We don't know what it is about dining at the bar in Singapore, but we’re kinda addicted to it. Whether it's a cosy date for two or we’re flying solo for a quick bite and a cocktail (or three), it’s one of our favourite ways to eat. From necking oysters and nibbling tapas, to tackling an omakase extravaganza or chowing down on a hearty burger, everything tastes better at the bar. Here’re our favourite restaurants where propping up the counter is de rigueur.
One of the first things that comes to mind when we think about dining at the bar is sushi, and Akashi tops our list of great spots for a sushi lunch or a sushi date night, especially their flagship location at Tanglin Shopping Centre. The decor here is pretty minimalist, but that’s ok because you’re going to be focusing on the insanely fresh fish anyways. Grab a seat at the counter and go for the omakase menu where the chefs will choose a selection of seafood flown in straight from Japan and slice, season and plate it right in front of you.
Akashi, 19 Tanglin Road, Tanglin Shopping Centre #01-01A, 247905, t. 6732 8662. Open daily 12 pm - 10:30 pm
If you’re in the mood for casual easy bites and drinks, make your way to the outdoor bar at Bar Roque where the ambiance is earthy and rustic with lots of stone, brick and wood, and the vibe is laid back and welcoming. Come during happy hour from 5pm to 9pm Monday to Friday to get 50% off beers, wines and prosecco and order up some small plates from the bar menu like the Lamb Sliders with yogurt sauce and pickles, Chicken Wings with chilli sauce, or their famous Alsatian Tarte Flambé, which is similar to a thin pizza topped with melty cheese and a variety of tasty toppings.
Bar Roque Grill, 165 Tanjong Pagar Road #01-00, 088539, t. 6444 9672. Open Mon - Fri: 12 pm - 2:30 pm, 6 pm - 10:30 pm, Sat: 6 pm - 10:30 pm, bar menu: Mon - Sat: 2:30 pm - late
Le Bistrot du Sommelier
Probably one of our favourite hidden gems in Singapore is the Rillette Bar on top of Le Bistrot du Sommelier. The room is cozy and quaint with big windows letting natural light in and pots and pans hanging on the whitewashed brick walls. Our go-to orders are plates of charcuterie and cheese, a variety of rillettes, and a bottle or two of some good reds recommended by their trusty sommelier Zal. On the third Thursday of every month, they also have Apero Tasting sessions where you can try interesting new wines.
When you want a place with a good vibe, but you’re not in the mood for a full meal, Butcher Boy comes through with a contemporary space, good tunes and an easy-going bar menu featuring offerings like the Crispy Fish Skins, Korean Fried Chicken and the Hangar Steak & Fries. They also have great Asian-inspired cocktails, an interesting selection of sakes and a decent wine list, so you can pop by for a steak or a burger and a glass of red, which to us sounds like the perfect meal for a rainy night.
Since opening in 2015, Andrew Walsh’s Cure has been winning rave reviews for its bistronomy style set menus that change on a regular basis to shine the spotlight on seasonal ingredients. While most patrons come for multi-course meals, there is also the option to have a bite and a drink at the bar rather than take on the whole lunch or dinner set. If you’re looking for a cozy spot along Keong Saik for an after-work glass of wine and elevated bar bites, then this is a good bet.
Cure, 21 Keong Saik Road, 089128, t. 6221 2189. Open Mon - Wed: 6 pm - late, Thurs - Fri: 12 pm - late, Sat - Sun: 6 pm - lat
We’ve said it once or twice, and we’ll say it again—the bar at CUT is one of our favourite spots to indulge in glasses of big, bold wine and tasty bar snacks. Sure, you can sit in the dining room and enjoy the full-on steak dinner experience, but if you sit at the bar, you can sample the great food on offer for much less than you would pay in the dining room. Some of the bites you need to try include the Char Siew Pork Belly Buns, Mini Kobe “Sliders”, and the Crab Roll made with Alaskan king crab.
