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 business meeting and entertaining spots in the city for cocktails, dinner and glasses of wine. By James Wilkinson.

Burnt Ends and Gun chef Dave Pynt in the kitchen (above)

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. 

Expect some of the world’s best cocktails at 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. 

It’s a Gatsby-esque feeling at Atlas

One of the grandest, most decadent and largest Art Deco spaces ever seen for a bar, it’s a true 1920s experience at ATLAS from the classic cocktails crafted by barman Roman Foltán (formerly of London’s Artesian) that feature one of the 1000 gins on display in the 10-metre high gin tower to the gold and bronze balconies, white-dinner jacket laden staff and elegant jazz broadcast throughout the room which has tapestries lining the 15-metre high ceilings. 600 North Bridge Rd, Singapore. +65 6396 4466.

Find top cocktails from NYC bartender Steve Schneider at Employees Only

At the Singapore outpost of brilliant New York establishment EMPLOYEES ONLY, the group’s head bartender Steve Schneider has put together a drinks list that rivals the Big Apple original, highlighted by the Thunder in Paradise and Black Diamond. Also find an American-European dinner menu where the rainbow trout and the shared bone-in 800 gram ribeye are must-haves. 112 Amoy St, Singapore. +65 6221 7357.

Top smoke: there’s great food and drinks at Meat Smith

Smoked meat is also a theme at the aptly-named MEAT SMITH, run by the team behind Burnt Ends. 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. 

Hidden away: 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. 

The tiny Bincho serves up sensational Japanese cuisine

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. 

Head to Neon Pigeon for the soft shell crab bao

It’s hard to skip past the soft shell crab bao at NEON PIGEON, an izakaya on Keong Saik, the former brothel-ridden sleazy street that’s become a hive of restaurants and bars. You’ll also want to order up the crispy pork belly, smoked baby back ribs and you’ll double down on the miso roasted eggplant, best matched with a glass of Match Point Rose or a Karashi Sour crafted by rising star tender, Symphony Loo. 1 Keong Saik Rd, Singapore. +65 6222 3623.

Try and score the punch bowl at 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 is fast becoming one of Singapore’s best restaurants

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.


Top hotels to bed down at in the Lion City.

Stylish: 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. 

Best for business: 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. 

Best for bleisure: W Singapore Sentosa Cove

Set on Sentosa Island, you could be forgiven for thinking you have skipped town entirely and hit another tropical destination in Asia, even though the W SINGAPORE SENTOSA COVE resort is just 8km from Chinatown in the city. Book a ‘fabulous’ room that comes complete with mood lighting, a balcony and a 40-inch Samsung LED HDTV, then hit the pool and order cocktails at the swim-up bar, before sitting down for a meal at Skirt, headlined by the selection of Argentinean, Australian and United States meats. 21 Ocean Way, Sentosa, Singapore. +65 6808 7288.


The best way to fly to Singapore in style.

Top cabin: British Airways’ Club World Business Class

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.