There are new and exciting bars, clubs and restaurants opening all the time in Singapore and while the ultra-modern glass and steel über-bars have their place in the Garden City, sometimes we want a place to eat and drink where the vibes are a lot more relaxed and chilled out. Here’s our guide to Singapore’s Most Chilled Watering Holes.
The Green Door
In the über-cool Dempsey Hill area is The Green Door, a ‘before and after dinner’ bar ‘where you can enjoy a garden atmosphere no matter where you choose to hang out’ – the perfect representation of the Garden City.
The cocktail menu uses fresh fruit and herbs picked straight out the garden and there’s an excellent list of craft and bottled beers, whiskeys, wines and cigars. The food is a carnivore’s dream menu and every Sunday from 1pm – 11pm, kids and pets are welcome for a happy, garden-inspired BBQ.
Sitting pretty inside the lush green compound of the Goodman Arts Centre, a stone’s throw from the National Stadium, the 120-seat Café Melba is a fusion of influences from Melbourne and Asia – Melb-A – and is presented as a casual, all-day dining experience with occasional live music with a perfect chill-out vibe going on.
Starting with breakfast (served all day!), you can enjoy pasta dishes, sandwiches and burgers, a great pizza and calzone menu and a choice of Aussie and Asian-inspired mains. The drinks menu is full of gourmet teas and coffees with the requisite cocktails and mocktails, wines, beers and soft drinks. They even put on a top-notch weekend roast!
The Trenchard Arms
On East Coast Road is the Trenchard Arms, an unashamedly British gastropub where you can sit and relax and reminisce about Blighty. The craft beers and ales including Old Speckled Hen and Speights are full of personality and there’s a decent selection of bottled beers and ciders but it’s the food and ambiance that people flock here for.
Real British pub grub permeates the menu including sausage and mash, fish and chips, proper pies, a bacon sandwich with HP Sauce and a Ploughman’s with an authentic Melton Mowbray pork pie are the highlights but there’s lots to choose from. Save room for a sticky toffee crumble with vanilla ice cream or rhubarb crumble for a true taste of England!
If you’re looking for an authentic Parisian bistro where you can sit outside and watch the Club Street crowds saunter by with a glass of Merlot and a Croque Monsieur, Ô Batignolles on Gemmill Lane is the place you’re looking for. It’s full of French expats, the after work crowd and Singapore’s millennials and there’s lots of good reasons why it’s packed every night.
Unsurprisingly, the (predominantly French) wine list is excellent and there a good choice of beers, spirits and cocktails. The food is also incredibly French and there are sharing plates of ‘fromage et charcuterie’ as well as the traditional Parisian bistro classics. In their own words ‘Ô Batignolles reproduces exactly the soothing feeling of a nice Parisian bistro, where you can relax and enjoy a nice meal or drink any time of the day’.
From the people that brought you Jigger & Pony and winner of the Best New Cocktail Bar at the 2016 Bar Awards, Gibson on Amoy Street was created to ‘elevate the cocktail-lovers’ bar experience to unexpected territory’ and with a cocktail list drawing inspiration from people, places and time instead of ingredients, they are as innovative as they are delicious.
The seafood-inspired menu is rather narrow but there’s plenty to inspire a seafood platter, sea urchin, lobster rolls and oyster sliders but if you’re looking for a chilled out bar complete with stained glass windows, antique ceilings and a relaxed vibe where you can eat, drink and chat in peace, Gibson is the place.
Bitters & Love
After two and a half years on North Canal Road, Bitters & Love moved to Telok Ayer Street in May 2015 and the ‘too cool for school’ hipster joint continues to make their name as one of the most innovative cocktail bars in Singapore. It’s pretty small so try and book before you arrive but for bespoke cocktails that delight the senses, Bitters & Love is all you need.
The cocktail prep is pure theatre and uniquely, each drink is prepared in consultation with the customer and if you get hungry, you won’t be disappointed. Wagyu beef features heavily, and a speciality is ‘Love Chips’, hand-cut fries with chipotle mayo and a half-dozen Canadian oysters. Wash that down with a rum-based concoction, chat with friends and relax at one of Singapore’s most chilled watering holes.
The Handle Bar
Opened in 1999 by ‘two numbskull bikers’, the Handle Bar is an authentic biker bar but you won’t find gangs of Hell’s Angels causing mayhem! You’re much more likely to see weekend Harley-riding bankers from the CBD. The Handle Bar is all the way out in the northeastern corner of the island but when you find it you’ll be glad you did.
Classic biker bar bare metal, bike stuff all over the walls and a menu filled with chicken, burgers, seafood, steaks, pork chops and ribs as well as their famous chicken wings and plenty of cold beer and whiskey. With views of the Straits of Johor and out into Malaysia, this is a hard to find bar that you absolutely must find!
Spanish for ‘what’s happening’, Que Pasa is arguably Singapore’s most authentic Spanish bar, certainly one of the originals. On Emerald Hill Road right behind Orchard Road in a 100-year old Peranakan shophouse, the dusty rustic bar with its leather-topped stools and dark wood transport you to the quaint local delis in the hills above Barcelona.
Tapas classics include marinated olives, cheeses and mushrooms, meatballs and super-thin crust pizzas as well as their speciality, prawn paste chicken wings and the excellent wine list is complemented with top quality Iberian sherries and ports. It gets busy so book early but Que Pasa is definitely one of Singapore’s most chilled watering holes.