Gone are the days where hotel bars are the inferior
Gone are the days where hotel bars are the inferior
- By Dannon Har
- | Dec 12, 2019
There was a time when standalone bars were seen as better than their hotel counterparts. But that time feels like a millenia away now, with many of Singapore’s top bars being owned and operated by hotels themselves. Go check them out. You won’t find them wanting.
Sofitel Singapore City Centre’s fifth floor lobby lounge may be an unexpected place to find barrel-aged cocktails made using some of the world's best craft spirits, but you'll be remiss to not give this place a go. Its central Tanjong Pagar location is just the icing on the cake.
Famed Californian chef David Myers’ small plates bar and restaurant occupies a cozy spot in the Marina Bay Sands hotel lobby. The cocktail selection here includes both Singapore-inspired and classic concoctions. Unlike most places, food (proper ones) is served here till really late. We're talking 2am here, so expect many friends of the F&B industry to drop by even past midnight.
This modern space not only possesses a great bar menu but an equally stellar selection of food. Expect to be served sleek and sophisticated handcrafted tipples and dishes that are a perfect match with the venue’s refined, cosmopolitan design. Drinks often come with a local touch, and features spices and herbs from the bar’s own herb garden. Be sure to order some of the upscaled bar snacks that are the perfect antidote to your choice of poison.
Set beside Park Hotel Alexandra’s seventh floor infinity pool, Aqua Luna overlooks the scenic Southern Ridges and is a prime spot to catch the sunset. Take it all in with their signature Alexandra Sunset cocktail along with bar bites like battered cauliflower and “dirty” steak served with anchovy butter.
A hidden gem along Orchard Road, Bar Canary is Grand Park Orchard’s laid-back poolside bar that provides the perfect setting for a few tropical cocktails. Be sure to head indoors and check out neighboring Cantonese restaurant and bar Mitzo as well, where the concoctions and vibe gets a little more sophisticated.
Located on the fifth floor of the Mandarin Orchard, this modish bar's alfresco terrace affords a good view of the busy Orchard shopping belt below as regular DJs keep things upbeat with Top 40s and R&B. There’s a focus on single malt whiskeys here and an ongoing promotion happening five days a week. It’s almost always busy, so be sure to reserve a spot before heading down to avoid disappointment.
Head to the bar, peer up, and you'll notice blown glass sculptures by famed American glass artist Dale Chihuly (thus the bar's name) adorning the walls. This Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore lobby bar is best known for their signature coffee cocktails that give you a buzz in more ways than one. But feel free to go for the classics too—you're in good hands with their resident mixologists either way.
Located on the 33rd floor of The Westin, Cook & Brew's towering views of the Singapore skyline isn't even the best part about the place. The luxe bar has an extensive drink menu and boasts an enomatic system for wines by the glass. They also have a pretty kick-ass menu to order from, whether you're only peckish or extremely ravenous.
This ain’t your average hotel bar. Boasting an unparalleled selection of over 100 gins, Cin Cin is undoubtedly the place to be for gin lovers. With a wide selection of vermouths, bitters and tonics in the bartender’s arsenal, you’ll be spoiled for choice on mixers too. While avid drinkers will find lots to love, don’t mistake Cin Cin as a place for mixology snobs. It’s super accessible and they even run a Gin Buffet every Saturday.
With a winning combo of $6 glasses of wine and a charming European bistro vibe, Ginett—found at the ground level of Hotel G—is the place to be for casual, classy nights of French vines, pastas and steaks. Be sure to get their signature charcuterie board that’s supremely satisfying.
Head up to the 29th floor of Carlton City Hotel and you’ll find Graffiti Sky Bar, a place to start your weekends or spend all night with views of the city skyline as a backdrop. Choose from their selection of cocktails or take on a beer tower—it’s all up to you. Just be sure to make the most of their extended happy hours.
Yotel Singapore's bar-by-night is the place to be for inventive cocktails like the Kompliment—their signature drink made with butterfly pea flower-infused gin, hibiscus perfume and frothy egg white—that doesn't cross the $20 mark. Go ahead and have a satifying dinner while you're here.
The classy rooftop pool bar at the beautiful Fullerton Bay Hotel offers some of the best views of Marina Bay—not too high up and not too low. Lantern also has a couple of resident DJs keeping the atmosphere upbeat as you sink into a couch, sip on some Champagne and soak in the sights of Singapore often seen in postcards.
Lavo is the much-anticipated vibe-dining establishment from Tao Group (the ones also behind Marquee, Avenue and Koma), perched atop shiny Marina Bay Sands. Serving up Italian-American cuisine and craft cocktails, you can expect Las Vegas-style VIP treatment as you wine and dine in plush booths or at the panoramic outdoor terrace. Once the night’s no longer young, go with the flow and live it up on the dance floor.
