Far-flung bars

 Far-flung bars

If you feel like enjoying a tipple away from the hurly burly, we check out some out-the-way options.

The Tuckshop
WHERE: 403, Guillemard Road
WHEN: Weekdays 5pm to midnight; Weekends 3pm to midnight

If you cannot get enough of the hustle and bustle of the city, then visit this hangout in Geylang.

There, you will be treated to a symphony of rumbling and whooshing as cars zip by - just a metre away - with strains of upbeat, instrumental music in the background.

The noise is part of the charm of The Tuckshop, which sees a mix of well-heeled locals and foreigners (if you want to fit in, you might want to dress up a bit, or wear an Armani singlet).

It gets crowded quickly, even on weekdays, but service remains top-notch.

The watering hole has a wide range of artisanal and craft beers and its food, such as sauteed clams, is very delicious.

Even without pictures, the menu tempts me to say "one of everything".

Beer barrels serve as tables in the open-air area. And the air is cool, thanks to the nearby Geylang River.

Parking is dicey, but it is easy to get to by taxi, which also means more opportunities to tick off the many craft beers from the list.

Immigrants
WHERE: 467, Joo Chiat Road
WHEN: 5pm to midnight daily

For people-watching, Immigrants is the bar to be at.

There is a steady stream of people from all walks of life passing by.

The gastrobar itself exudes charm missing from sleeker, glossier bars.

It is like a trip back in time, thanks to the old-school decoration and dishes.

The highlight of Immigrants has to be its food. The menu is an assortment of Chinese, Eurasian, Indian, Malay and Peranakan fare.

According to the server, the singgang (wolf herring) and beef cheek rendang are the more popular dishes.

The drinks on offer are well suited to the bar's name as they come from very far afield - craft beers, wines from boutique vineyards and even rare whiskies.

As you might guess from the location, getting a parking spot may be a little tough. Thankfully, Immigrants has a valet service which starts at about 6pm.

The place gets really crowded at about 11pm.

Check out the place in the early evening when it is relatively quiet - surprisingly, it is a good place to curl up and chill with a good book.

The Papa Shop
WHERE: 2, Kallang Avenue #01-K2 CT HUB
WHEN: Sundays and Mondays 5pm to 10pm; Tuesdays to Thursdays 5pm to 11.30pm; Fridays and Saturdays 5pm to midnight

It may not be Hollywood, but this is the place to rub shoulders with directors and producers or even catch actors downing a few drinks. Of course, we are talking local talent.

You might even have actor Keagan Kang wipe down your table.

The Code Of Law star is the co-owner of this no-frills bottle shop in Kallang. Think minimal decoration and no-frills disposable plastic cups.

It is not a bar so do not expect a food menu or Kang to serve you the drinks, but it is a friendly enough place to down a few before heading back home with your purchases or hitting the clubs.

What makes this place stand out is the friendly atmosphere. Kang knows many of his customers. And those who stick around do not stay strangers for long.

It is casual and refreshingly unpretentious.

And if you are all about the drinks, the selection of boutique booze alone makes it worth a visit. You could globetrot via beer should the mood take you.

Co-owner Fabio De Souza is a fount of knowledge when it comes to alcohol. You can put him to the test and get him to recommend something to suit your taste buds.

Bear in mind that despite the star power, this is a very basic watering hole. The food available does not extend beyond bar snacks though the management is okay with patrons bringing outside food in.

Also, expect to stand on weekends. Seating is limited.

Handlebar
WHERE: 57, Jalan Mempurong
WHEN: Tuesdays to Fridays 5pm to 1am; Weekends 3pm to 1am

This is Singapore's biker bar and has been since it came into being in late 1999.

If you do not have a ride or live nearby, it is best to go with someone who knows the bar.

It is very out of the way. The roads in do not see much traffic and the trees lining the sides serve only to intensify the fear that you are very, very lost. But persevere and you will be rewarded.

The food is fantastic - I recommend the yummy onion blossom.

Handlebar is next to the sea. Great view, but you might get welcome messages from a Malaysian phone network as my friend did.

But there is a lovely cool breeze to enjoy with your beer and snacks.

The biker aspect is no gimmick. The space between the tables outside is for bikers to park their rides.

While the decorations outside is sparse, the interior is a biker's treasure trove. Machinery and tools adorn the walls and one of the tables even has an actual motorcycle on it.

It almost feel like every item has some quirk to it. Even the salt and pepper shakers are in the shape of grenades.

Sunset Bay Garden Bistro
WHERE: 1300, East Coast Park, Carpark F2
WHEN: Mondays to Thursdays 5pm to midnight; Fridays 5pm to 1am; Saturdays 11am to 1am; Sundays 11am to midnight

It is the classic way to chill out - sitting by the sea with a cool wind blowing through your hair and a cocktail in your hand.

At Sunset Bay, the stresses of life fade away as you sip a drink and look out at the ships in the distance.

The open-air tables are lit by candlelight, which are unobtrusive, but do give a slight romantic glow that works well with the laid-back atmosphere.

Its menu has a generous selection of food and alcoholic drinks, although maybe you should go for the atmosphere more than the food. I had the Caesar salad which was only okay at best.

You will not feel cramped there as there are large gaps between tables and you are surround by greenery.

It is not too dark that you will have trouble attracting the attention of the staff. While the servers are attentive, they are a little wooden.

They also initially billed me for another table's drinks.

I have to say it was too dark for me to see the mistake at first.

That said, Sunset Bay is worth a visit. But if East Coast Park is too far away, you may want to consider the Toa Payoh outlet, which also claims a similar "relaxed and chill-out ambience".

BLooiE's Roadhouse
WHERE: 426/428, Upper Bukit Timah Road, Rail Mall
WHEN: Weekdays 11.30am to 12.30am; Weekends 11.30am to 1.30am

This one is for the sports lovers.

Each of the three walls of BLooie's has a television screen so you will get a view of the game no matter where you sit.

And sporting memorabilia - specifically, ice-hockey jerseys - line the walls.

The place also has a pool table for you to pot a few shots during dull moments of the games.

BLooiE's offers a mix of Mexican, American and Italian favourites and friends highly recommended the "to-die-for" burgers. Unfortunately, that recommendation came after my visit.

I had the Hawaiian pizza - I have had better and tastier.

That said, it is perfect spot for a beer-guzzling night out with the boys.

There are three other BLooiE's around Singapore.

marielim@sph.com.sg


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