Smoke & Mirrors


Top 10 Bespoke Bars


Cocktails have come a long way from being the domain of luxury hotel bars and shed their ever so slight kitschiness. Today’s highly specialised cocktail bars are helmed by deadly serious mixologists and ‘bar chefs’ who are more akin to social scientists mixing and shaking, stirring and muddling their way to exciting the refined palettes of even the biggest alcohol snob. But more than just creating concoctions that will thrill the cocktail illuminati, these bars now offer bespoke cocktails as either an extra service on top of their usual menu or exclusively. 

Spontaneous and highly personal, the bartenders who excel in this dark art are a combination of artisan, mind reader and daredevil. The drinks they create are like snowflakes, unique – and if your bartender is very skilled and you have articulated your desires clearly, chances are you’ll have the pleasure of drinking something that’s tailored exactly to your tastes and thirsts. The influx of top barmen from around the world and the surge of excellent local bartenders have placed Singapore on the map of the international bar scene. We cherry pick the 10 bespoke bars to treat yourself to. 

Smoke & Mirrors

A spectacular view of the Singapore skyline, an elegantly appointed locale aloft the stunningly restored Old Supreme Court Building and bespoke cocktails by renowned award-winning bartender Yugnes Susela (of Tippling Club fame) – Smoke & Mirrors doesn’t need any sleight of hand to impress, like each of its meticulously composed cocktails, it already has all the right ingredients. The thoughtfully put together menu features some with unusual ingredients (think Peking Duck fat, Trigona honey and coconut agave), drinks inspired by the canvasses in the National Gallery below it, and Susela’s own riffs on the classics. Unsurprisingly, reservations are a must. 

This adapted article was originally published in Robb Report Singapore on August 4, 2017.