This is your 2023 edit to the best new bars and bar menus in Singapore.
For January, Capella turned their private dining concept into an oyster and champagne bar, while Lolla worked with Empirical Spirits to create culinary-led cocktails. At Shangri-La hotel, Origin Bar marks iconic moments in history with 18 new drinks.
Also looking back in time is Tippling Club, which replayed six decades of the greatest hits through 31 cocktails. A year after rebranding, Papa Doble launched an original cocktail menu that follows Ernest Hemingway’s footsteps around the world, and Lumo delved deep into colours and the emotions they elicit.
(Hero and feature images credit: Shangri-La Singapore)
Chef’s Table: Oyster and Champagne Bar
Capella has revamped its private dining space, Chef’s Table into the Oyster and Champagne Bar. With wicker furniture, copper pots, and a raw bar, it resembles a bistro in an expensive home.
The concept allows diners to try five kinds of oysters side by side. Of the three French Fine de Claire varieties, the balanced and mild Vertes separate the assertive David Hervé from the delicate Saint Kerber. Irish Kelly oysters are fatter, and Canada’s Fanny Bay has a quiet tang.
Russian, French, and Chinese caviar can also be sampled back to back. Chef’s Table supervisor Marie Pusung described them in terms of a film. “The Kaviari is like an action movie, while the Oscietra is a love story. The Sturia Vintage has a bit of both.”
Available by the glass, Roger Coulon Heri-Hodie Premier Cru is a non-vintage champagne that mixes aromas of marzipan and green apple with a sharp finish. Another popular option is the Jean-Louis Vergnon’s Eloquence, which offers notes of red apple and almond, plus a hint of umami. The latter is sumptous with items from the Chef’s Reserve Platter, especially rich Japanese sea urchin and intensely sweet Alaskan king crab legs.
1 The Knolls, Singapore 098297. Book here.
Last November, Lolla collaborated with Denmark-based Empirical Spirits on a cocktail pairing for their seasonal tasting menu, which was successful enough that the restaurant decided to list four of them as their signature cocktails.
Created by Empirical brand manager and Operation Dagger alumni Sasha Widjidessa, the drinks do not adhere to any classic cocktail template. Instead, ingredients are incorporated with culinary techniques such as sous vide. With a plum-based spirit, Peas Please recalls flavours of marzipan, yuzu, and basil, which sit nicely with salads and parmesan. You Say Tomato, I Say Tomato is built on a Mexican chilli spirit, and its smokiness cuts through buttery dishes like Lolla’s signature sea urchin pudding.
Made with the same chilli spirit, Lolla Luau is reminiscent of charred pineapple. Drunk alongside a river crab cooked in coconut milk and garnished with kaffir lime leaf, the combination is similar to tom yum soup. The Last Straw-Berry has a fruity, bubblegum-like aroma, but grows serious thanks to an oily texture, and aromas of apple zest and vanilla.
22 Ann Siang Road, Singapore 069702. Book here.
Modern European restaurant Lumo‘s latest cocktail menu took cues from colours that evoke certain emotions. Part of the blush red ruga hue, Manakin is a spicy and smoky number with mezcal, tequila, and bird’s eye chilli, while Serenity under the azure-leaning blua inspires calm through chamomile-infused Chita whisky, chamomile tea, and thyme-infused honey. All the cocktails are built with sustainability in mind, with most ingredients used entirely to show “respect and appreciation” for them, said head bartender Aaron Lancelot.
50 South Bridge Road, Singapore 058682. Book here.
Nostalgia is always nice in hindsight – can we go back to 2022 and seven percent GST? – and Origin Bar at Shangri-La hotel doubles down on this sentiment with 18 new drinks inspired by time travel. From 1860, the minty and fruity Chicle celebrates the creation of chewing gum, and Atomico marks the invention of the nuclear bomb in 1942 by fusing rum with yuzu, sake, and wasabi. Drinkers can also go back to the very beginning of life with Dark Matter, which combines tequila, amaro, chocolate, and smoke into a complex and intense sip.
22 Orange Grove Road, Singapore 258350. Book here.
Papa Doble is in a strange place. The bar went from being The Old Man Singapore to its current moniker early last year, kept its former offerings, got on Asia’s 50 Best Bars list under its new name, refreshed its entire team, and launched a new cocktail menu over Christmas 2022. Even founder Andrew Yap admits it. “Even till this day, Papa Doble remains in a state of partial opening.”
The bar still pays tribute to Ernest Hemingway, this time by retracing the literary giant’s journey through eight signature cocktails. A visit to Singapore is represented by a gin drink with DOM Benedictine, clarified pineapple, and pomegranate coulis, while Thailand is symbolised by chamomile-infused single estate vodka, clarified starfruit, torched ginger-infused honey, and fleur de sel. Other stops include Africa, France, Bahamas, and Italy, with vastly different ingredients from mandarin dijon foam to mascarpone gelato cream.
55 Keong Saik Road, #01-04, Singapore 089158. Book here.
Playing all the greatest hits from the 40s to the 90s is Tippling Club, which has created a jukebox of cocktails based music from the past six decades. Laid down by head bartender Arathorn Grey, the 31 drinks are named after an artist and their song, with ingredients telling their stories. Learnin’ The Blues by Frank Sinatra features the crooner’s favourite spirit, Jack Daniel’s, as well as amontillado sherry and amaro, of of which are barrel aged in an ex-ruby port cask. There’s also Funky Monks by Red Hot Chili Peppers, which highlights punchy agricole rhum with ginger and togarashi lime garnish.
38 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088461. Book here.