The Bar Awards Singapore 2018 Results: The Best Bartenders and Bars In The Lion City

It’s that time of the year again to decide the who’s who in Singapore’s bar scene – and darn if it wasn’t a close competition. The results, which was released at The Bar Awards Party at Zouk last night, were surprising for some, and not so much for others. What’s clear is that so many years on, the camaraderie among the pub crawlers in the drinks industry has grown strong and tight. But you’re not here to hear us ramble on: here are the deets!

The Bar Awards Luminaries:

Michael D Callahan (Employees Only)
Din Hassan (Telok Ayer Art Club)
Colin Chia (Nutmeg & Clove)

Presented by House of Angostura

Surprise, surprise: The Bar Awards Luminaries is a brand new category celebrating the individuals and groups that have greatly contributed to the development and growth of Singapore’s bar community. And the inaugural inductees? We have Michael D Callahan, the charismatic founder behind the city’s original secret bar, 28 HongKong Street (he’s taken up the reins at Employees Only); Colin Chia, CEO of ESTB Group (whose venues include award-winning bars like Nutmeg & Clove Singapore & #FindTHeLockerRoom Bangkok) and former APAC Commercial Head of DIAGEO Global Reserve; as well as Din Hassan, the veteran bartender behind spots like The Manor and Telok Ayer Art Club.

The Rising Star: Ronan Keilthy, 28 HongKong Street

Presented by Perrier

Who doesn’t love new blood? Ronan Keilthy from 28 HongKong Street is this year’s ‘The Rising Star’, having served as a key member of the world-renowned bar, as well as the now defunct Crackerjack. At the moment, you’ll find him shaking up a tipsy storm at both 28 HongKong Street and Junior The Pocket Bar.

Other nominees who made the Top 10 list:

2. Jayden Ong – Fancy
3. Cherrie Soh – Caffe Fernet
4. Bai Jia Wei – Employees Only
5. Reena Rivera Mahendra – 28 Hongkong Street
6. Jon Lee – Tippling Club
7. Benedict Poh – formerly Employees Only
8. Lee Pan Ying – Nutmeg & Clove
9. David Quek – Nutmeg & Clove
10. Demitria Dana Paramita – Anti:dote

Best Restaurant Bar: Caffe Fernet

Presented by Restaurant, Pub & Bar Asia (RPB Asia)

We can’t help but love Caffe Fernet, and evidently The Bar Awards jury feels the same way. The six-month-old restaurant and bar along the Singapore River has been immensely popular among the corporate crowd for its top notch Italian-influenced cocktails (it’s run by The Jigger & Pony Group) and bar grub. Did we mention they make a mean cacio e pepe too?

Other nominees who made the Top 10 list:

2. Tipping Club
3. Burnt Ends
4. Neon Pigeon
5. Origin Grill & Bar (Shangri-La Hotel Singapore)
6. Tess Bar & Kitchen
7. Humpback
8. Panamericana
9. Waku Ghin (Marina Bay Sands)
10. CUT by Wolfgang Puck (Marina Bay Sands)

Best Beer Bar: Smith Street Taps

Presented by Peroni

For the second year running, Smith Street Taps is yet again Singapore’s best beer bar – well, technically it was called ‘Best Beer Experience’ last year. This joint is as casual as it gets, surrounded by an endless number of food options (it’s practically in a hawker centre), passionate and knowledgeable staff, and a spectacularly curated array of quality beers.

Other nominees who made the Top 10 list:

2. American Taproom
3. The Guild
4. Freehouse
5. Ice Cold Beer
6. Druggists
7. Good Luck Beerhouse
8. Alchemist Beer Lab
9. The 1925 Brewing Co.
10. Mikkeller Bar

Best Wine Bar: RVLT

Presented by Restaurant, Pub & Bar Asia (RPB Asia)

Think of RVLT (short for “revolution”, of course) as an oasis for wines in our concrete jungle. Which is not to say it’s a snobby place – there is no pretence and no judgement, only a shared love for quality, sustainably-produce, and natural wines, from grower champagnes to an amphora-aged Zibbibo.

Other nominees who made the Top 10 list:

2. Le Bon Funk
3. La Terre
4. Atlas
5. Praelum Wine Bistro
6. Wine Connection (all locations)
7. Les Amis
8. Que Pasa
9. 13% Gastro Wine
10. Le Pin Wine Bar

Best Specialist Concept: ATLAS

Presented by Diplomatico

More than 1000: that’s the number of gin labels that can be found at ATLAS. Located inside Parkview Square, Atlas makes full use of its fabulous Art Deco surroundings to present a grandiose bar experience for rare gins, from London Drys from as far back as 1910 to the best modern craft gins from the far corners of the world!

Other nominees who made the Top 10 list:

2. Orihara Shoten
3. The Auld Alliance
4. The Secret Mermaid
5. Native
6. Flagship
7. Maison du Whisky
8. The Wall
9. The Writing Club
10. Kiharu

Best Beverage Event: Singapore Cocktail Festival

Presented by Melbourne Moonshine

There’s no shortage of drinks and alcohol events in Singapore, and from them all, Singapore Cocktail Festival has taken ‘Best Beverage Event’. As Asia’s largest celebration of mixology, we saw some 25 bar pop-ups, 20 artisanal spirits tasting booths, and 15 celebrity guest bartenders arriving from overseas with over 15,000 in attendance numbers.

