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Drinks with a view
Looking at the minimalist black stools, stone-hewn bar top, and the understated yet elegant décor of Southbridge, you wouldn't be able to tell that the rooftop bar used to be an antenna farm for providing phone connection to the Boat Quay area.
Restaurateur Beppe De Vito, who is behind il Lido, &SONS, and Latteria Mozzarella Bar, was looking for a venue along the Singapore River for the longest time and opened Southbridge earlier this month.
Perched atop the fourth floor of a refurbished heritage shophouse along the river, Southbridge bar offers sublime views, a slight breeze, and cocktails that go beyond "the cranberry vodka type of mixed drinks", says Mr De Vito.
The cocktail menu sees close to 30 concoctions shaken up with artisanal spirits from small-batch distillers such as Buffalo Trace Whisky, Chase Rhubarb vodka, as well as organic Abelha Silver cachaça.
Italian bartender Gerry Callipo, who hails from Bitter Bar, a Florence-based bar well known for mixology, also infuses Earl Grey with vodka and steeps Sichuan pepper in gin for his cocktails.
The list of French champagnes consists of mostly boutique brands like Marie Courtin, Benôit Lahaye and the critically acclaimed Salon.
With a shoebox-sized kitchen that is only 140 sq ft, the seafood-centric restaurant bar focuses on uncooked dishes like Tuna Tataki, Scallop Crudo, and freshly shucked oysters from New Zealand served with six different types of sauces.
80 Boat Quay, Southbridge rooftop, Level 5. Tel: 6536 5818
The favourite haunt of many a banker, Harry's Bar has been a permanent fixture along Boat Quay since 1992, and for its 22nd anniversary, it debuts a brand new look. Gone are the old-school red brick walls and checkered floors, and in their place is a spiffier interior with a sleek bar, classic leather couches, vintage tile flooring and light fixtures made from trumpets and cymbals - a nod to its musical past as a jazz bar.
The façade also receives a fresh coat of paint and navy blue window canopies have been installed.
"Harry's new look reflects how the brand has evolved and matured," says Philip Walters, managing director of Harry's Holdings.
"We decided to refresh the brand to keep Harry's abreast of current trends and to remain relevant in line with changing customer preferences; this investment also aims to prime the homegrown Singaporean bar brand for expansion overseas in the next two years."
The drinks menu has been ramped up with an increased selection of premium wines.
Culinary director Daniel Sia (who is behind The Disgruntled Chef) has also jumped onboard to steer the focus of the bar bites menu towards more gourmet offerings such as Mushroom and Truffle Oil Flatbread, Curried Lambshanks, and a decent range of desserts like Black Forest Sundae.
Longtime regulars, however, can rest assured; the bestselling Harry's Battered Fish & Chips and signature Harry's Premium Lager are still around.
28B & 28C Boat Quay Tel: 6538 3029
CATALUNYA LATE NIGHTS
Contemporary Spanish restaurant Catalunya used to be winding down when the clock struck 11pm. But as of August this year, Catalunya, known more for their ex-El Bulli chefs, molecular gastronomy-esque olive spheres, and crispy suckling pig, is now adding nightlife to its list of fine dining offerings.
"Our restaurant customers tend to spend time at the bar after dinner and our DJ sessions at the bar were increasingly popular so it made sense to transform the restaurant into a club once dinner service is over," says Jessica Loo, senior public relations and marketing manager of Catalunya.
Catalunya Late Nights takes place every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 11pm. On clubbing nights, four to six custom-made, easily removable tables in the main dining area are put away to make space for the dance floor and the deejay console.
The transformation from restaurant to club is complete with smoke machines and a KVANT laser system that shows up well across the bay and waterfront.
There is already a serious cocktail programme in place but for Catalunya Late Nights, the list is pared down to the classic Flamenco Martini, mojitos in three flavours, and sangrias, so as to better focus on bottle service, housepours and the list of Spanish cavas.
Ms Loo doesn't think that adding a nightlife element would detract from the gourmet aspect of the restaurant. "We wanted to create a venue that is more multi-faceted to offer a more well-rounded services," she explains.
Indeed, hot restaurants used to be the pre-party but now they are becoming the party.
82 Collyer Quay. Tel: 6534 0188