This intimate extension of Madame Fan Cantonese restaurant, found within the JW Marriott compound at South Beach, stands on its own two feet with a craft cocktail menu that utilises techniques more often seen in a kitchen than a bar. We're not just talking infusions here, but full-on cooking and baking work. Come here for drinks with layered complexity, but also just to shoot the breeze with the affable bartenders.
Regent Singapore’s New York-inspired Manhattan bar needs little introduction. It has seen a meteoric rise in the cocktail scene to become one of the top—if not the top—bars here. With a stellar menu of barrel-aged spirits, craft cocktails and a service standard that's simply impeccable, it's little wonder why they are always packed to the brim.
If you're looking for giddying views of Singapore’s skyline to nurse a drink to, or just a classy space with a hip vibe, MO Bar at Mandarin Oriental is all of that. The menu is a thoughtful curation of drinks inspired by a trail across Southeast Asian countries, such as the Coconut Beaches of Fiji containing carbonated coconut cream; and the Mother of Dragons, with strawberry aloe vera, dragon fruit juice and cachaca.
Thirty-nine floors above ground sits Mr Stork, Andaz Singapore hotel’s rooftop bar. The circular space offers stunning views of the city; perfect to sit with a signature cocktail in hand, and watch the skies turn pastel-hued. What you’ll love most about the bar are the tepee huts, designed by famed architect Andre Fu.
Formerly established by Spanish cocktail maestro Javier de las Muelas, the lobby level bar of Four Seasons Singapore is one of the top spots in town for a handcrafted concoction. Come during Blue Hour, happening weekdays 5.30pm-7:30pm where each order of a drink entitles you to a spread of cold cuts, cheeses and other nibbles.
The dingier half of Shangri-La Hotel Singapore’s locomotive-themed Origin Grill & Bar is a much-welcomed addition to the property’s portfolio of F&B venues. There’s lots of character here, with the drinks menu heavily influenced by local districts like Chinatown and Marina Bay. Expect familiar ingredients such as gula melaka, jackfruit, curry leaf and more to be used in your drink.
One of the first successful speakeasies in town, The Other Room at Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel is still a favourite among cocktail enthusiasts both for its quality of drinks, and for how it manages to remain low-key despite being so popular. The great bar grub doesn't hurt too. Finding and accessing the secret entrance from the hotel lobby is part of the fun.
Housed within the low-slung courtyard of boutique hotel Ann Siang House is Singapore's first rose wine bar. Not blushing from being proud of the drink best served chilled on a summer’s day, Pandora houses the largest collection of rose wines here, all best had with British-style picnic grub like their Homemade Jagermeister Pate.
If you’re in the mood for day-drinking in a luxurious setting, Renku at Marina Bay Sands is the place to be for a wide variety of tea-infused cocktails (like the nectarous gin-based Rosella) and beers. Their own Renku Lager is a green tea-infused, craft Bavarian lager that’s light on the palate and a refreshing pairing for the food menu.
You’ll want to gather the pack for this. Carlton City Hotel's The Trading Floor has all the trappings to become your go-to spot for after-work perk-me-ups and that much needed casual chillout sesh. Come during Whisky Hour (it’s actually six hours), that happens daily from 5pm-11pm, where each pour of your favourite whisky label goes for only $14 nett. Just want an ice-cold beer instead? They’re going at $9.90 nett from 11am-11pm everyday.
On the 33rd floor of the Courtyard by Marriott Singapore Novena is this idyllic rooftop bar boasting some of the best unobstructed views in town. Lounge by the poolside outdoors or in air-conditioned comfort indoors as you sip on some of their signature cocktails—like the complex and yummy Granola Courtyardpolitan ($18)—along with some nibbles.
Upon arriving at this Stevens Road haunt, skip browsing the menu and order the Winestone Express Platter—a charcuterie board and glass of wine combo—designed for easy chill nights. Then once you’re settled in, dig into their tempting Mediterranean nosh and order more wines by the glass or bottle at stellar prices. Easily a place to keep going back to.
Awash in a futuristic glow, W Hotels’ signature lounge bar is about as stylish as they come. Unlike most bars around, the folks here pay tribute to Singaporean culture with a roster of top homegrown DJs and cocktails like bak kwa bourbon, chilli infused vodka, as well as the best nightcap around, the Last Call—a mezcal, chartreuse, maraschino and lime concoction that comes with a night’s stay at the hotel’s Wonderful Room (yes, you read that right).