Bars in Singapore
Singapore – what a city! There is plenty of nightlife to choose from – here are some of the bars in Singapore I visited.
Situated on the 57th floor of the Marina Bay Sands lies the beautiful CÉ LA VI , one of the best rooftop bars in Singapore. You enter from the Marina Bay Sands tower 3 entrance and pay $23, which you can redeem against food or drink. This is absolutely worth it given the cost of the observation deck on the 56th floor is $26 (although you do get 5 digital photo files and 2 ‘Magic Shots’ (animated/interactive short video) included in the price of the observation deck). Note that the entrance fee for CÉ LA VI does not give you access to the observation deck (you don’t need it as the views are spectacular) or the infinity pool which is for hotel guests only.
When we visited there were two cocktails available for $22 (inclusive of taxes and service charge) – the infamous Singapore Sling and the Negroni on Tap. The other cocktails (both signature and favourites) were only one dollar more at $23 but subject to 10% service charge and tax. Non alcoholic drinks are priced between $8-12 and include juices and soft drinks.
We had the following cocktails (all $23):
- Botanist Sunset – Botanist gin, Fever Tree aromatic tonic and citrus
- Aperol Spritz – Aperol, Martini prosecco and club soda
- Yellowbird – Tanqueray London gin, cloudy apple juice, fresh lemon juice, lemongrass syrup, egg white and lychee.
- Berry Bellini – Martini prosecco and fresh berry mix
You can pre-book certain areas of the bar, but some are subject to a $50 minimum spend per person. However, there is plenty of space on stools and standing perched on tables to take in the views from high above. It really felt quite special being so high up taking in the expansive Singapore skyline and the water on the south side was so turquoise!
The two spritzes were light and refreshing but the Yellowbird cocktail was our favourite with its lemon-y undertones. The light bites are priced between $16-28 and include Balinese chicken stay, tamarind glazed lamb skewers and crispy shrimp. There are also larger plates ranging from $24-32 including beef mini burgers and chicken katsu sando.
The views, cocktails and service were great. Visiting CÉ LA VI rooftop bar in Singapore is a must on your to do list!! I would love to return in the evening with the lights glistening over the city and party the night away until 2am.
Level33 is situated on the 33rd floor of the Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower (see photo below) and is interestingly the highest urban microbrewery in the world!
As you enter, you can see the bronze tanks brewing (or ready to brew) the beer. A unique feature of Level33 is the ‘floating’ beer taps from the celling which hover above the bar, ready to use. These taps are not available pre-built so had to be custom made solely for Level33!
Level33 is split into three different spaces: The Level33 dining room, Level33 social and the Terrace. We made ourselves comfortable on the Terrace with the BEST views over Marina Bay and some of Singapore’s most iconic landmarks including the Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands and the Esplanade. It was seriously breathtaking. Although it was windy, it felt perfectly safe (just don’t let your dress blow up like mine did!) and the sun was a manageable temperature. Even if you dine inside, make sure you don’t miss a quick trip outside for the views.
Beer Paddle Time!
Given Level33 brews its own beer, we obviously had to give the Beer Tasting Paddle a try ($23.50) which included five 0.1 litre tasters of Level33 craft brews. We had:
- 33.1: Blond Lager
- 33.15: Indian Pale Ale
- 33.3: Stout
- 33.9 Wheat Beer
- Seasonal Oak Buck Beer
It was a great way to test out a few and our favorites were the Blond Lager and the Buck Beer.
If you just want one lager, until 8pm a 0.5litre is only $14.50 (after it is $17.50). We also sipped on signature beer cocktail, a Blond Mojito crafted with 33.1 Blond Lager, rum, fresh strawberries and mint ($23).
Food wise, we tucked into a sharing platter consisting of olives, spent grain mantous & cod roe dip, sweet potato fries and southern fried chicken ($46). Other options from their ‘beer dining’ menu include Level33 lamb ribs, halloumi sizzler and brewery burger. We also noticed that Level33 offered reasonably priced executive set lunch for $42 which included a buffet spread from the raw bar as an entrée and a choice of main course including red pesto risotto, yellow fin tuna and fish and chips.
Long Bar at Raffles Hotel is an iconic institute in Singapore that has been serving Singapore Slings for over 100 years. It recently moved position from the Raffles Hotel Arcade and was restored and reopened in August 2018 with a gorgeous earthy décor reflecting the 1920s and the age of the tropical plantation with deep, rich colors and punkah wallah ceiling fans.
The main recipe for the Singapore Sling (regarded as the national cocktail of Singapore) remains largely unchanged from when it was first created in 1915. The refreshed cocktail now features London style Widges Gin, that has been created especially for Long Bar. This is combined with fresh pineapple juice, lime juice, Curacao, Spicy Plantation Bitters, Grenadine and Luxardo Cherry Sangue Morlacco (cherry liqueur) and Maraschino Cherries. The ingredients are all natural and many of them specially crafted for Long Bar and its infamous Singapore Sling.
