Cocktails are calling your name, and when they beckon from a place with a stunning view, it’s near impossible to say no. Whether you’re in the mood for cozy first date drinks, after-work toasts at a hip hangout, or breezy alfresco joints overlooking the familiar Singapore skyline, these rooftop bars on the island are solid spots for some merrymaking.
When a place calls itself the highest alfresco bar in the world, you should probably add it to your bucket list of hangouts, even if it’s just for a one-time experience. Sitting above nightclub Altimate and restaurant Stellar, 1-Altitude Gallery & Bar is where you can take in glorious sunsets and panoramic sights of the city center, with a cocktail in hand and a backdrop of DJ beats.
L63, One Raffles Place. 6438-0410. Mon, Tues, Thurs & Sun 6pm-2am, Wed, Fri & Sat 6pm-4am.
From its prime CBD location on top of a heritage building, So Sofitel’s bar is a luxe escape from the bustle of office workers on the streets below. Its name comes from the year the hotel’s neo-classical building was constructed, and its drinks line-up takes you through the evolution of tropical cocktails.
When you’re not busy munching on nibbles like Confit Eggplant and Barcelona Bikini washed down with boozy beverages, you can lounge on rattan sofas or take a dip in the infinity-edged pool to watch the sun drift down over the horizon.
So Sofitel Singapore, 35 Robinson Rd. 6701-6800. Mon-Fri 5pm-2am, Sat-Sun 2pm-2am.
Take a breather from the shopping crowds of Orchard Road and head up to the alfresco spot that is Bar Canary in Grand Park Orchard. It swaps out cityscape views for privacy with a wall that blocks off the streets, but the chill garden setting makes you feel like you’re ensconced in a lush space. One where you can cool off from the heat with tropical-themed alcoholic popsicle sticks infused with a splash of spirits like tequila, rum, and sake.
L4 Grand Park Orchard, 270 Orchard Rd. 6603-8855. Sun-Thurs noon-1am, Fri-Sat noon-2am.
A favorite of the drinks-after-work types, this bar finds its home along the waterfront, tricked out in edgy graffiti and hanging lamps. Casual vibes abound at the open-air deck, where you get prime views of the Marina Bay area, complete with colorful fireworks during festive seasons. While you’re snacking on Japanese bar bites, sample the sakes and plum wines, or sip on cocktails made with umeshu and shochu.
#02-02 Customs House, 70 Collyer Quay. 6533-3471. Mon-Thurs 5pm-midnight, Fri-Sat 5pm-2am.
Named after the moniker locals gave to the 1933 Clifford Pier for its red oil lamp hung out to alert ships cruising into the harbor, the stylish space features trails of greenery, an infinity lap pool, and glittering vistas of Marina Bay.
To keep from burning a hole in your pocket (this is a plush hotel bar, after all), pop by for daily happy hours between 11am and 6pm, or round up your girls for a free flow of vodka on Wednesday ladies’ nights from 8pm to 9pm.
The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore, 80 Collyer Quay. 6333-8388. Sun-Thurs 10am-1am, Fri-Sat 10am-2am.
Its name means “forest” in Mandarin, and an evening here feels sort of like a date with Mother Nature, as the bar is fenced in by bamboo poles, pockets of greenery, and the twinkle of fairy lights to make up for the not-so-starry sky.
Lin doesn’t offer much of a view, but to make up for the lack, it makes for a quiet respite in Tiong Bahru, nestled away from the café-hopping set. Asian-influenced dishes feature on the food menu, and the drinks veer in the same direction, with options like the sour plum-flavored Rustic Sky.
Link Hotel, 50 Tiong Bahru Rd. 9487-4290. Mon-Sat 5pm-1am.
Cheeky with a dash of quirk, the “looftop” is known for its hip crowd, cool DJ nights, and The Mama Shop on its grounds selling old school knick knacks and other nostalgia-tinged items.
Just as whimsical is its menu, taking Asian inspiration and infusing it into snacks like chilli crab waffle fries, cheeseburger yakitori, and the now-famous bak chor mee grilled cheese. Its love for familiar flavors seeps into drinks such as pineapple rum with kaya, lychee liqueur and rum with tapioca pearls, and honeydew melon with whisky and ginger.
