Chill Out Bars Returns

My husband has written another edition to the series about good chill out bars here in Singapore - enjoy and if you want to see more of his posts he's on Instagram, '@nomadiclancashirelad'.

It has been a long while since the last edition of Chill Out Bars, been busy with work based travel (apologies deadly dull but limits the drinking time), more on that later.  In this edition I will feature the following boozers (in no particular order), Bar Bar Black Sheep, Ice Cold Beer, Paulaner Brauhaus, Orgo and The Ink Bar.

Bar Bar Black Sheep has to be one of the coolest names for a bar ever, particularly as we visited the week after we’d been to Big Bad Wolf on Tanjong Katong Road (sadly now closed).  It seemed like we were visiting a series of fairytale themed establishments.  Anyway, the BBS we visited is located at the far end of Robertson Quay (there is a new outlet on Boat Quay and one in Bukit Timah) with tables on the terrace overlooking a quiet part of the Singapore River.  We attended on a barmy Thursday evening (ages ago actually, probably in June last year, that’s how far behind I am) and had a couple of drinks (a rather unadventurous Tiger for me and a wine for Laura) and some excellent Thai food (including a fiery beef dish with basil, I forget what it was called).  As well as the Thai food, you can also order North Indian or Western dishes.  Both food and drinks are ordered at the counter (there is a separate order point for the Indian food).  For a Thursday it was quite busy with plenty of people tucking into all kinds of nosh.

UPDATE - May 2012  Black Sheep on the East Coast - Chill Out Bars Goes Native - UPDATE JULY 2020 - NOW CLOSED IN THE EAST BUT STILL OPEN IN OTHER PARTS OF SINGAPORE

The bar has now moved out East as well.

We noticed, from a taxi in March that a renovation was happening at the ECP end of Tanjong Katong Road (near Mountbatten Road, opposite the Canadian International School) which turned out to be a new Bar Bar Black Sheep.  We waited and waited, flew back to the UK for Easter and waited some more.  Finally we noticed the new bar had been born and decided to try it out one balmy Wednesday evening.  We love new local bars opening.

In Katong, the menu is less extensive than at the Robertson Quay bar (I can't vouch for the other two, I have not been) and serves only the Thai options.  We shared a number of dishes, including red curry with chicken, pork with basil and a chicken fried rice, starters were spring rolls with sweet chilli sauce and fishcakes (spicy Thai style), which were all great.  The food was washed down with a wine for Laura and a Kronenbourg 1664 (well two actually) for moi.  If there is a crowd of beer drinkers I suggest that the aptly named tower is ordered, this is shaped like a well known icon / masterpiece of design, Gustave's Eiffel Tower in Paris (the beer is French) and the version in Blackpool, (there was also one in New Brighton on the bank of the River Mersey).

In summary, Bar Bar Black Sheep is worth a visit for fellow East Coasters, Canadian teachers or any intrepid red dot resident.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE - December 2012 I've been meaning to do this for a while but I can confirm that Bar Bar Black Sheep on Tanjong Katong Road now also serves a good selection of Indian dishes, as well as the Thai and a few Western options.  Definitely well worth a visit!

AND ANOTHER UPDATE - January 2015 Bar Bar Black Sheep on Tanjong Katong Road now only serves Indian food the Thai stall is now shut.  Indian food always seemed the most popular choice whenever we were there and I can confirm it is very good!

Guess what? Yep that's right Bar Bar Black Sheep is serving Thai and some Western food again, maybe I should just leave it for you to find out for yourselves in future!! 

Other bars of note on Tanjong Katong Road are Smiths fish and chip shop (well they serve beer with the fish and chips) UPDATE - January 2016 this branch of Smiths is now closed, if you want your Brit style fish and chip fix head to Balmoral Plaza on Bukit Timah Road, Big Bad Wolf (a great selection of craft ales, the Hawthorn was fab as I waited for a curry last weekend SADLY NOW CLOSED) and another new bar, The Dugout (sports bar run by an affable Brit that shows all manner of sports, including Rodeo Riding, situated at the junction of Old Airport Road and Tanjong Katong Road NOW CLOSED).  There is also the excellent Smokeys (Joo Chiat), The Cider Pit (Joo Chiat Road), a host of places in Katong i12 and other places on East Coast Road (and in Siglap), so come out East.

