First dates can be nerve-wracking, especially in this day and age when it could be with someone you’ve only just met on Tinder, Happn, Hinge, or Bumble… did we miss anything? You never quite know which way the date is going to go, so you need to meet somewhere that’s vibey but quiet enough to have a good convo, and close enough to other restaurants and bars so you can either continue on to dinner or just go ‘meet your friends next door.’ When you’re looking to turn on the first date charm, these chic spots will impress with great vino, craft cocktails, and delectable bites, plus potential exit strategies.
13% Gastro Wine
The atmosphere is warm and inviting at this unpretentious wine bar on Telok Ayer. If you both work in the CBD, you can meet here after work and grab a seat at the bar or cosy up at one of the tables in a corner. The wine list includes plenty of bottles from primo wine-growing regions around the globe, and you can pair your vino with tasty bites like imported cheeses and charcuterie. If all goes well, there are tons of other nice restaurants nearby. On the other hand, if you need to bail, Club Street is just a hop, skip, and jump away.
13% Gastro Wine, 123A Telok Ayer Street, 2nd floor, Singapore 239554. p. +65 6224 6885. Open Mon – Thurs 12pm – 2:30pm, 5pm – late, Fri 12pm – late, Sat 5pm – late
The name is kind of a misnomer because this minimalist bar on North Canal Road is less about gimmicks and more about solid drinks and light bites. The decor is mostly clean white lines and the only seating is at the stools around the C-shaped bar. If you’re looking for something a bit different, this is a good bet. We suggest having a few cocktails here, then heading over to Hongkong Street for dinner at Amo, Bacchanalia, or FOC. You can also hit up new whisky bar Cookerage for a post-dinner drink.
Fancy, 35 North Canal Road #01-01, Singapore 059291. p. +65 9818 5151. Open Mon – Sat 5pm – 12am
We love this cool little drinking den tucked away upstairs on Bukit Pasoh Road because it’s dark and cosy and has a nice vibe. The cocktails are classy with a great selection of all-time favourites and modern concoctions with Southeast Asian twists. If the date is going well and you want to continue on elsewhere, you can jump over to sister restaurant Humpback for bites, cocktails, and good tunes. Keong Saik Road is nearby too if you need to scoot – plenty of options there to meet up with friends after.
Gibson, 20 Bukit Pasoh Road, 2nd floor, Singapore 089834. p. +65 9114 8385. Open Mon – Thurs 6pm – 1am, Fri – Sat 6pm – 2am
HRVST by Kilter Avenue
Centrally located in OUE Downtown, HRVST has a lovely outdoor garden with a relaxed vibe, which is great for calming those first date jitters. The drink menu features innovative cocktails made with fresh herbs, juices, and spices, and the menu is all vegan, but might just surprise you with vibrant flavours and textures. Try the fried chickpeas with Szechuan sour plum powder. They also do great happy hour specials on house pours, beers, ciders, and wines from 5pm to 8pm daily.
HRVST, 6A Shenton Way, OUE Downtown #05-01, Singapore 068815. p. +65 6920 7500. Open Mon – Fri 11:30am – 2:30pm, 5:30pm – 11:30pm, Sat 11am – 3pm
You’ll probably need a reservation, but if your date likes cocktails, this is where you need to go. Brought to us by the same folks behind 28 HongKong Street, Proof & Company, and Crackerjack, this intimate watering hole has just 10 seats and features a different theme every six months. Take for example the first NOLA theme where everything focused around Mexico from the tequila and mezcal to the black and white photos of Oaxaca, to the Mexican small plates.
Junior, 43 Tanjong Pagar Road, 088464 (look for the sign in the alleyway behind Crackerjack), p. 8121 1462. Open Mon – Sat: 7pm – 12am
Coming to us by way of Australia, Little Creatures is a craft brewery and bar that offers up a laid-back atmosphere and really great beers fresh from the tanks. Hop heads will love the pale ale and IPA, and there’s a range of easy-going eats that go down great with the beer like crispy calamari, lamb and chicken skewers with chimichurri, and hand-cut fries with truffle mayo. Plus, you can’t beat the location on buzzy Club Street.
Little Creatures, 36 Club Street (Mohamed Ali Lane), Singapore 069469. p. +65 6239 0350. Open daily 8am – 12am
Mr. Stork (pictured above)
For an after-work date Mr. Stork is a pretty impressive spot to grab sundowner drinks with sweeping views of the city. Located on the 39th floor of the Andaz Singapore hotel, this rooftop locale has a beautiful bronze bar, tables set up along the glass perimeter, and unique teepee like huts that are utterly romantic. Stay on after the sun goes down for candlelit vibes in the garden or walk over to Kampong Glam for great dinner options like Cicheti.
Mr. Stork, 5 Fraser Street, Andaz Singapore, Singapore 189354. p. +65 6408 1234. Open Sun – Thurs 5pm – 12am, Fri – Sat 5pm – 1am
First dates are all about making a lasting impression, so why not meet up somewhere that’s sure to memorable? Native is a unique cocktail bar that thinks outside the box with intriguing bevvies made from locally foraged and regional ingredients. Try the Peranakan with jackfruit rum, laksa leaves, gula mereka, goat’s milk, and candlenut or the Arak Bali with banana, papaya, ginger, tempeh and cempaka flower.
Native, 52A Amoy Street, Singapore 069878. p. +65 8869 6520. Open Mon – Sat 6pm – 12am
The terrace at Publico can get pretty buzzy, especially at sunset time, but it’s still a nice spot for a chilled-out drink with riverside views and tables that are far enough apart for a decent conversation. Soak up the Italian vibes over a few spritzes or glasses of vino. If dinner is in the cards, you can grab authentic Italian eats like wood-fired pizzas and housemade pastas at the restaurant inside or head elsewhere in Robertson Quay.
Publico, 1 Nanson Road, Singapore 238909. p. +65 6826 5040. Open Mon – Thurs 4pm – 11pm, Fri – Sat 12pm – 12am, Sun 11am – 11pm
The Secret Mermaid
Just like the name suggests, this tiny watering hole is a hidden gem tucked away in the basement of Ocean Finance Centre. With just eight seats at the bar, intimacy is a given, and there’s a huge selection of small-batch American craft spirits to choose from. Let bartender Kelly D’Cruz whip you up a custom concoction like the applewood negroni with cinnamon, vanilla, Campari, Carpano Antica, vanilla bitters, and applewood and rosemary smoke.
The Secret Mermaid, 10 Collyer Quay, B1-09, Ocean Financial Centre, Singapore 049315. Open Mon – Fri 5pm – 11pm