Essential guide: Singapore after dark

by James Wilkinson

Once the sun goes down in Singapore, the city’s restaurant and bar scene truly comes alive. Here are WAYFARER’s top spots in the city for cocktails, dinner and glasses of wine. By James Wilkinson.

BURNT ENDS

At 24-seat eatery Burnt Ends, chef Dave Pynt’s take on modern Australian barbecue comes in the form of smoking, roasting, baking and grilling on apple and almond wood burning machines and custom built grills; while drinks man Andrew Cameron’s smoked cocktail pairing is impeccable and his wine list features some brilliant small-batch producers, including several organic global standouts. 20 Teck Lim Rd, Singapore. +65 6224 3933. 

28 HONG KONG STREET

A glance of the cocktail list at 28 Hong Kong Street, under the watchful eye of the brilliant Zdenek Kastanek, is just a teaser of how good the well-stocked, dimly-lit, hard to find (look for a shopfront) and lively this 60-seat bar is. Start with a classic, perhaps a Rye Old Fashioned or an Americano, then get creative and kick-back in a booth with a Crimson and Clover or a Tiki Elvis. Didn’t eat before you came in? Don’t fret because the Hawaiian Poke, taters and tendons, and mac and cheese balls hit the spot. Book ahead. 28 Hongkong St, Singapore. +65 6533 2001. 

MEAT SMITH

Smoked meat is also a theme at the aptly-named Meat Smith, run by Sydneysider Emmanuel Benardos. On the well-partnered menu, find smoked meats (order the 1kg ‘cowboy t-bone and the bbq platter for four), blends, single malts and bourbons (get one made as a flip), a solid craft beer list from America including Deschutes. Score a table outside on Telok Ayer Street, where shops, bars and eateries intertwine for a real Singapore experience. 169 Telok Ayer St, Singapore. +65 6221 2262. 

OPERATION DAGGER

Look for the glass door with hobo code scribbled on it then head down the staircase and into a basement where you’ll find an outrageous light globe chandelier crafted in the shape of a cloud. There’s loads of experimentation here at Operation Dagger: look for the bottled cocktail of the week and limited runs of ‘dangerous water’ creations such as house-made meads, infused spirits. Order the omakase 6-cocktail set and order some sides to accompany. 7 Ann Siang Hill, Singapore. 

BINCHO

Eateries don’t get much more hidden than the 20-seat Bincho that’s located on the ground floor of a small apartment complex in a former 70-year old traditional kopitiam, which offers some of the best Japanese we’ve ever had outside Osaka. Wash down a Swan Lake rice beer with cockscomb and gizzard yakitori, sea bream carpaccio, tuna belly, aburi char siew and chicken thigh tataki, or keep it simple and order a wagyu omu curry that’s a steal at SG$45. 78 Moh Guan Terrace, Singapore. +65 6438 4567. 

BITTERS AND LOVE

Seek out the black and white door, then look through the peephole and what’s behind the looking glass is yet another hidden, dimly-lit and intimate bar loaded up with top shelf spirits and talented bartenders. At Bitters and Love, you pick your spirit, then style of cocktail you’d like and the team will bring it over in whatever glass, jar or punch bowl they like. 118 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore. +65 6438 1836. 

CHEEK BY JOWL

Taxi Dining Room and Tetsuya alum Rishi Naleendra leads the kitchen at Singapore’s latest Aussie eatery Cheek by Jowl and like its bigger sister and always-sold-out Burnt Ends, the produce here is exceptional. Order the Rangers Valley rib eye, plate of beetroots, barramundi and save room for the coconut ice cream, roughed up with peanuts, pomelo and laksa leaves. Also find a well-priced range of wines by the glass ($15-$22) or bottle ($68-$250). 21 Boon Tat St, Singapore. +65 6221 1911.

ESSENTIALS: WHERE TO STAY

Top hotels to bed down at in the Lion City.

NEW MAJESTIC HOTEL

At the New Majestic Hotel near Chinatown, quirky would be an understatement, thanks to suites with elevated loft-style beds, duel bathtubs tubs in the middle of the room, a pool over the restaurant with port-holes on the roof and a tuktuk in the lobby. Also find restored vintage Compton fans and colonial furniture from Singapore in the 1920s-1960s throughout. 31–37 Bukit Pasoh Rd, Singapore. +65 6511 470. 

SOFITEL SO SINGAPORE

Old world charm and modern technology fuse seamlessly well at Sofitel So Singapore, which is housed in a Neo-classical building that’s loaded with French and Singaporean décor. Here, find flatscreen TVs, free wifi and balconies with city views in the rooms and suites, while on the roof there’s a pool and cocktail bar serving classics and South East Asian creations. 35 Robinson Rd, Singapore. +65 6701 6800. 

CONRAD CENTENNIAL SINGAPORE

A few streets back from Marina Bay, Conrad Centennial Singapore is attached to the Millennia mall, which features over 1000 shops and 300 eateries. At the luxury hotel, expect top service, a 20-metre pool, four restaurants and bars (order martinis poolside) alongside spacious rooms and suites. 2 Temasek Blvd, Singapore. +65 6334 8888. 

ESSENTIALS: GETTING THERE

The best way to fly to Singapore in style.

BRITISH AIRWAYS

British Airways flies daily to Singapore on modern Boeing 777-300ER aircraft featuring First, Club World (Business), World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy) and World Traveller (Economy) cabins. WAYFARER recommends booking a ticket in Club World, which offers flatbed seats, restaurant calibre cuisine, French and Australian wines, hundreds’ of hours of entertainment on demand and great British service from check-in to disembarking.

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