Singapore has long been a destination for anyone wanting to travel to Asia. In 2016, over 16 million tourists made their way to Singapore — which is three times the country’s population! Recently ,the Singaporean cocktail scene has exploded, along with a must-check-out nightlife, and not-to-be-missed food. Check out our travel guide to Singapore!
Breakfast & Coffee & More
From $5 dosa with temple views to $150 Champagne brunch, there are many delicious ways to start the day. Singaporean local coffee is best experienced in a kopitiam (traditional Chinese coffee cafes). Nanyang Old Coffee, a local coffee chain, provides this handy guide to specifying your coffee order. Here’s the shorthand:
- “Kopi O Kosong”: Black coffee
- “Kopi”: Coffee with sugar and condensed milk
- “Kopi Peng”: Coffee with sugar and condensed milk over ice
Kopitiam are all over the city, and many serve the Singaporean traditional breakfast of soft-boiled egg and toast with butter and kaya (coconut) jam. For a fourth-generation secret kopi recipe, head to Tong Ah Eating House (36 Keong Saik Road).
A classic kopitiam with a traditional breakfast. For a truly traditional cup, head to Hua Bee Restaurant, one of the few cafes to serve old-school Singaporean butter kopi — coffee with butter melted in. For an atmospheric kopi, try Chin Mi Chin Confectionary (204 East Coast Road), where you’ll get kopi served in a prewar shophouse.
But you can also get what’s known as Australian coffee in Singapore. The influx of Aussie expats in Singapore has meant an influx of excellent coffee. Order a flat white or long black with your brunch at Common Man Coffee Roaster (22 Martin Road) where you’ll get fantastic coffee and fantastic brunch. You can’t go wrong with the Turkish Common Man Breakfast or Organic Eggs Benedict. Also check out Yoga Movement upstairs and do a hot class beforehand!
Or, you can head to Luxe (1 Keong Saik Road) for a beautiful atmosphere. The Working Capitol is next door if you want to rent out some funky workspace for the day. You can also head to Forty Hands (78 Yong Siak Street) for great coffee in Tiong Bahru — one of the most hipster neighborhoods on earth. Browse Books Actually across the street, a great independent bookshop. Then head to Plain Vanilla (1D Yong Siak Street) for all the post-brunch cupcakes.
For some of the city’s best coffee (they serve nothing else), head to Nylon Coffee Roasters (4 Everton Park). Be sure to get a Chinese foot massage at Bien Etre Blind Massage (6 Everton Park) right around the corner. For the best laksa (a Malaysian-Peranakan-Singaporean coconut breakfast broth), try 328 Katong Laksa (51 East Coast Road) and Depot Road Zhen Shan Mei Claypot Laksa (Blk 120 Bukit Merah Lane 1).
Want free-flow Champagne in a lavish hotel restaurant? Singapore can easily provide. Many top hotels offer a set, all-you-can-eat-drink brunch on the weekends. Two standouts are Basilico (Regent Singapore Four Seasons Hotel), for $135 SGD per person (just under $100 in U.S. currency). A Michelin-recommended restaurant, the Basilico Sunday Brunch comes with free-flow Prosecco and a buffet seafood bar and grill station. Or head to Brassierie Las Saveurs (Regis Hotel Singapore) for their Champagne Brunch at $195 SGD per person ($140 U.S. dollars).
They offer a complimentary hour of aperitifs and canapés, then free-flow Champagne, live jazz, sashimi, and seafood, all in a gorgeous, elegant setting.
You can get dim sum any time of day in Singapore, but brunch is the traditional time to feast on these Cantonese small bites. Try Sweet Choon (183-191 Jalan Besar), Tak Po (42 Smith Streeet), or Tim Ho Wan (12 Kallang Avenue) if you want your dim sum cheap & cheerful.
Try Mitzo (Level 4 Grand Park, 270 Orchard Road) if you want your dim sum upscale and trendy. Try the weekend brunch to pair dim sum with free-flow bubbles.
Dosa & Chai
Want a traditional South Indian breakfast for under $10? Check out these spots in Little India for dosa and masala chai.
MRT 1924 (438 Serangoon Road)
Sakunthalas (151 Dunlop Street)
Tekka Market (665 Buffalo Road. A market and hawker center serving not just dosa but for all types of Indian food.)
When finished, be sure explore the Little India neighborhood — one of the liveliest in Singapore and home to beautiful South Indian temples, such as Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple.
Singapore has a high tax on alcohol and drinks tend to be pricey. But through some hunting and happy hours, there are ways to get around it. Here are some local spots where you can get your drink on without spending a fortune.
- For casual craft beers, head to Smith Street Taps (335 Smith Street) tucked away in the Chinatown Complex. Stroll the Chinatown Night Market afterward.
- For shaken-not-stirred, check out the beautiful Peranakan-designed 5 Emerald Hill (5 Emerald Hill Road) for their 1-for-1 martini Monday nights. They also serve free tapas!
- More Martinis? Martini Bar at Mezza9 (Grand Hyatt Singapore, 10 Scotts Road) has half-off from 4-9. Get the lychee Martini.
- For the most reasonably priced wine in Singapore, Wine Connection (multiple locations) and Drinks and Co. (44 Club Street) have fun vibes in central locations.
- For a $5 dollar beer: Check out one of the Five Izakaya Bars (multiple locations).
- For free drinks with a view: Women should head to Ce La Vie (1 Bayfront Avenue, Marina Bay Sands) and Lantern (80 Collyer Quay) on Wednesday nights — it’s Ladies Night and women drink free. It features spectacular views.
- For some of the strongest drinks and biggest bang for your buck: Check out Tantric (78 Neil Road) the city’s most popular unofficial gay bar.
If you want to go all-out, however, here are some cocktails worth your while:
- For live jazz and downtown vibes, go to Blu Jazz Singapore’s (11 Bali Lane) in Singapore’s Arab Quarter. Best to get some Thai-Indonesian at Bumbu (44 Kandahar Street) or Lebanese at Beirut Grill (72 Bussorah St) for dinner beforehand.
- For the city’s best Singapore Sling, go to Jigger and Pony (101 Amoy Street. Also named one of the best bars in the world.)
- For the city’s most historical Singapore Sling, check out the Long Bar (Raffles Hotel, 1 Beach Road) where the drink was originally invented. Take in the perfectly recreated colonial atmosphere and throw peanut shells on the floor, a la Somerset Maugham.
- For good vibes and better drinks: Spiffy Dapper (73 Amoy Street), Bago Rum Bar (2 Jiak Chuan Road), or Bitters & Love (118 Telok Ayer Street)
- If you like your cocktails swanky and speakeasy-style: 28 Hong Kong Street (28 Hong Kong Street. No store sign, just a unit number), Jekyll and Hyde (49 Tras Street. Look closer at that nail salon), The Library (47 Keong Saik Road. You don’t actually need to know the password, just sing the door girl a song!), Employees Only (112 Amoy Street. Hint: There is no psychic behind that Psychic sign).
- For daytime drinks with a side of beach: Go to Tanjong Beach Club (120 Tanjong Beach Walk), a Sentosa staple. Have a laid-back sundowner during the week, or party on Sundays, where an all-day crowd congregates over beach volleyball and beer pong.