SINGAPORE BAR

Bar Council

The buzz: This hush-hush bespoke molecular cocktail bar in the periphery of the hip Tiong Bahru neighborhood has no signage, menus or even pricing. Like traditional speakeasies of yore, you foot the bill based on a cash-only, pay-as-you-will system.

The decor: The exclusive and intimate shophouse unit doubles as a creative office by day. The obligatory industrial look resurfaces in the form of raw concrete walls, wooden bar counters and minimalist furnishing. Chairs and tables can be easily re-arranged to accommodate guests, which gives the space a homey vibe.

The drinks: Order one of three ways—based on your personal spirit and flavor preferences, from the "secret" signature menu (you’ll have to be a regular to know it), or a cocktail “omakase” where you tell the bartenders how many drinks you think you want. The bar's equipped with a plethora of homemade syrups, infusions and barrel-aged concoctions, so don't be surprised if you are served with a multi-sensory drink that deceptively smells like one thing but tastes like another. We tried the refreshing Kiwi Sour, made with vodka, egg white powder, lemon juice and (of course) kiwis. Managing Director Mark Tay advises customers to pay between $15-25 per drink, although some have forked out more and a lot have paid less.

The music: From loud indie bands and soothing downtempo deep house tracks to Buddha Bar-esque lounge music. Guests are welcome to plug in their playlist, so it can get pretty random (we mean diverse).

The crowd: Everyone in the know as it’s a reservations-only joint that takes up to 20 guests per shift. However, it’s usually a mixture of regulars, friends and worthy first-timers who take their craft cocktail seriously.

Why you’ll be back: Under-tip and don’t expect to come back. For the rest of us, not only is it kinda cool to be “personally invited” after making reservations (we advise reserving about a week in advance), everyone’s friendly enough for schmoozing. Plus, their Smoky Havana, a cheeky take on the classic Negroni with aged rum, sweet vermouth, aperol, smoked cinnamon and dehydrated orange is a solid bet for a good night.

Venue Details
Address: Bar Council, 275A Outram Rd., Singapore, 169064
Website: www.barsmiths.com
Area: Tiong Bahru
Open since: January, 2014
Opening hours: daily 7-10pm, 10pm-1am
Nearest trainChinatown
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