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13 January 2013

New Year = New Chill Out Bars


For the new year here are some more bars to check out in Singapore courtesy of my husband.  Follow him on Twitter, @AskSirStamford.


As it has been awhile since I have written an update to the Chill Out Bars series and the fact that I am struggling to write a work-based document, here is another post (in the name of procrastination).



SpeakEasy, Tanjong Pagar



Someone posted a while back on Twitter that a bar in Tanjong Pagar did a Sri Lankan brunch.  Having been to Colombo I thought I would give it a go one Saturday afternoon.  The bar is located at 50 Tanjong Pagar in an uber-cool old shophouse (I love shophouse architecture and want to live in such a house).  I arrived at the allotted time, midday, to discover that my companions were having taxi sourcing issues (like that never happens in Singapore, please note the sarcasm), so I had a beer whilst I waited and looked around the joint.  The ambiance was oldie world with dark wooded furniture and bar.  The staff were helpful and attentive, a surprise for the shockingly poor standard usually prevalent in Singapore, but praise where praise is due.  The beer was a German style ale, served in a earthenware mug, was cold and refreshing and went down very well. 




The menu is termed on the establishment’s limited website as a ‘hangover buster’ on Saturdays, with the theme being Sri Lankan.  Priced at around $40, there is a choice of three starters, three mains and a couple of desserts.  Plumping for the hearty option, I can report that the salad was an excellent choice for a starter, with a great early Saturday chili kick up the arse. For mains the choice was between chicken, fish or veggie hoppers (kind of bowl shaped pancakes with or without a fried egg) they are also great and a little, but not overly, spicy. The hoppers are eaten with one’s fingers.  I didn’t have the dessert as I don’t have a sweet tooth but these also looked good.  I was thankful for not selecting pudding though as the starters and mains had filled me up. 

Fern & Kiwi, Clarke Quay


The Fern & Kiwi is a fairly new bar within the Clarke Quay complex, therefore if it is busy or not your cup of tea, there are plenty of other choices, try Mulligan’s Irish Bar or The Pump Room. The decor is modern, fresh, light and airy, in fact, it’s perfect for a chilled Saturday afternoon or a special meal (we came for a double celebration birthday feast).  There is a well stocked bar on the ground floor where the punters can sample numerous beers and wines from New Zealand (yes as the name suggests, this is a Kiwi bar) and partake in a bar snack, whilst chatting with friends, making new ones or watching rugby on the numerous screens.  A word of warning if you are not supporting the All Blacks, this is a partisan bunch that likes the game with an odd shaped ball.  There is also an outdoor area, overlooking the taxi rank and River Valley Road.  Upstairs there is a restaurant that serves up excellent food from an extensive menu.  The rack of ribs is great (served in a unique fashion, go and order it to find out how) but messy to eat, the peppered squid goes well with the fries, delicious, and the cheese platter is grand for a confirmed cheese fan.  Also of note is the ice cream selection that is served utilising individual cones with different flavours in each.

Apologies I have no photos of the nosh or the environs, but would recommend a visit.



For another traditionally named pub, with a twist, try the Queen & Mangosteen overlooking Sentosa Island in VivoCity, they serve an excellent British Sunday roast and a decent pint. 



The Immigrants GastroBar, Joo Chiat Road



I am an immigrant, so this bar should be right up my street, well it’s actually around a couple or three corners and down a long road in the East.  It's on the same strip of Joo Chiat Road as Fatboys Burgers (another excellent burger joint with weird experimental burger combos, worth a try). 

Anyway, back to the bar.  When we lived in St Margarets near Twickenham in London we had a pub at the top of the road we lived on (handy place on the way home from work and opposite a great fish and chip shop) called the St Margarets Tavern. This was a traditional style pub, in which the customer could enjoy a quiet pint and a good meal whilst relaxing.  Since moving to Singapore we have been looking for something local to our condo that had a similar atmosphere.  After a few false starts (including the convenient and horrendous Boat Quay establishments next to my previous employer and the now defunct Big Bad Wolf on Tanjong Katong Road) the search for nirvana may be over.  As a few weeks ago, whilst searching for a different bar for Friday night beers we stumbled on the website of a nearby newly opened joint, The Immigrants.

The bar is located in a narrow shophouse type property, with the bar on the left in the middle of the building, in front of the kitchen.  The dining tables are at the back and down the right hand side of the bar (a concrete slab of a bench down the side of the wall) with drinking tables at the front and on the pavement.  We initially attended on the Friday for a drink only, sitting at the bar.  We were waiting for a table at the excellent curry house nearby, Zaffron Kitchen (try the biryani), opposite I12 Katong shopping mall. 




The bar serves a range of drinks including wines, Japanese beers and an extensive range of standard and rare whiskies from both Japan and Scotland, these can be served by the glass or the bottle for the rarer ones.  I will try a Japanese whisky next time I go.  The bar staff are friendly and efficient (if a little forgetful, we also got someone else’s drinks served with ours) and the atmosphere is chilled.




Food-wise the chef serves a range of local Peranakan dishes ranging from spicy sambal squid (this was really hot, clearly not for the faint of heart) and chicken wings (is there a bar in Singapore where a hungry drinker cannot get a serve of chicken wings?), through to more substantial meals.  We shared an excellent beef cheek biryani, which was just melt in your mouth tender.  All the dishes are served tapas style (Spanish small plates) on old style enamel plates and are excellent.  

The place is fun and worth a trek out east for a relaxing drink or a good feed, we will be frequenting regularly, especially to try the water of life from Japan.



chicken wings
beef cheek biryani
















If you need more bar tips, check out the following previous posts, Top 5 Chill Out Bars in the Lion CityChill Out Bars in the Lion City - Part 2Chill Out Bars - Part 3 and Chill Out Bars Returns.

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