55-57 Haji Lane
S: There is no menu at this place, the waiters take your orders by asking for your drink preference. I asked for sour and they recommended me something with gin, lime, sugar and burnt rosemary. Apparently, it is a top favorite at the bar. At one point, the bar owner (or so I think) approached me to rave about my drink and the complicated process of how it’s made. To be honest, it was meh. The rosemary taste was very subtle, totally overwhelmed by the lime. Definitely not a top favorite in my books.
My friends who joined me were luckier though. One whiskey sour ish drink topped off with egg white and cinnamon for a smoother finish. Another grape, yuzu and gin – sweet and refreshing. Finally a triple berry cocktail with vodka.
A very cosy, unpretentious place, try to get a seat at the bar or “front row seats”.
G: novelty concept, looks more like a coffee joint rather than bar. great for one time fun, but won’t be going back anytime soon. May the odds be in your favor.
Damage: $22 each before tax
51 Kreta Ayer Road
S: At first the establishment seemed intimidating, with velvet ropes and a red carpet at the entrance. There is even a valet service and plenty of super cars lined the street. Two pretty ladies at the door asked us to sign their guest book before inviting us in. Upon stepping in she turned to us and said in a dramatic voice “welcome, to drink culture”. Ok cue clubbing soundtrack. How dramatic can this place get.
We were seated at the bar and served by two ah beng bartenders. G guessed that they were working part time while in the army. It quickly became clear that this place was only trying to be chichi, but is really cheapcheap. The decor was tacky and the staff mainly speak in Chinese. Caught a glimpse of the bar owner and he had shoulder length blonde hair with oversized black plastic frame glasses.
One thing I enjoy most about going to bars is sitting at the bar. I’m not a talker or even remotely sociable, but it’s good to know more about your drink from the bartender himself, and to watch it be made from scratch! Here, the bartender actually admitted to stealing bar stories’ concept, which amused us. It made sense too, because I distinctly remember seeing a drink culture cocktail menu online before they changed to their current no menu concept.
So anyway yes, no menus here, let the bartenders surprise you. I enjoy whiskey, and requested for a sweet one. I got a “gooseberry, butter scotch, freshly squeezed lemon juice, sugar, balanced with whiskey.” Smooth.
The bartender then asked G for something more challenging. Pick any liquer and he’ll make something good out of it. G chose grand marnier (cognac with orange peels) and the bartender delivered. The sour taste was just what G wanted.
G: wannabe looking place, good for two, for more go to bar stories. “Grand marnier with egg white and rosemary.”
Damage: 22 each before tax
Club street social
5 Gemmill Lane
S: With a name like that, I somehow expected more. But club street social is a very simple and small cafe/bar tucked in one end of Ann Siang. Even though it isn’t exactly a bar, it has a decent selection of interesting cocktails worthy of a visit.
G had #7, “cognac, bacon, date, walnut”.
I LOVE the concoctions here. I loved everything about the cocktails we ordered, and I wouldn’t even mind trying a tequila cocktail if club street social was making it.
G: 1-7, easy to order. Drinks are alright, S stole mine.
18 each before tax
Final round up
S: I’m definitely sticking to conventional bars where I choose and decide my own drinks from a menu. There’s way too much fuss at those no-menu bars and it’s always a hit-and-miss with every visit.