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Where everybody knows your name - and your drink

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IN the intimate bar Shin Gi Tai on Telok Ayer Street, bartender-owner Anthony Zhong has built up a cult following for his Negroni, made with the flair and precision of one who spent two years working in gruelling conditions in Tokyo to master the art of cocktail making. In the past few years, he stands out among a handful of bartenders who are putting the spotlight on the Japanese cocktail culture in Singapore.

In Friday's issue of Weekend magazine, we look at the shift away from the boisterous, trend-fixated bar scene towards more intimate curated drinking experiences. Where the bartender knows your name and it's ok to drink alone, quietly enjoying a well-made cocktail and some tasty and substantial Japanese-inspired bar bites.

From the bar scene we move to Thailand, where we catch up with veteran Australian-born chef David Thompson who has built an entire career and persona out of being the first farang (foreigner) to put Thai food in the global spotlight. As he hits the milestone age of 60, he looks back on this colourful career and what lies ahead.

We also head to Thailand on holiday where Chef Thompson has launched his latest restaurant in Koh Samui at Cape Fahn, a luxury private island resort just a five-minute boat ride from the mainland.

Design-wise, we visit a terrace house whose owners eschew the light colours usually used to make narrow spaces bright, in favour of a dark colour palette that achieves a cosy - and still spacious - look. We also put the spotlight on local menswear brands and how they're giving Singapore men a few tips to improve their sense of style. And if you're fans of Studio Ghibli, we bring you a preview of the much-loved Japanese animated movies that are being streamed on Netflix.

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