Singapore is one of the most renowned cities in the world when it comes to its thriving bar scene. Case in point: 11 Singapore bars made it to the most recent Asia’s 50 Best Bars list. That said, there’s a new type of bar that has started thriving in this country: speakeasy-style hidden bars in Singapore.
After all, there’s just something thrilling about searching for a spot that’s a tad hard to find.
The anticipation during your search, that delight when you discover a whole new world behind a nondescript entrance — all of this just adds to its allure. Yes, venturing off the beaten path is infinitely more rewarding.
Traditionally, speakeasy bars referred to top-secret bars in America that existed during the Prohibition era when alcohol was illegal, and they usually operated under the guise of a conventional business.
In recent times, the term is used more loosely to refer to secretive, dimly lit establishments that are so hidden, they’d require some careful detective work. Many are pretty much unidentifiable — unless you’ve received prior information.
Don’t worry, we’ve done the legwork for you. From clandestine speakeasy bars that are best-kept-secrets among the #iykyk crowd, to IG-worthy hidden bars in Singapore behind unexpected scenes such as traditional Chinese medicine halls, we’ve rounded them up so you don’t have to hunt them down (too hard).
1. Mama Diam
38 Prinsep Street
Open: Sunday to Thursday (4pm to 10.30pm), Friday and Saturday (4pm to 12am)
Why visit? Mama Diam caught everyone’s attention when it first opened, thanks to its iconic neighbourhood mama shop storefront. Resembling a scene straight out of the 80s and 90s (complete with beloved childhood snacks and toys on display!), it simply evokes nostalgia for every Singaporean.
Owner Sebastian Ang created the concept to pay homage to the heritage of the mama shop, but with a modern twist to appeal to the younger folks. With Asian-influenced dishes and locally influenced cocktails, this Prinsep Street bar will charm everyone with its quirky offerings of tipples and bites.
Price range: $$
Crowd favourites: It’s all about weaving those familiar flavours into innovative new creations at Mama Diam. Expect creative concoctions such as the chicken curry kueh pie tee with coconut foam (S$18) and emperor herbal chicken poached rice (S$20).
The drinks menu at Mama Diam is equally fascinating, ranging from the OG kopi (S$22) to the herbaceous liang teh (S$20).
2. Taylor Adam
One Raffles Place Mall, 01-03, 1 Raffles Place
Open: Saturday, Monday to Wednesday (5pm to 12am), Thursday and Friday (5pm to 1am)
You guessed it: There’s a bar hidden behind its elegant storefront. It’s quite an adventure to enter the establishment. First, staff there will ask if you are scheduled for a fitting today. Answer yes, and they will pull open a fitting room to reveal a classy bar within that gives off Kingsman vibes.
It’s like going on a mission to uncover a secret lair, except your prize is a menu full of intricately concocted cocktails.
Price range: $$$
Crowd favourites: You’re not short of intriguing options here — the bar’s latest menu features a myriad of drinks inspired by different countries throughout Asia, ranging from the makgeoli-focused A Farmer’s Bliss (S$25) to the wabi-sabi (S$25) that uses an unorthodox component in wasabi.
3. The Store
11 Neil Road
Open: Tuesday to Saturday (4pm to 12am)
Why visit? The Store is a bar that’s hidden in plain sight. You’d hardly know it’s there, if not for a nondescript blue wooden door nestled against a grey wall and its unassuming name in small letters located right next to it. There’s an easel beside the door, but it’s not particularly conspicuous unless you stop to read it.
A stone’s throw away from the new Maxwell MRT station, the cryptically plain facade belies an intimate hidden bar that serves up experimental cocktails. While it started off as a well-kept secret among regulars, it has now earned itself a sizeable following, thanks to its affordable happy hour deals of S$11 per craft cocktail.
Price range: $$
Crowd favourites: Don’t. Miss. Out. On. Happy. Hour. S$11 for a taste of the viral negroni sbagliato or a criminally smooth ginger gimlet? You’re not getting better deals anywhere else.
If you decide to stay past 6pm, when the restaurant-bar’s two-hour-long happy hour ends, you can also delve into its main menu that contains original inventions such as the Tito’s Twisties sour (Tito’s vodka infused with Twisties, lemon, syrup and saline, S$25). The seafood options in its food menu are worth a shot, too.
28 Hongkong Street
Open: Sunday to Wednesday (6pm to 1am), Thursday to Saturday (6pm to 2am)
Why visit? If we were to trace Singapore’s burgeoning speakeasy bar trend back to one source, 28 HongKong Street will no doubt be a top candidate to stake its claim as the godfather of Singapore speakeasies.