I love the story behind the creation of the Singapore Sling and its pink colour. In the early 1900s, many gentleman and plantation owners would congregate at the Long Bar. Back then, etiquette meant that ladies could not consume alcohol in public, so their choice of beverage was limited to tea and fruit juices. Long Bar’s Hainanese bartender, Ngiam Tong Boon, decided to create the Singapore Sling and masked it with pink colouring so no one would suspect the ladies were drinking!
After tasting the original Singapore Sling ($35) which was hands down the best Singapore SIing I had during my trip, we tried the Raffles 1915 Gin Sling, one of Long Bar’s other creations. This is the ancestry of the Singapore Sling featuring Raffles 1915 Gin ($29), which was specially handcrafted to mark the 100th anniversary! Just like the original, this cocktail was incredibly crafted. A non-alcoholic version of the Singapore Sling is also available ($16).
Accompanying your cocktails is a large basket of peanuts and you are encouraged to throw the shells on the floor. This was certainly a surprise in such a grand establishment but has been a tradition for many years!
Although the cocktails are expensive, can you really come to the city and not visit this iconic bar in Singapore?! By the way, it is perfectly acceptable to arrive at 11am on the dot (or before) as queues start as soon as the bar is open!
Operation Dagger has been voted one of the best bars in the world and I can see why. Its creativity and innovation deserve recognition. The bar itself is discrete with only a black door and small sign identifying itself. However, it is not trying to be a ‘hidden bar’ (no special knock on the door or password) nor is it trying to be a speakeasy. While it is mainly minimalist, it does have an eye-catching feature above the bar – its 10,000 light bulbs!
It just wants to serve great cocktails with less prejudice over the alcoholic spirits within them. Instead it focuses on ingredients and flavours and allows the customer to experiment with guidance.
You start with a palate cleanser. We had pineapple fermented with spice which was so refreshing. Also great that this creation uses all the pineapple that might otherwise be wasted.
The cocktail menu is split between ‘Dangerous Drinking Water’ (all $25) and ‘Hooch’ (all $22). With some assistance from Thomas, we chose the following:
- E Kho Qua: Bitter melon, spinach, cane, whey
- So, It Wasn’t Coffee: so it wasn’t coffee!
- Gomashio: Toasted sesame, cucumber, ginger
- Hot + Cold: pineapple, lavender, white chocolate, coconut
- Cheese, No Egg: Cheddar + Cream, honey, smoke
You can now see how innovative the menu is and that you do not know what spirit you will be drinking when you order!
My favourite was the hot + cold which is a two layered cocktail with a warm layer of foam which is to be drunk with the colder cocktail.
The flavours of the Cheese, No Egg were the most evocative with the creamy taste being balanced by the honey and spices and the smokiness. This was also the most theatrical cocktail with the liquor being smoked first and then served in a glass dome with a lid allowing the smoke to escape.
Accompanying our cocktails, we had some nibbles. First, Operation Dagger’s version of French fries: Dehydrated French beans fried with garlic, black salt and a bit of sugar ($8). Very mourish. We loved the Chilli + Meat with 6-hour slow cooked beef, kidney beans cacoa nibs served with toasted bread sourdough caramelized lime. Such a perfect level of spice with added texture and flavour from the cacoa nibs.
Operation Dagger offers a unique experience at its bar in Singapore and is well worth a visit.
No 5 Emerald Street is situated just off of Orchard Road and has been established since 1991! Open until 2am Sunday – Wednesday and 3am Thursday – Saturday with seating inside and outside, it had a lively atmosphere when we visited. Oh, and they also follow the tradition of throwing peanuts shells on the floor!
They offer 16 different 2-4-1 martinis ($20) from 9pm-1am every day (must be the same one). We loved the passion fruitini but also loved the sound of the peachy surprise and the apple fruitini!
Alley Bar is nestled between two heritage Peranakan shophouses along Emerald Hill and offers a relaxed and intimate space for a few drinks. The main bar is striking (and 15m long!) with tall ceilings and plush chairs and seating. All cocktails are priced at $20 and the list is kept concise and focused. Visit between 5-8pm and you can get 2-4-1 on happy hour! We loved the Kaya King Mai Tai which was sweet and zesty!
Le Noir is situated on the bustling Clarke Quay and was packed out with live music when we visited. The main attraction to this bar was the amazing and lively band that were playing outside as we walked past.
While there is seating indoors, the tables outside are where the atmosphere is, especially when there is live music. We managed to nab stools by the bar which was a prime position for the band. The drinks are around $20 for beer, spirits and cocktails. The Singapore Sling ($22) was average, but the atmosphere made up for it!
Crazy Elephant is a cute pub on Clarke Quay with live rock and roll, rhythm ‘n’ blues music 7 nights a week. On busier nights expect to be squashed in but you can seek reprieve outside by the quay if you need space! It has a relaxed vibe and the live music is a real thumbs up!
Other bars that we were recommended but did not have time to visit are:
- Native Cocktail Bar near Marina Bay Sands
- Atlas Bar (8th best bar in the world apparently!)
- Smoke and Mirrors (on the top of the National Gallery)
East London Girl: Bars in Singapore