Zui Hong Lou
The buzz: Club Street favorite Gem Bar expands with an irreverent, Chinese-kitsch sister bar Zui Hong Lou (literally translated as “drunk red chamber”, calling to mind a somewhat seedy brothel) next door.
The décor: Low-key charm. The compact interior has plenty of plain scuffed concrete, while dim lights and red-painted brick walls add a suggestive vibe to the place. Overhead, there hang vintage-style Chinese food stall signs—like “Bestest BBQ Pork Pastry”—that wouldn’t at all look out of place in Geylang.
The drinks: You can order booze from Gem’s extensive list of cocktails, wines, beers and spirits, but you definitely won’t want to leave without trying their signature drinks ($14 a pop). There’s the gin-and-soursop White Crane, the juicy, petal-strewn Fruits of Heaven, and our pick, the Flower Song, a vodka-spiked chrysanthemum ‘tea’ that’s served in a traditional Chinese tea set.
The food: They’re purportedly the only bar in the vicinity to serve dim sum (from $7)—those greasy snacks that always hit the spot when you come down with a case of the drunken munchies. More substantial bites include Chinese restaurant classics like kung pow chicken ($10) and luncheon meat fried rice ($7).
The music: Nothing we could hear over the din of conversation.
The crowd: There’s the usual rowdy Club Street crowd, corporate folk, plus a good dash of creative types drawn to their tongue-in-cheek sensibility.
Why you’ll be back: Because you totally buy into the whole “dim sum = Asian tapas” thing. And at least you don’t have to make the schlep to Geylang or Jalan Besar.