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    Where to Drink in Singapore Right Now
    Singapore is in the midst of a minor cocktail shakeup. Gone are the over-the-top (but not totally dialed-in) drinks. Step into one of newer bars in the downtown core and you might find a laksa-inspired savory cocktail—or a crisp gin martini. One of the key figures in this shift: Peter Chua, bartender in residence at the legendary 28 HongKong Street, who has been named Singapore’s best bartender several times over in both local and international beverage competitions. In other words, when it comes to shaking and stirring, you can trust what he has to say (and pour).
    Photo courtesy of Operation Dagger
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    Where the Bartenders Drink
    “We now have neighborhoods where there are five good bars on the same block! However, there are only two bars—Skinny’s Lounge and Employees Only Singapore—that have a last call that’s later than 28HKS. I find myself gravitating to both of those places.

    “I usually have a shot of something at Skinny’s along with a La Paloma (tequila, lime juice, and grapefruit soda with a pinch of salt). At EOSG [Employees Only Singapore], my typical order is a couple of beers and a negroni or a daiquiri, followed by a cheeky shot of something. Many nights I tend to find my way back to 28HKS. Nothing beats the feeling of being home.”
    Photo courtesy of Employees Only Singapore
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    BEST Ginza-Style (Japanese) Bar
    D. Bespoke: “The boys here execute their classic cocktails with precision and pride. Have a clean and crisp Dry Gin Martini.”
    Photo courtesy of D. Bespoke
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    Sugarhall: “Fancy a bar that plays Bob Marley x Wu Tang remixes and houses an impressive collection of rum/ron/rhum? Sugarhall is your place. Order a rum-based old fashioned made with whatever the bartender recommends.”
    Photo courtesy of Sugarhall
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    Manhattan Bar in the Regent Singapore hotel: “I would get the light and refreshing Primavera (curaçao, rum, pineapple, mint, and lime).”
    Photo courtesy of the Manhattan Bar
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    Best Experimental Bar
    Operation Dagger: “Get a Hot & Cold. It is a sinful combination of warm and cold drinks that loosely resembles a piña colada with notes of white chocolate and spice.”
    Photo courtesy of Operation Dagger
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    Vasco: “A bar based on the culture and flavors of Latin America. I’d order a pisco sour made with Campo de Encanto Moscatel pisco.”
    Photo courtesy of Vasco
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    Oxwell & Co: “All of their cocktails are on tap so you never really have to wait for a drink. Get their version of a piña colada, which uses local pineapple-tart filling for added richness and serves it with caramelized coconut cream on top.”
    Photo courtesy of Oxwell
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    What He Likes to Pour
    “I am happy to make anything within my abilities as long as I am able to keep my guests happy. Honest! If they don’t have a specific preference, I reach for a nice tequila or mezcal as a starting point. I love turning people on to the beauty and sophistication of artisanal agave spirits and doing my part to rehabilitate the bad reputation tequila still has in this part of the world.”
    Photo courtesy of 28HKS
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    The Next Big Thing
    “We’re hard at work on a new project," Chua says. "I’ll be running the bar program (along with Zac de Git) at the Crackerjack, an all-day dining and drinking spot opening this fall. We want to get away from the pretense and stuffiness associated with speakeasy-style bars and show folks you can have great food and drinks in a laidback, approachable venue without breaking the bank.

    “We’re also working on a 10-seat pocket bar, Junior, where we will share stuff we love with a few folks at a time. The menu concept will change a few times per year, letting us take a deep dive into one area of interest at a time. The first concept, Norma, will explore traditional agave spirits. We’ve curated a world-class collection of tequila and mescal from traditional, independent producers across Mexico.”
    Photo by Jeff Rumans Photography
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    What's Next...
    Photo courtesy of Ace Hotel DTLA

Where to Drink in Singapore Right Now

From laksa-inspired cocktails to a very Singaporean take on the piña colada