The legendary bar has been in operation since 2011 and continues to draw crowds on weekends. It’s located within a nondescript shophouse that doesn’t give much away, with the party clandestinely contained behind the vintage doors that always stay shut.
But its newly minted status at number 24 in this year’s Asia 50 Best Bars list says enough about the great time you’d be in for.
Price range: $$$
Crowd favourites: It’s hard to single out popular drinks, for this legendary speakeasy bar has a new menu that’s a rather creative one. Tipples are segmented into four stylistic categories: Modern speciality cocktails, fancy hotel bar libations, no-frills dive bar booze and iconic night club classics.
But if you’re looking for some decadent bar bites to go with your drinks, don’t miss out on the addictive mac and cheese balls (S$19).
19 Cecil Street, level 2
Open: Monday to Thursday (5pm to 12am), Friday and Saturday (5pm to 2am)
Why visit? Sugarhall is an iconic name in the bar scene, having originally operated out of Amoy Street, beside its sibling concept Jigger & Pony, Singapore’s top bar and number two on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list.
Sugarhall shuttered in 2018 when Jigger & Pony moved out of the location to make a new home at Amara Hotel. But as they say, good things come to those who wait — Sugarhall returned in 2022, much to the delight of its old fans.
This time, the rum-focused pub-themed concept is hidden away on the second floor of sister brand Rosemead, only accessible through a surreptitiously marked staircase at the side of the heritage building.
Price range: $$$
Crowd favourites: As the bar prides itself on its selection of rum, there’s no doubt that the signature Dark & Stormy (XO rum, dark sugar lime and ginger beer, S$23) is a must-order.
Besides that, Sugarhall has also rolled out a fun new “Not Too Sweet” menu that consists of several locally infused drinks, such as the BBT-inspired boba razzi (S$24) and short & stout (S$25) that takes its cues from the childhood-favourite root beer float.
6. The Dragon Chamber
2 Circular Road
Open: Tuesday to Sunday (11am to 3pm, 5pm to 10.30pm)
Why visit? The Dragon Chamber is probably one of the worst kept secrets of Boat Quay. At this point, most foodies in Singapore are already aware of this secret hidden bar and restaurant in Singapore, behind the beer fridge at its deceptive old-school coffee shop facade.
Once you step into the hidden chamber, you’ll be greeted with a mix of modish retro touches and edgy street-style. The food here is as off-kilter as the decor suggests — traditional Chinese flavours are unconventionally reimagined and you can even indulge in a taste of the lesser-seen American-Chinese dishes.
Price range: $$$
Crowd favourites: The familiar fusion twists are the bread and butter of Dragon Chamber, with dishes such as wagyu truffle beef hor fun (S$32) earning them rave reviews.
But if you’re an adventurous foodie, you wouldn’t want to miss out on rare options — that are not for the faint-hearted — such as the dragon claw (braised crocodile foot, S$66) and d*** soup (chicken and pork-based herbal soup that’s double boiled for six hours with crocodile penis, S$30).
7. Ume San 100
Fortune Centre, 02-07, 190 Middle Road
Open: Monday to Friday (11.30am to 2.30pm, 5pm to 11pm), Saturday (5pm to 11pm), Sunday (5pm to 10am)
Why visit? Most people would have been made aware of Ume San 100 when it first blew up on social media a few months back. This Fortune Centre hidden bar has one big selling point — it’s cleverly hidden behind a row of “vending machines” that look like they belong in the streets of Japan.
Besides the Instagram-worthy facade, this viral hidden bar in Singapore also has a unique specialisation as the only bar in Singapore that focuses on Umeshu (Japanese plum wine).
Price range: $$
Crowd favourites: This viral hidden bar offers a diverse array of bar bites. Some crowd favourites include the addictive garlic chicken karaage (S$16) and The Uni is the Bomb! (S$14 for two pieces) — a croquette that splits open to release a deluge of creamy uni-flavoured filling.
8. Sago House
40B Sago Street
Open: Tuesday to Sunday (6pm to 12am)
Why visit? Sago House has been all the rage in the Singapore bar scene since it first opened in 2020, especially due to its idiosyncratic trait of changing up its menu every single week.
It enjoyed the meteoric rise in global stature and has constantly represented Singapore on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list, coming in at No 10 this year. In many ways, it’s the perfect embodiment of a speakeasy-style bar.