#03-07 Oden Towers Extension Rooftop, 331 North Bridge Rd. 6337-9416. Sun-Thurs 5pm-1am, Fri-Sat 5pm-2am.
Taking the party to Harbourfront, where you can look out on Keppel Harbour and Sentosa, Propeller offers sunset sights and daily fireworks displays from across the waters. You may not be traveling anytime soon, but you can still savor cocktails inspired by the wonders of the world, including the Taj Mahal’s Touch My Heart, made of rum, apple sourz, mint, yogurt, milk, and kiwi, and the Eiffel Tower’s I Fear Tower, mixed with gin, bubbly, lime juice, elderflower, and orange biters.
Bay Hotel Singapore, 50 Telok Blangah Rd. 6818-6676. Sun-Thurs 5pm-midnight, Fri-Sat 5pm-2am.
It’s been four years since the sleek rooftop joint launched, and now it’s moving in a new direction with head bartender Jorge Conde, who recently joined the team earlier this year. Whipping up batches of creative concoctions for his Illusion of Flavours menu, the jolly dude thrives on experimenting with flavors and techniques in his backroom “lab”, where classic recipes are reinvented and ingredients are distilled, preserved, and fermented for unusual, complex takes on boozy drinks.
Besides paying tribute to famous artists like Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, and Vincent van Gogh, the cocktail line-up drifts from “fizzy and elegant” to “sour and neat” to “savory and umami” in six different categories, so you can easily gravitate to your preferred taste profiles. Or perhaps try something adventurous.
Highlights include The Japanese Gang is Still Alive, a whiskey sour rendition made of black sesame and black rice, rice vinegar, and aquafaba (an egg white substitute); Dali’s Self-Portrait, a Manhattan twist consisting of burnt rosemary smoke, bacon fat, and artichoke with a base of whiskey and vermouth; and Picasso’s Pencil, an intriguing mix of distilled pencil wood, smoky agave, sherry, and apple vinegar.
#06-01 National Gallery Singapore, 1 St Andrew’s Rd. 9380-6313. Mon-Thurs 3pm-1am, Fri 3pm-2am, Sat noon-2am, Sun noon-1am.
Slightly elevated above the buzz of Boat Quay, this champagne and oyster bar is a peaceful retreat, with views of the CBD and the Singapore River from its shop house vantage point. It’s minimal but comfortable; chic without being pretentious. Plus, the extensive cocktail menu lets you choose pick your poison from the likes of gin, bubbly, whisky, vodka, and rum, to pair with seafood plates or bar bites like chips and sliders.
L5, 80 Boat Quay. 6877-6965. Daily 5pm-midnight.
The folks behind restaurant/bar Sum Yi Tai and its sister concepts are all-in with their back story, framing the place as one named after the favorite wife of a powerful man. The design in the shop house is a nod to Hong Kong’s 1980s glamour, and that carries on to its rooftop bar, an intimate, alfresco haunt surrounding by towering skyscrapers, with rattan screens and imposing dragon motifs.
While you’re chilling to Canto-pop tunes, peruse the menu of whisky, beer, wine, and Asian-inspired cocktails – or saunter over to the private karaoke room to croon your lungs out.
Rooftop, 25 Boon Tat St. 6221-3665. Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm, 5pm-1am; Sat 7pm-1am.
Got tea to spill? Head to The Other Roof, helmed by the team behind The Other Room, for a catch-up sesh as you sip on tea-based cocktails in the shop house rooftop space. The bar bites of sliders, tacos, and cheese platters will keep you munching, as you wash it all down with boozy brews, which take on whimsical names like All About the Basil, made of Aloe from the Other Side tea gin, lemon, and basil, and Chocola-tea, a potent blend of latte macchiato tea vodka and chocolate liqueur.
28 Ann Siang Rd. 6100-2882. Tues-Sat 4:30pm-midnight, Sun 3pm-11pm.
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This article, Best rooftop bars in Singapore: Where to go for cocktails with a view, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!