Hidden bars in Singapore: Secret drinking dens and speakeasies that offer bespoke cocktails, rare spirits, and craft beers
Ignite the adventurous flame in you and go on a hunt for some of Singapore’s most unique drinking dens. From password-protected doors to underground lairs, we bring you a list of speakeasies
Secret bars? Sign us up. If you’re game for an adventure, speakeasy bars are the drinking dens for you! Coined in America during an alcohol ban, the term ‘speakeasy’ is the act of passing on information through word-of-mouth. In true secret bar fashion, we’ve hunted down 10 of Singapore’s hidden watering holes that are perfect for both alcohol aficionados and those lucky enough to discover them by accident.
1. Employees Only
You may have heard of a legendary speciality bar located in the Big Apple. Well, lace up your boots because Employees Only has landed on the Little Red Dot’s shores. Now snuggled into the Chinatown neighbourhood, the revered speakeasy retains its Art Deco interiors and uniformed staffs from its flagship. We have heard rave reviews about the food (especially the steak tartare with mixed greens), on top of the glorious spirits offered. Helmed by co-founder Igor Hadzismajlovic, Principal Bartender Steve Schneider and Executive Chef Julia Jaksic, this triple threat is only one of the reasons why Employees Only is fourth on the World’s Best list.
112 Amoy Street
Tel: +65 6221 7357
Mon to Fri: 5pm – 1am
Sat: 5pm – 2am
Sun: 6pm – 1am
For more information, visit Employees Only
2. 28 Hong Kong Street
With just a single lacquered ‘28’ above its closed doors, 28 Hong Kong Street holds the title of Singapore’s best bar. Located along a row of commercial shophouses, the storefront is guarded by a utilitarian doorway — mostly closed unless you know what lies beyond. Visited by the likes of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey, this bar is not only a luxury speakeasy, but also one that comes with tip-top service. This bar has an extensive cocktail menu as well as boutique spirits up for grabs. Lauded as Asia’s Best Bar in 2016, 28 Hong Kong Street is a bar that shouldn’t be missed.
28 Hong Kong St.
T: 8318 0328
For more information, visit 28 Hong Kong Street
Named the fifth best bar in Asia in the 2016 edition of the World’s 50 Best Bars, Manhattan is one grand hotel bar. Tucked away in the corner of Regent Hotel Singapore, the bar is reminiscent of the swanky 1920s — we can almost see Jay Gatsby sipping a Gin Rickey. The bar holds 106 American oak barrels to age their spirits, providing only top quality concoctions. Lounge on one of the many lush couches and fill your stomachs with the scrumptious snacks offered.
Level 2, Regent Singapore
1 Cuscaden Road
T: +65 6725 3377.
Open 5pm-1am daily
For more information, visit Manhattan
4. Smoke and Mirrors
Fancy a drink post-museum hopping? Check out Smoke & Mirrors, a rooftop bar perched at the top of the National Gallery. With a spectacular sunset view of the surrounding skyscrapers, this bar caters to those looking for a little respite, killing two birds with one stone. The menu sees several Asian classics, as well as drinks inspired by the many artworks in the gallery. Head Bartender Yugnes Susela is a mixology genius, helming his own signature collection of cocktails. What are you waiting for? Go get your art and alcohol fix today!
Smoke And Mirrors
St Andrew’s Rd
01 National Gallery Singapore
T: 9234 8122
Saturday and Sunday: 12pm-2am
For more information, visit Smoke & Mirrors
Tucked into the basement of The Club hotel, B28 is a luxury whisky bar serving up some serious live jazz gigs. A solid dark timber ceiling greets guests, alongside dim lighting that creates a sultry atmosphere fitting for an underground bar. Known for a laundry list of whiskies, B28 is home to over 100 single malt scotch whiskies as well as the best official distillery releases. The bar holds weekly Weekend Jazz sessions that star both local and international artists. A second B28 outlet in Seoul’s bustling Gangnam district features the same scenography of its flagship — a testament to the spread of speakeasy culture.