Other nominees who made the Top 10 list:

2. Asia’s 50 Best Bars
3. Whisky Live Singapore
4. Gin Jubilee Singapore
5. Diageo World Class Singapore
6. Bacardi Legacy Singapore
7. Fastest Hands in the East
8. Food & Hotel Asia
9. Beerfest Asia
10. Dram Club II (Ricky Paiva vs Matthew Fergusson-Stewart)

Best Education and Community Ambassador: Matthew Fergusson-Stewart (William Grant & Sons)

Presented by Altos

Want to learn more about Scotch whisky? Then Matthew Fergusson Stewart is your guy. The Brand Ambassador for Glenfiddich has an impressive knowledge and an even greater passion for the stuff, and if the folks at The Bar Awards has anything to say about it, he’s officially the ‘Best Education and Community Ambassador’.

Other nominees who made the Top 10 list:

2. Jay Gray – William Grant & Sons
3. Denise Khan Tan – Bacardi
4. Chris Marshall – Distilled
5. Zac De Git – Pernod Ricard
6. Neil Strachan – William Grant & Son
7. Aubrey Sim – Diageo
8. Chloe Wood – Remy Cointreau
9. Joe Alessandroni  -Proof & Company
10. Rhyse Borland – Pernod Ricard

Best Hospitality Ambassador: Guoyi Gan (Jigger & Pony Group)

Presented by Fever-Tree

There’s no doubt that Gan Guoyi of the Jigger & Pony Group knows a thing or two about hospitality. After all, she was a flight attendant with Singapore Airlines for five years. She now inspires her staff to deliver the utmost experience for customers – because it’s the little things that make a different, isn’t it?

Other nominees who made the Top 10 list:

2. Vijay Mudaliar – Native
3. Sim Sze Wei – Atlas
4. Steve Scheneider – Employees Only
5. Anthony Zhong – Shin Gi Tai
6. Colin Chia – Nutmeg & Clove
7. Cedric Mendoza – Manhattan
8. Bannie Kang – Anti:dote, Fairmont Singapore
9. Andrew Yap – Neon Pigeon
10. Bai Jia Wei – Employees Only

Best Hospitality Team: Manhattan (Regent Singapore)

Presented by Hendrick’s Gin

The drinks at a bar might be amazing, but if you don’t feel welcome, there’s really no desire to return, is there? When it comes to good old fashioned hospitality, it’s difficult to beat Manhattan bar, which feels as cozy as it gets.

Other nominees who made the Top 10 list:

2. Atlas
3. Employees Only
4. Jigger & Pony
5. 28 HongKong Street
6. Tess Bar & Kitchen
8. Skinny’s Lounge
9. Bitters & Love
10. Nutmeg & Clove

Most Creative Cocktail Program: Tippling Club

Presented by Cointreau

With its ultra-progressive drinks menu (think cocktail-infused gummy bears and fragrance strips), is there really any wonder why the Tippling Club deserves this title? Edgy and creative, the bar’s lauded Sensorium menu means you’ll never see cocktails the same way again.

Other nominees who made the Top 10 list:

2. Native
3. Operation Dagger
4. Smoke & Mirrors
5. The Other Room
6. Fancy
7. Nutmeg & Clove
8. Gibson
9. Bar Stories
10. Bitters & Love

Best New Bar: Origin Grill & Bar (Shangri-La Hotel Singapore)

Presented by Campari

Origin Bar is headed by Bar Manager and Slovakian native, Adam Bursik (formerly of The Library), and his creations are outstanding. Inspired by five key districts around Singapore, each cocktail reflects the colours, flavours, and anecdotes of different neighbourhoods. No wonder it’s so popular among not just tourists and hotel guests, but also us booze-loving locals.

Other nominees who made the Top 10 list:

2. Caffe Fernet
3. Fancy
4. Le Bon Funk
5. Panamericana
6. The Guild
7. American Taproom
8. Amrith by BarSmiths
9. Sumo Bar Happy
10. Rogue Trader

Bartender of the Year: Vijay Mudaliar (Native)

Presented by Monkey Shoulder

Vijay Mudaliar is ‘Bartender of the Year’ … once again! It’s not difficult to fathom why – the young bartender shook up the Singapore bar scene last year when he opened up Native, a unique concept bar that focuses on wild ingredients foraged from around the island. Since then, he’s led his team to the 47th spot on The World’s 50 Best Bars with his groundbreaking concoctions.

Other nominees who made the Top 10 list:

2. Sim Sze Wei – Atlas
3. Jerrold Khoo – Jigger & Pony Group
4. Anthony Zhong – Shin Gi Tai
5. Bannie Kang – Anti:dote, Fairmont Singapore
6. Yugnes Susela – Smoke & Mirrors
7. Peter Chua – Junior
8. Boo Jing Heng – Tess Bar & Kitchen
9. Adam Bursik – Origin Grill & Bar, Shangri-La Hotel Singapore
10. Bai Jia Wei – Employees Only

Bar of the Year: Manhattan (Regent Singapore)

Presented by Mekhong, the Spirit of Thailand

And there you have it. The award-winning Manhattan has retained its ‘Bar of the Year’ title for two years running, and for good reason too: a grand New York glamour setting and outstanding hospitality coupled with artisanal spirits, classic and forgotten cocktails, as well as a remarkable collection of housemade ingredients. Surely impressive, don’t you think?

Other nominees who made the Top 10 list:

2. Atlas
3. Native
4. Tippling Club
5. Employees Only
6. Jigger & Pony
7. Gibson
8. 28 HongKong Street
10. Nutmeg & Clove

Gary Lim

Deputy Editor

Gary is one of those proverbial jack of all trades… you know the rest. When not writing about lifestyle and culture, he dabbles in photography, graphic design, plays four instruments and is a professional wearer of bowties. His greatest weakness: spending more money on clothes than he probably should. Find him across the social world as @grimlay