Ice Cold Beer is a more traditional bar, long and taking up one side of the long narrow shophouse, located at the top end of the strip of bars on Emerald Hill (also the location of the previously mentioned den of Jagermeister, Bar No. 5).  It is also one of a number of outlets on the Red Dot (the other one I have visited was on the Singapore Management University, SMU campus).  The bar serves a wide range of ‘ice cold’ beers, including Stella Artois, some other stuff from Belgium, Boddingtons (the Cream of Manchester) and London Pride.  Food-wise, you can get the standard bar fare of pizza, chicken wings and mini-burgers or sliders.  There is ample room to sit inside the bar but also a few tables on the terrace that opens out on to Emerald Hill itself.  The bar is often lively (and can be very busy) but can be a refuge in comparison to the rowdier Bar No.5.  The SMU branch has a pool table, if you feel the need to embarrass yourself.

Paulaner Brauhaus, is a German brewhouse near Suntec Mall that serves great quality Bavarian style beers and food to a bustling international crowd.  Since I changed jobs this has become a regular haunt.  The beers come in a range of sizes ranging from a half pint to an entire litre.  A tad heavy to pick up, it goes warm in this climate and everyone knows it is only the English that like warm beer.  The food is also very good, with a good selection of sausages (of various flavours, I had the curried ones with wedges) and other dishes.  When we visited on a Saturday lunchtime, Laura and I shared a pork knuckle with sauerkraut and potato (it’s pretty big and more than enough for two less than greedy people and is offered with two beers on Saturdays).  The black forest ice cream dessert was also excellent (and that is from an infrequent dessert eater) and the apple strudel looked fab too.  There are other Brauhaus’ dotted around the globe, including in Munich and Jakarta (at Plaza Indonesia) serving a similar range of food.

Orgo, is an excellent cocktail bar, situated on the roof of Colours by the Bay with excellent views of the Raffles Place and Marina Bay Sands (MBS) skylines (especially spectacular at night).  The range of cocktails / martinis is long and very interesting, although the menu is a tad difficult to read in the dark (one needs to be careful as will become clear in the next couple of sentences).  We had two drinks each, first off I had a dragon fruit based martini, which was a little bland so for our second excursion onto the menu I select a watermelon and chili concoction which had quite a kick to it, leaving a fiery taste on the lips.  The second drink spirit of adventure was also taken up by our drinking companion who ordered a chocolate and wasabi flavoured martini (the joke with the waiter was for the addition of extra kick), unfortunately the bar had run out of chocolate so a more conventional form of warfare was selected.  The view and the drinks list make Orgo well worth a visit.

The Watermelon and Chili martini

View from Orgo

The last bar in our boozy excursion is one that I have to admit I have been on many occasions, as the last stop of the night before the taxi home.  It is The Ink Bar at The Fairmont Hotel NB. this bar is now closed though the hotel is still there and other bars etc. can be found there (the last Fairmont bar I went to was The American Bar at The Savoy Hotel in London, one comment, just excellent) and offers an excellent range of drinks, a cool live jazz bar (the lead singer is so laid back he’s almost horizontal).  As stated this is usually the last stop of the night, so I often partake in a gin and tonic (served in the proper fashion with cucumber and not lemon or lime) or a grand 18 year old single malt.  The lighting in the bar is soft and low which helps the chilled out atmosphere.  One downside, being a hotel bar in a five star establishment it is not cheap.

Back to those travels, if you happen to find yourself in a non-flooded, non-rainy, non-thundery Bangkok I would suggest that you try out The Moon Bar on the top of the Banyan Tree Hotel (on Sathorn Road South).  It’s sixty one floors up, next to the roof top restaurant (also brill), Vertigo.  The views are stunning at sunset (the bar opens at 5pm), the beers / cocktails or sundowners are excellent and the bar staff are very attentive.  If in Kuala Lumpur (KL), why not try the Sky Bar on the 33rd floor of the Trader’s Hotel (a Shangri-La property).  It serves excellent snacky type food (I had satay sticks) and cold beers beside an indoor swimming pool (dangerous if one too many ales has been imbibed) with a view of a former world’s tallest building, ‘The Petronas Towers’ and comfy booths to sit in.  Finally, in Jakarta it is worth visiting Social House (Plaza Indonesia near the Kempinski Hotel and BCA Bank) for a great and comprehensive menu (Asian and Western food, I have had pizza, sushi and Vietnamese Pho Bo) and great wine.

Enjoying a drink at The Moon Bar, Bangkok

Sunset from The Moon Bar, Bangkok

Finally also remember to check out Chill Out Bars One, Two and Three, in which I describe my experiences in many other bars in Singapore.


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