28 Ann Siang Rd,
T: 6808 2180
Friday and Saturday: 5pm-2am
For more information, visit B28
6. Shin Gi Tai
Having kept an extremely low profile, Shin Gi Tai is the ultimate intimate craft cocktail bar. Nestled in Haji Lane, this bar is hidden behind spray painted doors, guarded on weekends by a dee-jay. Influenced by Japanese culture — evident from its namesake — not only in its drinks but also food, Shin Gi Tai is perfect for those looking for an oriental punch in their drinks. With a clientele composed of mostly regulars, it is no doubt that this bar is one of Singapore’s best kept secrets.
Shin Gi Tai
9 Haji Lane
T: +65 9768 4132
For more information, visit Shin Gi Tai
7. Spiffy Dapper
By day, it’s a cozy coffee house named Dapper Coffee. By night, it’s an impressive bar — decorated with an array of liquor lining its walls. Originally situated at Boat Quay, Spiffy Dapper has upgraded to a space twice as big, but retains its quirkiness. Despite describing their location as ‘up a flight of dingy staircases’, this bar will not disappoint. Another location heralded for both its drinks and gastro delights, Spiffy Dapper unabashedly brings its own flavour. We recommend popping by to try both their coffee and cocktails.
73 Amoy St
T: +65 8722 4953
Saturdays and Sundays: 6pm-2am
For more information, visit Spiffy Dapper
8. Operation Dagger
Making it onto the World’s best list as well is Operation Dagger. If you thought 28 Hong Kong Street was hard to find, this bar is one step ahead. An overturned, crown shaped logo in a childlike scrawl is Operation Dagger’s “X marks the spot” along Ann Siang Hill. The bar offers a rotating Omakase menu of in-house fermented meads and distilled drinks. The interior reminds us of an apothecary house, with neon lights and raw concrete walls. The most striking of all are the thousand overhanging lightbulbs, proving that this bar is all about invention and innovation. If you’re someone who just stumbled upon this gem, Operation Dagger is poised for you to take your first stab into speakeasy wonderland.
7 Ann Siang Hill
T: +65 6438 4057
Tuesday-Saturday: 6pm till late
For more information, visit Operation Dagger
9. The Horse’s Mouth
Positioned down a rabbit’s hole at the edge of Orchard Road, The Horse’s Mouth is another Japanese inspired bar. Shielded by Uma Uma Ramen Restaurant, the bar is located down a flight of stars and decorated with Japanese inspired temple ceramic roof tiles. These are contrasted with bright floral displays, creating an eclectic atmosphere. The bar offers bespoke cocktails made from scratch for an added layer of surprise. Of course, being Japanese influenced means oishii bites that come in the form of melt in your mouth Wagyu Cubes. We surely could eat as many as a horse’s mouth would fit.
The Horse’s Mouth
#B1-39 Forum The Shopping Mall
583 Orchard Road
T: +65 62351088
For more information visit The Horse’s Mouth
10. The Library
Psst, what’s the password? The Library is Singapore’s first password-only bar, with weekly changes to the password. Either come ready to whisper the key word or dance and sing to gain admission. Upon entering, disappear into a world filled with mirrors and neon lights before stepping into the cozy 55-seater abode. Before you dismiss this whole charade as gimmicky, pause and give the cocktails a try. Drinks come in eccentric presentations — one comes in a small bathtub along with a rubber duck — highlighting The Library’s unique character. The password is revealed every Monday on Facebook and Instagram.
47 Keong Saik Rd
T: +65 6221 8338
For more information, visit The Library
Psssst, want to know a secret?
Don’t have the time to hunt down these hidden hotspots? You’re in luck; many of these bars will be participating in Singapore Cocktail Festival 2017. If you want a one-stop place where these amazing speakeasies are located, do make your way down to the Singapore Cocktail Festival taking place from March 16 to 21, 2017.