisky selection is not as extensive as Coffee K Bar or The Whisky Store, but it’s still respectable. Bob your head to rocking live music and down the poison of your choice.

Indie bar Home (#B1-01/06 20 Upper Circular Rd., 6538-2928) has some very powerful absinthe for the gutsy. The absinthe green (70 percent volume) is available at $22 per shot, while the absinthe black (85 percent volume) is priced at $28 per shot. Just don’t blame the haze for your blurry vision after that.

Red or White?

You know, when you are up for some bubbly fun (besides foam parties I mean), iL Lido (Sentosa Golf Club, 27 Bukit Manis Rd., 6866-1977) is a cool spot to go to. This classy restaurant cum bar has an amazing menu of 100 champagnes and sparkling wines. Take your pick from prestigious labels such as the Billecart Salmon and the Louis Roederer Cristal, or indulge in rare vintages such as the Krug 1981 Collection and the A Dom Perignon Oenoteque. Some champagne selections are exclusive to iL Lido—so what are you waiting for?

Girls lurve Mad Flemmings (33 Boat Quay, 6533-1169) on Fridays because they enjoy free flow of champagne from 8-11pm. If you are into champagne, a bottle of Mumm’s is available at Suba (#01-75 Millenia Walk, 9 Raffles Blvd., 6333-0822) at only $99 on Fridays. Mumm’s is also sold by the glass at J Bar (9/F, M Hotel, 81 Anson Rd., 6421-6233) for only $18 till Dec 30. Sip a bottle of Moet & Chandon or Brut at $90 at Velvet Underground (17 Jiak Kiat St., 6738-2988) on Wednesday. Also good for champagne is Ministry of Sound (#01-02 Blk. C Clarke Quay, River Valley Rd., 6235-2292), where brands such as Taittinger, Veurve Cliquot and Dom Perignon can be had.

Everyone into wine should know about Wine Connection (#01-06 Robertson Walk, 11 Unity St., 6238-6878) by now. This retail shop cum bar has about 300 labels that span France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, South Africa and more. Affordable as well as premium products can be purchased here, and you can sip a glass of good red wine at just $5!

Another place with a good wine deal is Vino Vino (#01-56 UE Sq., 207 River Valley Rd., 6737-7220). This alfresco wine lounge, with its rustic décor, has free flow of red and white wines from 6-8pm daily at just $12 per person.

If you are into German whites and reds, The Magma German Wine Bistro (2 Bt. Pasoh Rd., 6221-0634) is a must. Here, wines from renowned wineries such as Keller, Stodden, Molitor and Haart can be sampled while you munch on finger-lickin’ German food. Zouk Wine Bar (17 Jiak Kim St., 6738-2988) is a cool place to hang out at before heading to the dance floor as it has a generous selection of wines and house pours, and The Amici Bar & Restaurant (24 Tanjong Pagar Rd., 6557-2090), with 200 labels to pick from, is a safe bet for good wines too. Wine Network (#01-03A Blk. 13, Dempsey Rd., 6479-2280) is a charming place to hit for high quality stuff.

So there you go, a list of good drinking spots from one who’s seen—and drunk—it all. Now all you need is a strong liver, and you’ll on the way to seventh heaven with me.

Bottoms up!