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Drink And Stay The Night
Mandarin Oriental Singapore, 5 Raffles Avenue
Sun to Thurs: 11am to 1am; Fri & Sat: 11am to 2am
For years, the Axis Bar was the go-to spot at the Mandarin Oriental for a cocktail and a view of Marina Bay.
Two decades on, the time came for it to retire and let a young, fresher concept take its place. The new MO Bar, designed by Wilson Associates, is now a swanky enclosed space with lots of dark wood and gold accents. There’s seating at the bar or in intimate corners where the plush sofas are. Two high tables which overlook the Marina Bay area are said to be very popular.
The Pacific Ocean-inspired cocktail menu features bewildering names such as 7000 Leagues Ahead, made with gin and kaffir lime leaf oil; or the Mother of Dragons, with strawberry aloe vera and ‘dragon’ Cachaca. The names may be gimmicky, but the flavours are intense and unusual, in a good way. For easy reference, the drinks are split into categories according to their alcohol content. The food is impressive too, and more substantial than bar bites. MO Bar even has dessert - check out the Avocado, which looks like the real thing, but is actually pandan sponge.
Room rates at Mandarin Oriental Singapore start from S$399.
SO/Sofitel Singapore, 35 Robinson Road
5pm to 2am daily
Named after the year in which the neo-classical building was built, 1927 the rooftop bar at SO/ Sofitel Singapore sports dashes of tropical chic. It replaces the previous Hi-So bar, which was somewhat more formal with a lot of gold accents.
The new venue has a breezy resort appeal, with cushions in bright botanical prints and outdoor planters. Pretend you’re in Bali as you chill out on laid-back loungers in fabric-swathed cabanas, or take a dip in the refurbished infinity pool that offers city skyline views.
The menu reflects the evolution of the tropical cocktail from its “Golden Era” of the 1920s and 1930s. Popular cocktails include Tiki Time Bomb, Beet Me Up Scotty and #Hashtag Frosé. The menu has been designed to pair with the drinks, featuring snacks such as Portobello Carpaccio, Snapper Ceviche and Beef Po’Boy.
Room rates at SO/Sofitel Singapore start from S$243.
Raffles Hotel Singapore, Level 2
11am to 11pm daily
While you await the restoration of the grand old dame of Singapore, Raffles Hotel, get a taste of what’s to come with the return of the iconic Long Bar.
Christian Westbeld, the hotel’s general manager, says: “Because the bar is so iconic it had to come back recognisable, and as a place that regulars could relate to, while being relevant for its time today.”
The interiors are still inspired by Malayan plantation life in the 1920s, but with an updated design. Rattan furniture completes the look, along with its trademark punkah wallah ceiling fans.
Of course, Long Bar wouldn’t be complete without the original Singapore Sling, “using the same recipe, but with updated ingredients”, says Mr Westbeld. The iconic drink now uses Widges London Dry Gin, Luxardo Cherry Sangue Morlacco, and Raffles Signature Grenadine.
Snack on peanuts from gunny sacks and toss the shells on the floor, just like in the past. But you’ll have to wait for the hotel to reopen in mid 2019 if you want to spend the night.
JIGGER & PONY
Amara Singapore, 165 Tanjong Pagar Road
Sun to Thur: 5pm to 1am; Fri & Sat: 5pm-3am
Jigger & Pony opened in Amoy Street in 2012, one of the first movers in what is now a hotbed of vibrant F&B offerings.
Now relocated to the Amara Singapore, co-founder Indra Kantono says: “We want to recreate the familiarity, conviviality and vibe of the old place, but we also recognise that we are in a new space.”
The spacious 140-seat bar, by interior design firm Hui Designs, has two separate bar counters - a main bar and a feature bar for guest bartenders.
Jigger & Pony 2.0 serves craft cocktails, made with unusual ingredients and techniques including gin infused with sesame seeds in a sous vide machine to render its slightly nuttier taste. Try the Toreador, with its creamy texture derived from freeze-dried yoghurt.
Mr Kantono adds that a great hotel bar is always a meeting point for guests, as it is accessible, and draws different crowds for different reasons. “It lets international visitors get a taste of the local spirit and craft available in Singapore, while being able to let loose,” he says. “As for those who already live in the city, they too, should feel comfortable.”
Room rates at Amara Singapore start from S$188.
READ MORE: Home For The Holidays