Furtively situated on the top floor of a Chinatown shophouse, this hidden bar is only accessible when you head through an inconspicuous door and wind your way up three flights of dingy stairs. Many passers-by wouldn’t even realise they’d just walked past it.
Price range: $$
Crowd favourites: Sago House has no menu. Well, it does, but it changes up every week and that’s part of the fun. Just check Instagram for the week’s poison.
From S$20 per drink, you can get everything from wacky Thai-milk-tea-inspired cocktails to hard-hitting negronis. You could even request for a bespoke drink! Let the talented bartenders there surprise you — they rarely disappoint.
9. Cat Bite Club
75 Duxton Road
Open: Monday to Saturday (5pm to 12am)
Why visit? Cat Bite Club is the newest kid on the block in the Singapore cocktail bar scene but it’s already one to watch. After all, it’s the latest venture of Jess Vida, formerly the head bartender at Atlas, which took the 27th spot on this year’s Asia’s 50 Best Bars list.
This secret bar in Singapore specialises in agave spirits — referring to tequila and mezcal — and operates out of a curtain-obscured section at the back of Duxton’s Monument Coffee. This unpretentious hole-in-the-wall (look out for a neon-lit grinning Cheshire cat) is a place made for those seeking a fun, clandestine hideout.
Price range: $$$
Crowd favourites: Having just launched in June, the jury is still out on this bar’s signatures. But if what social media fans say is true, its take on the punchy classic of Vieux Carre (rye whiskey, cognac, sweet vermouth, benedictine and bitters, S$28) is one of the best in town.
10. The Bank
46 Craig Road
Open: Monday to Thursday (11.30am to 11pm), Friday and Saturday (11.30am to 11.59pm), Sunday (11.30am to 8pm)
Why visit? Those familiar with the now-defunct Burger Bar New York at Gemmill Lane would be thrilled to hear of this new burger bar — it’s run by a team made up of the brand’s former general manager and several team members.
The Bank is not a speakeasy bar or even well-hidden per se, since its facade is marked by a striking neon sign, but the front door tries its hardest to disguise itself as an ATM. The machine is not operational, though — so you’re out of luck if you’re in need of some spare cash.
Price range: $$
Crowd favourites: Burger lovers would want to sink their teeth into the signature New York-style burgers for themselves, due to the team’s affiliation with one of the most famous burger bar brands in the world.
Using hand-butchered 100% prime Angus beef in the patties, a single signature cheeseburger goes for S$18.80 and a double goes for S$26.80. For drinks, there’s an assortment of specially curated craft beers on tap, which are kept on rotation to encourage return visits.
11. The Hidden Story
115A East Coast Road
Open: Monday to Saturday (6pm to 12am)
Located right above steak specialist Stirling Steakhouse, it’s only accessible through an entrance at the back of the restaurant — one that’s hidden behind its meat freezer door.
Enter it, make your way up the stairs, and you’d find yourself in a swanky bar and lounge that draws inspiration from the rich Peranakan heritage of the neighbourhood. The highlight is its Onyx bar top that’s prominently wrapped with Peranakan tiles.
Price range: $$$
Crowd favourites: Paying homage to the culture-rich Katong area, The Hidden Story’s menu is packed with local inflections, with drinks such as Peranakan Enclave (S$22), a dry gin with rose and lychee notes that bring to mind the motifs of Peranakan ceramic tiles. Customers can also pick the bartenders’ brains by requesting for bespoke (S$25) beverages.
12. Underdog Inn
115 Amoy Street, along Gemmill Lane, 01-03
Open: Tuesday to Saturday (5pm to 12am)
Why visit? Underdog Inn is one of the more popular new bar openings in Singapore this year, given that it’s a new concept opened by the folks operating Sago House. Like Sago House, this is a bar that doesn’t take itself too seriously and is suited for the bon vivants looking to paint the town red.
Its “hidden bar” speakeasy factor lies in its unique location at the less-travelled back alleys of Gemmill Lane, where Burger Bar New York once stood.
Price range: $$$$
Crowd favourites: Featuring an open-fire grill in the kitchen, Underdog Inn’s signatures are its smoky proteins, such as the smoked beef neck (S$40) served with kimchi.
The hidden bar in Singapore also follows a “nose-to-tail” practice, which sees many unique off-cuts turned into dishes that go on its ever-changing specials menu. Don’t forget to try one of its experimental cocktails, too. The Only If You Want It (S$25) is a citrusy, tangy thirst quencher featuring blanco tequila and espadin.
Alternatively, you can book a ride to explore the hidden bars in Singapore mentioned in the article.