Singapore is renowned for food, fashion and family-friendly fun, yet few visitors to this island city-state realise it is also an increasingly attractive place to sit back and unwind with a drink. Their loss is the discerning bar hoppers’ gain because The Lion City boasts more than its fair share of welcoming watering holes and refreshing thirst quenchers, with Singapore’s chic city streets hiding a surprisingly diverse array of cosmopolitan cocktail bars and heaving pubs and clubs.
So if you fancy a tipple under the glittering city lights of one of Southeast Asia’s most intriguing destinations, then sit back and enjoy our guide on how to drink like a local in Singapore.
When the sun slinks down on a hard day of shopping, what better way to relax than with a cocktail in hand and a view of the Singapore city skyline? The Singapore Sling is undeniably passé; these days chic Singaporeans prefer a rather more adroit alcoholic experience. From the smooth sophistication of the B28 bar, to the joyful creations on offer at The Cufflink Club and the edgy vibe of The Tippling Club, there are plenty of hip places to enjoy outstanding cocktails in a city with an increasingly mature outlook on alcohol.
Bars with a view
Perhaps the only thing better than enjoying a sumptuous cocktail, is enjoying a cocktail with a sumptuous view. That’s easily achievable in a city now boasting some of the best rooftop bars anywhere in the world, with the al-fresco Altitude soaring a record 282 metres above sea level. If that doesn’t offer breathtaking-enough views, then the jaw-dropping sight of Singapore’s city skyline flickering alight at dusk surely will. One of the best places to view this illuminating spectacle is Ku De Ta at Marina Bay Sands, which affords expansive views over the glittering city skyline. Other renowned rooftop bars include the intimate Breeze at The Scarlet Hotel, the Halo Rooftop Lounge and the dizzying Indochine.
Time for some clubbing
Where once a trip to nearby Thailand was necessary for those eager to let their hair down, Singapore is rapidly becoming Southeast Asia’s resident party town. The catalyst is undoubtedly Zouk – the hippest of hip nightclubs which has welcomed global superstars like Carl Cox and David Guetta to its turntables since 1991. Beach parties are not an uncommon sight on the sands of Sentosa and the annual ZoukOut now attracts more than 30,000 revellers each year, while the Tanjong Beach Club hosts a ‘Full Moon party’ just as debauched as anything held in Thailand.
Save some cash
Singapore’s heavy sin taxes make it a notoriously expensive place to drink. They’ve helped contribute to The Lion City’s somewhat staid and stuffy reputation – but even allowing for the high prices, it’s still possible to enjoy a night out on the cheap. That’s because many of Singapore’s most popular clubs and bars offer significant Happy Hour discounts, with drinks substantially cheaper on certain nights of the week. The likes of Brewerkz, Café Iguana, the ever-popular Harry’s Bar and the resplendent New Asia Bar all offer heavily-discounted deals, but don’t be afraid to search around because they’re just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Singapore’s Happy Hour deals.
The Long Bar at Raffles
No guide to drinking in Singapore would be complete without at least a cursory mention of the city’s most famous establishment, the Raffles Hotel. Opened as a colonial-style hotel in 1887, the sprawling lodgings are perhaps best known as the place where the Singapore Sling cocktail was invented. An often sickly-sweet concoction containing gin, cherry brandy, pineapple and lime juice and grenadine, the Singapore Sling may not be the world’s most exotic drink, but sipping luxuriantly on this lurid pink cocktail in the famous Long Bar is a rite of passage for visitors to The Lion City.