The hype: After several tap takeovers in late 2017 followed by a pop-up eatery at Ann Siang House in the first half of 2018, the guys behind Young Master Brewery—a pioneer in Hong Kong’s craft beer scene—have now opened The Guild, a resto bar that marks the brewery’s long-awaited official foothold in Singapore.
The vibe: They’ve taken over the shophouse spaces formerly occupied by The Library and The Study on Keong Saik Road and transformed it into a dimly lit, warm and inviting place fit for casual drinks and bites as well as full-on dinners. A circular bar with 20 taps (19 for craft beers and one for their Guildhouse G&T) sit impressively in the central area that’s ringed by Peranakan-tiled floors, lending color to a space otherwise dominated by dark woods.
The food: Young Master may be a great purveyor of good drink, but when it comes to food, they’ve enlisted the help of Italian-American Executive Chef Vincent Lauria. Before coming to Singapore, he had spent many years as a chef in Hong Kong, and you can tell from the dishes at The Guild that he’s very comfortable experimenting with more exotic ingredients and local produce.
In line with The Guild’s emphasis on sourcing from small, independent producers, many of the ingredients come from local farms the likes of Sea Farmers@Ubin, Jurong Frog Farm and Quan Fa Organic Farm. Lauria makes use of them to create homemade, artisanal dishes like the novel and nicely charred Marrow Bruschetta ($22), where frog hashima is used instead of actual marrow from bone.
Most items on the menu are meant for sharing, so come with a couple of your best buds and make sure to get the fried frog legs ($14) and black vinegar fries ($8) to start; they make for great bar grub as well. If you’re hungry for mains, you’re in good hands because Lauria is consistently top notch whether you’re craving for meat, seafood or carbs. Still, what stood out for us are the uber savory Umamiwurst ($22)—shitake pork sausage, homemade sauerkraut, XO mustard—and the Chicken Noodle Soup ($20)—handmade noodles, scallion, poached egg—that’re both hella comforting.
Other crowd favorites are the Mac N’ Cheese ($18) that’s extra gooey thanks to the use of cured egg yolks, and the claw-on Ham Dan Fried Chicken ($25) served with kosher dill aioli and homemade hot sauce. There’s only one dessert on the menu, a buah keluak ice-cream (that’s low in sweetness, earthy and creamy; $7), because at The Guild, you should just drink more instead of having them sweet treats.
The drinks: Young Master’s pedigree as both craft beer brewer and tastemaker is allowed to shine bright here. On the drinks list are a solid selection of their own brews that’s cold chain delivered here from Hong Kong, like the sessionable and refreshing Another One ($8 for 200ml), the salty Cha Chaan Teng Gose ($8 for 200ml) and the malt-forward Rye on Wood ($9 for 200ml). They’ve got some of their seasonal beers too. Try the smoky and tart Ich Bin Ein Lichtenhainer ($9 for 200ml).
While you should definitely come for the Young Master labels, there’s craft beers from Brewlander, Mikkeller, Tool and other brands too, as well as a good selection of highballs, cocktails and barrel aged concoctions, not forgetting the G&T ($14) they have on tap. An all-natural wine list rounds of the drinks menu nicely.
More interestingly, there are American-style boilermakers on the menu too. Essentially a shot of whisky and a beer chaser paired together, the combination is perfect for those looking to get inebriated fast. The Rye on Rye ($22) pairs the Rye on Wood with a shot of Michter’s Rye for a truly malty experience, while the Brewers Penicillin ($21) pairs the Cha Chaan Teng Gose with a Laphroaig 10 Year Old for a nice balance of saline and peat. Whatever you do, don’t have the boilermakers as you would a soju or jager bomb.
Why you’ll be back: We’ve been waiting for a venue such as The Guild to open its doors. It not only stands out from other craft beer places by being brewers themselves, but also for their breadth of quality libations and the attention to produce in the food they prepare.