CUT, 10 Bayfront Avenue, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands #B1-71, 018972, t. 6688 8517. Open Sun - Thurs: 5:30 pm - 10 pm, Fri - Sat: 5:30 pm - 11 pm
At Dempsey Cookhouse & Bar, the lighting, sound, decor and ambiance are all are spot on, and the bar is absolutely gorgeous, which places it firmly on our list of top bars to dine at in Singapore. We love coming here on a Sunday night when we’re craving something nice but still relaxed. Come with a friend and try some of their shared plates like the Guacamole with peas and warm, crunchy tortillas or the Spiced Chicken Samosas with cilantro yogurt dip.
Dempsey Cookhouse & Bar, 17 & 18 Dempsey Road, 249676, t. +1 800 304 5588 (local calls only). Open Mon - Fri: 12 pm - 3 pm, Sat, Sun & PH: 11:30 am - 4 pm, Sun - Thurs: 6 pm - 12 am, Fri, Sat & PH: 6 pm - 1 am
Middle Eastern cuisine gets a modern twist at Fat Prince, a sleek kebab spot and bar brought to us by the same people behind Neon Pigeon. The interiors are styled like a hip Istanbul cafe with marble topped tables, velvet upholstered chairs and an inviting bar where you can watch the baristas brew Turkish coffee in a built-in sand pit and shake up exotic cocktails. Do order one of the kebabs piled high with grilled meats and veggies like charred pork belly, spicy prawns or halloumi cheese.
Fat Prince, 48 Peck Seah Street, 079317, t. 6221 3683. Open Mon - Fri: Coffee from 8 am, Lunch 11:30 am - 3 pm, Dinner 6 pm - 12 am
Fancy authentic Italian cuisine in a relaxed setting? Limoncello is a lovely spot in Robertson Quay where you can enjoy a leisurely lunch at the bar during the day, and a few after work drinks with antipasto and wood-fired pizzas in the evening. Once you rock up to their location along the Singapore River, you’ll see why we definitely suggest sitting at the breezy bar outdoors and soaking up the views of the water while you nosh on your pizza.
Limoncello, 95 Robertson Quay, #01-18/19/20 River Gate Condominium, 238256, t. 6634 5117. Open Tues - Sun: 12 pm - 2:30 pm, Daily: 6 pm - 10:30 p
Luke’s is for sure a fine dining spot, but if you’re craving oysters and a glass of champagne without making a huge night out of it, head to their Heeren location and have a seat at the bar where you can enjoy views of Orchard Road while you dig into fresh seafood. The oysters here all come from Chef Travis’ trusted sources along the East Coast of the United States and Canada, so you know you’re getting pure goodness in every bite. They also have great snacks like the Lobster Rolls, Clams Casino and Steak Tartare.
They claim to have the best pizzas in Singapore, and while that may be true, there’s a whole lot more going on at Blue Label than just sublime pies. This basement space has a cosy, laid-back vibe with cool rock tunes playing in the background, comfy banquettes, and an inviting bar where you can chat up the bartender for good vino reccos. Do yourself a favour and try the Chicago-style spinach and artichoke dip before digging into one of their excellent gourmet pizzas.
Blue Label Pizza & Wine, 28 Ann Siang Road, Singapore 069708. P.+65 9821 9362. Open Mon - Fri 12pm - 2pm, Mon - Sat 6pm - late
The Market Grill
You don’t find too many restaurants where dining at the bar is actually preferable to dining at a table, but The Market Grill makes it pretty hard to pass up that long row of bright yellow stools where you can watch the chefs in action behind the bar. The seafood and steaks are the main draws with options like freshly shucked oysters, lobsters flown in from Boston and Maine, and the whopping Black Angus porterhouse that can feed up to three.
The Market Grill, 208 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068642. p. +65 6221 3323. Open Mon - Sat 11:30am - 2:30pm, 6pm - 10pm