Sweet or dry, bottles of sake we can’t deny

No longer confined to Japanese fine-dining restaurants and izakayas (though they’re still a reliable choice), finding a good sake bar in Singapore has never been easier, thanks to several intrepid locals no less. Whether you’re looking to enjoy only the finest Junmai Daiginjo or rough it out with bottles of Futsu-shu, these places got you covered.
 

BAM!


Sample the unusual pairing of sake and Spanish cuisine at BAM!. This Spanish-Japanese restaurant has close to 100 sake labels and of course, a sake sommelier on hand to recommend you the right pairing for your meal. On offer are premium sake offerings from many of Japan’s renowned breweries. Definitely come for the food as well.
 

Bar Ippudo


This 12-seater sake gastrobar offshoot of the famous noodle chain carries around 70 bottles of sake from over 20 sake breweries all over Japan, all displayed neatly in chillers for your browsing pleasure. The space doubles as a bottle shop too. Pair your sake with otsumami and bar bites, or enjoy the Hakata-style ramen the brand is truly known for.
 

Big Sake Bar


This casual izakaya has all your favorite sashimi, sushi and grilled items, and is located just off the city center on Beach Road. It’s an easy haunt, with 28 different types of sake available with a style that’s bound to suit your palate. Order by the bottle (from 300ml-1.8L ones), but if you’re not picky, 150ml pours of ‘sake of the month’ go for $18. Go big or go home, we say.
 

Boruto


This modern Japanese tapas and sake bar is sleek and stylish, offering over 80 sake labels, many of them brought in exclusively for Boruto. Be sure to check out the walk-in sake vault (refurbished from an actual bank vault) up on the second floor, where you can peruse premium labels that are priced up to $2,200 a bottle.
 

Donpachi


Formerly known as Dosukoi (which has moved next door to Orchard Plaza), Donpachi is your reward for venturing into the basement of Cuppage Plaza. With the attention to detail and shelves of 1.8L sake bottles, it’s no exaggeration to say that it’s as close as you can get to a Tokyo izakaya without boarding a plane. The mishmash of different sake cups used is a nice touch too.
 

Hibiki


For a reliable sake place in the East, Hibiki at Paya Lebar Quarter's scenic Parkside won't let you down. Order your choice of sake by the bottle, carafe or glass, then pair them with appropriate grub like grilled sticks of cheese, fried squid and pork belly (dipped in their umami-laden homemade sauce), or just slurp down a hot bowl of udon on a cold day. The alfresco area is perfect for shooting the breeze with your buddies, drink in hand.
 

Kabuke


Bringing together quality sake, modern Japanese cuisine and the artistry of kabuki theater, Kabuke has something to offer whether you’re a sake newbie or aficionado. Their in-depth but easy-to-follow menu and tasting flights will give you a brisk education on sake styles, grades and regions. Have any questions? Just ask sake sommelier Keiji Heng.
 

Kakure (Ki-Sho)


Found on the second level of contemporary Japanese restaurant Ki-Sho is this little known, classy sake den. Boasting over 70 labels from all over Japan, come to Kakure if you’re looking more to appreciate than to wantonly imbibe. Still, no one’s gonna stop you from busting open a 1.8L Dassai 23. For nibbles, expect only the elegant and sublime.
 

MoboMoga


Low-key, quaint and hidden away from the world, MoboMoga (found through a small wooden door at the back of UE Square in River Valley) is probably the most fun sake bar around, offering izakaya dishes (including a really comforting oden), rare sake and entertainment in good measure. Stick around late into the night for a disco surprise.
 

Orihara Shoten


A longtime Robertson Quay stalwart (2019 marked their 10th anniversary), Orihara is the first name that comes to mind for most people when they think of sake bars. Hosting pairing dinners, masterclasses and tastings, they remain one of the great gateways to the drink in Singapore. Looking to buy bottles home? Just head straight to the back of the shop and pick one from the fridge, then ask for the retail price.
 

Tomo Izakaya


One of the longest running izakayas around, Tomo Izakaya at the foot of Read Bridge at Clarke Quay is spacious, lively and offers one of the broadest menus you’ll find in a similar establishment. Sit by the river, indoors on tatami chairs, or at regular tables—your choice. The many food and drink promos is just icing on the cake.