Remember when rooftop bars were all the rage? We were all proudly parading ourselves around the tops of buildings for the whole world to see, clinking glasses and marvelling at the views. Well, things have changed. All of a sudden, we prefer our poison served underground and secret doors, passwords and discreet entry ways are hip. At a time where everything is shared online, it somehow feels more special and personal to visit a hidden bar or speakeasy. Singapore is no stranger to cool bars, so it makes sense there’s an abundance of hidden spots waiting to be discovered and for savvy travellers who love a good tipple, it truly is a playground. To help you find a cosy place to sit and sip on your trip to Singapore, here are a few of Singapore‘s best hidden bars and speakesies. Don’t tell them I sent you.
Each of these spots serve fantastic drinks, so I won’t harp on about them too much. But, just bear in mind, if you’re travelling on a budget, you may need to pick and choose your spots. Singapore isn’t known for its cheap booze and cocktail in particular tend to be quite pricey so be sure to save up your pocket-money and get ready to blow the bank wide open for all of these places.
1. 28 Hong Kong Street
It would be very easy to walk right past 28 Hong Kong Street and not know it was a bar. If you did notice it, you would be forgiven for thinking it was closed based on the big, thick padlock hanging from the front door. But, open that door and you’ll step into a dark entry way guarded by velvet curtains… peel those back and you’ll enter a world of cool music and even cooler cocktails.
2. Operation Dagger
Finding Operation Dagger isn’t exactly straight forward but, once you do, you’ll be very happy you did! Make your way to Chinatown and onward to Ann Siang Hill Road. Once you arrive at Oxwell & Co, you want to head behind the bar and keep your eyes out for a rather uninviting stairwell marked simply with an upside down crown intersecting with a rectangle. This is your spot! If you need a reference image, peep the logo on Operation Dagger’s website before you head off on your search. The cocktails here are innovative and unlike anything else you’ve tried, crafted from a wide variety of mystery bottles.
3. Horse’s Mouth
If you love a good treasure hunt, you’ll love tracking down Horse’s Mouth. Head to 583 Orchard Road, where you’ll find Forum the Shopping Mall. From there, you want to make your way to Uma Uma Ramen and, next to the cashier, wander up the flight of stairs. Not only does the bar serve outstanding sake and a great range of cocktails, there’s also a fantastic Japanese food menu to choose from too, including awesome ramen.
4. Junior The Pocket Bar
Given it only seats 10 at one time, Junior The Pocket Bar is quite sought after so you may only want to take your trusted travel companion. To get there, head to 43 Tanjong Pagar Road (a spot named Crackerjack, until it closed) and look for a white door with an overhead lamp in the back alley. Head through two sets of doors and you’ll find yourself at Junior! With a rotating menu that carries through to the bars general vibe, it’ll be a place you can visit time and time again on your visits to Singapore.
5. Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall
In trendy Haji Lane Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall takes up residence in its brand new setting! This spot was an epic hidden bar in Boat Quay but has relocated since the pandemic hit. With that in mind, I wanted to keep it on this list as it’s a fantastic local spot that could still use our love and support! What’s so cool about this spot is it takes influence from Singapore’s iconic drink stalls found at Hawker Centres dotted around the island. You’ll find cocktails inspired by fan favourites like the Milo Dinosaur, Hawker Centre Laksa and Oolong Jiang Cha. Best of all, once the drinks set in, the bar food menu offers actual Hawker Centre chow like fried Hokkien Mee.
6. The Secret Mermaid
You’ll find The Secret Mermaid located in Collyer Quay, right in the middle of an MRT walkway. No doubt, many travellers have walked right by it and not even noticed it (pretty sure I’ve done it quite a few times). But, look a little closer and you’ll spot the unique tasting room and cocktail bar with a big focus on American craft spirits. Open from 5pm to 11pm it offers a great range of beverages from beer and tasting flights through to signature and classic cocktails.
7. The Spiffy Dapper
Make your way to 73 Amoy Street and climb a set of dingy stairs up to the second floor where you’ll find The Spiffy Dapper, a 1920s inspired spot serving a huge range of booze. The vibe here is old-world and very cheeky, with fantastic drinks and a down-to-earth approach to everything. Understated and unexpectedly awesome it’s a great secret hideout, perfect for losing a few hours to a cocktail list.
8. The Apothecary
Visit Oxwell & Co, a bar and restaurant serving British-style fare in Singapore’s Ann Siang Hill. Once there, make your way up to the third floor and through a hidden door that will take you to The Apothecary, a secret spot with room for 12. Here, you’ll find an eccentric space serving house-made elixirs and no shortage of unique glass bottles, old-world concoctions and potions sure to scratch whatever itch you may have.