Korean BBQ and fried chicken joints are aplenty here, famed for leaving you smelling as deliciously smoky as the food you just ate. That’s why we’d rather be heading to Korean bars in Singapore, that offer all the yummy Korean nosh we love, but without the aromas sticking to us after we leave. Visit these joints with your crew and soju bomb your night away.
Shhh, this all-time favourite in Singapore’s unofficial little Korea along Tanjong Pagar Road has friendly oppas (sometimes) serving up massive Beeritas ($22) and Sojuritas ($25), best enjoyed with their Korean-Mexican bar grub. It’s by the same guys behind neighbouring Chicken Up, so you know they know what they’re doing. Toy with bar games like pop-up pirate to get the night started. Jjan!
An early adopter in the craft makgeolli scene here, Joo is best known for their homemade makgeolli served on tap. They’re the only ones doing this in Singapore, and currently serves up 16 unique rice wines in carafes, with flavours ranging from original ($16-$28) to yakult to white pear. Their food is really good too, especially the Kimchi Mac & Cheese ($16), that’s just to die for.
Well-known for their fried chicken (the perfect accompaniment to alcohol), Kko Kko Na Ra is the place to go to whether you’re in the mood for drinks and snacks, or a full-on dinner with booze. Many come for their soju cocktails ($25-$35), but we especially enjoy their special selection of Korean liquors like the Baek Seju ($25; a sweet herb rice wine), or the premium soju known as Hwayo ($35) that tastes leaps better than your typical ones.
Decked year-long in whimsical, Springtime decor and serving up Korean craft beers topped with creamy foam for just $11 a pint, this fun and friendly place is where you go to with a big group and get loud. They have flavoured beers, frozen beers and even somaek, for those looking to get sloshed fast. Complimentary chips and tarot card reading are just icing on the cake.
Inspired by cosmopolitan cities like New York (thus the name), this Korean-Western fusion chain is the easy go-to place for drinks, alongside grub that pairs perfectly with said drinks. From Cass beer-infused slushies to watermelon sojus ($22.90) served in a halved watermelon bowl, expect a fun and fuss-free experience whether you’re headed to their 313@Somerset, Vivocity or Westgate outlets.
Another Korean-Mexican bar (they just go so well together), this time at South Beach. You’ll be awed by their great selection of beer-cider Vatos’ Ritas ($27-$28), all done using soju instead of tequila. But be sure to try the Makgeolita ($26), where makgeolli meets tequila in a deceptively strong drink. We can only advise that you line your stomach with their Kimchi Carnitas Fries ($16) first.
Found just a few doors down from the famed Wangdaebak restaurant, this street-style space transports you to the glory days of Korea, when pojangmacha stalls were ubiquitous. Feel all your workday worries flit away as you drown them in somaek towers ($53), makgeolli bottles ($19-$23) and jugs of soju cocktails ($29-$43). Complete your pocha experience with their massive food menu and smoke-free BBQ.