A first look at Rails, Tanjong Pagar’s newest bar that’s perfect as a hideout from reality

PHOTO: PHOTO: Rails

Step into Rails and you will immediately get whisked away from normalcy.

With its old-world vibes, eccentric decor, well-curated house music and adventurous cocktails, it's easy to lose track of the days and time at this newly established bar and lounge at Tanjong Pagar.

Entertainment and lifestyle group A Phat Cat Collective, which is behind thematic bars Nineteen80 and Pinball Wizard, was initially scheduled to open Rails as a bar and dance club in April last year.

However, the pandemic threw them off their track. After almost a year of pivoting and strategising, the team finally launched Rails as a dining and drinking spot.

The concave tunnel wall that makes up Rails' bar is reminiscent of an underground railway. PHOTO: Rails

"But we're still holding on to our @railsclub identity on our social media platforms; we're hoping that we can go back to our original plan of Rails as a dance club one day!" Francesca Way, co-founder of A Phat Cat Collective, shared with us.

Inspired by Tanjong Pagar Railway Station and Jinrikisha Station (the historic, triangular brick building along Neil Road) within its locale, Rails is reminiscent of the iconic Platform 9 ¾ of the Harry Potter series — especially with the brick tunnel wall that makes up the bar.

PHOTO: AsiaOne/Lynette Phua

Even some of their cocktail names stick to the railway theme.

El Chepe ($22), named after the iconic Mexican railway, has a distinct trip of smokiness, tart and a delicate sweetness with its mezcal, tequila blanco, yuzu, raw honey and lemon blend.

Another one is Murder On The Orient Express ($25) — an ominous beauty at first glance with a gentle liquorice profile from its lace of absinthe, and vibrant notes of pineapple and orange.

If you are looking to challenge the bartenders at Rails, the Murder On The Orient Express should be your go-to order.

Rails' bartender carefully concocting the Murder On The Orient Express. PHOTO: AsiaOne/Lynette Phua

"It's the most difficult drink to replicate every single time because of the distinct layers this drink entails," the bartender at Rails revealed.

On the other end of the concoction spectrum, yet the most interesting one is the Pei Pa Koa cocktail, also known as the Apothecary ($24) on the menu.

Rails' railway-inspired cocktails - Murder On The Orient Express and Apothecary. PHOTO: Rails

Concocted with an array of libations without borders, the Apothecary is made with a cognac, amaro and has a familiar oriental and minty aftertaste.

Yes, cognac and Pei Pa Koa go perfectly well with each other (we were surprised too).

And of course, the bar experience would not feel complete without some delectable bar bites, which are provided by Chix Hot Chicken — a famed fried chicken joint opened by singer Taufik Batisah.

Chix Hot Chicken's Soul Slider and Dirty Taters took our soul away. PHOTOS: Rails

Rails' next-door neighbour dishes out Nashville style fried chicken in varying menu items such as Soul Slider, a fried chicken sandwich with smoky 'pink' sauce, and Dirty Taters, a medley of potato tater tots, fried chicken bits covered in cheddar and gouda sauce, and a touch of their Comeback sauce for some heat.

Following chi-maek (Korean for fried chicken and beer), we're calling c&c the next big thing. Forrails though, cocktails and (fried) chicken, anyone?

Address: 21 Tanjong Pagar Road, #01-02, Singapore 088444

lynette@asiaone.com