One benefit of being land scarce and having to build vertically is the plethora of cool rooftop venues in Singapore to choose from. In fact, we reckon roof-surfing is one of the best and most laid-back ways to enjoy the tropical weather, take in the sights, and get a sense of the city.
1. Terra Rooftop Bar
The latest venture by entertainment and lifestyle group Limited Edition Concepts (the same people behind kyō and Refuge), Terra occupies 3,800 sq ft at the Sky Garden of Suntec City. Conceptualised as a bistro-lounge, Terra has a botanical and latin theme that subtly weaves through the interiors and into its culinary and drinks menu. The smell of herbs permeate the air: spilling out of terrariums, adorning the walls, and garnishing each cocktail. It might not boast views as stunning as other rooftop bars (much of the view is obstructed), but Terra's charm lies in its homely design. Comprising an indoor and outdoor space, Terra offers a warm, welcoming respite from the sterile offices and corporate chaos below.
Order this: Try the juicy Seafood Chimichangas that come with a generous helping of seafood and just the right amount of crunch. For dessert, order the Berry Empanadas, served with a side of ice cream, for a sticky, gooey treat.
For drinks, have the Beergarita. Knock back two of these and you'll be having a blast. For that perfect summer cocktail, there's the Viva Brasil. Light and refreshing, this cocktail consists of cachaça, pineapple, agave, and housemade rosemary syrup. An ideal complement to sun-soaked days or breezy evenings.
Sitting on top of our newest national treasure, the National Gallery Singapore, Aura Sky Lounge is destined to be an icon in itself. Comprising an ornate indoor salon and an alfresco terrace, its vantage offers guests a unique, prime view of the Civic District and Marina Bay area. To honour the heritage and history of the National Gallery Singapore, Aura commissioned several art pieces by established Singaporean artists, our favourite being Chun Kai Feng's neon light triptych, modelled after the retro window grills found in HDB flats from the 1970s.
Order this: Depending on the time of day, Aura offers several dining options. Hit up their Mediterranean salad bar for lunch during the work week or spend your late afternoons enjoying their European-style high tea. Come evenings, the sophisticated bar menu kicks in and both the Pulled Pork & Pancetta Crostini as well as Lobster Claw Rolls are worth trying. For their all-day brunch on the weekends, order the Salmon Benedict with Sea Urchin Hollandaise and Spinach Salad or the Foie Gras, Duck and Caramelised Onions Sandwich.
Drinkswise, try the Berry Smash or SG Sling. The Berry Smash is a cocktail of gin, lemon and soda with marinated strawberries. It's a classic cocktail made for summer, perfect for combatting Singapore weather. The SG Sling is also a tribute to the classic Singapore Sling, paying homage to Aura's historic location.
#06-02 National Gallery Singapore, 1 St. Andrews Road. Tel: 6866 1977
3. Tiger's Milk
Drawing its name from leche de tigre (which translates into tiger's milk), the Peruvian term given to the citrus-based marinade that cures seafood in a ceviche, this South American style bar and grill is found on the rooftop of recently refurbished boutique hotel The Club. Located amongst the rows of shophouses in the Ann Siang Hill district, some built as early as the mid-nineteenth century, Tiger's Milk offers several vantage points to look out on old Singapore and parts of Chinatown.
Choose to sit indoors at the bar and see the chefs prepare your ceviche, tiraditos, and salads from scratch, or spread out across the roof and find your own nook. There are comfortable seating options for both couples or big groups.
Order this: An assortment of ceviche and antichuchos (a take on Peruvian street food) typically marinated in red wine vinegar and spices like cumin and ají. Go for the marinated wagyu beef rib fingers, but if you're feeling more adventurous and appreciate a chewier texture, there is chicken, beef and lamb hearts on the menu.
For drinks, Tiger's Milk offers Singapore's first library of pisco infusions as well as an extensive tequilas and rum list. Try the Piscorinha, featuring calamansi, passionfruit, and sour plum shaken and served with champagne atop crushed ice. Sweet endings come in the form of the Coco con Pisco, a concoction of pandan, malibu, rock melon and kaya served in a fresh coconut. It's practically a dessert and drink in one.
The Club (Rooftop), 28 Ann Siang Road. Tel: 6808 2183
4. The Great Escape
Opened last October, this hideaway in the carpark of Golden Mile Tower — home to our favourite independent cinema, The Projector — is definitely a hidden gem lying off the beaten path. Raw, gritty, and unconventional, The Great Escape boasts furniture made up of oil drums, beer crates, and pallets built on wheels. Despite occupying part of a parking lot, the joint still manages to capture views of the expanding Kallang skyline as well as part of Marina Bay Sands.
Order this: The pulled pork burrito stuffed with chipotle rice, and the salted egg fries, which are baked not fried. No cocktails at this unpretentious venue, instead opt for a draft beer, a bottled craft beer, or a Cornish cider.
#05-00 Golden Mile Tower, 6001 Beach Road. Tel: 9180 6728
5. CÉ LA VI Singapore
No list of rooftop bars in Singapore would be complete without a bar that serves up views right from the top of Marina Bay Sands. CÉ LA VI isn't new, but its recent makeover this January means that it deserves an encore.
Nestled on top of the world's longest public cantilever, a true feat of engineering, there's no doubt that CÉ LA VI is the jewel of our downtown skyline. The new refurbishment is an understated homage to our Southeast Asian cultural heritage. Now, the indoor and outdoor spaces flow more seamlessly while green vertical walls attempt to take the tropics indoors. A new hoard of signature red umbrellas shelter guests from both the sun and the rain.
The spanking new D&B Audiotechnik's sound system indicates the venue's music agenda and sees a host of new nights added to their event calendar. Note that even though CÉ LA VI is located on the same level as the Marina Bay Sands Pool, going in for a dip is not an option unless you're a hotel guest. As the sun goes down, be sure to leave the shorts, slippers and tank tops at home as the venue ushers in a more dressed up look for nightly operations.
Order this: Crispy Sticky Baby Squid with a black pepper and lime drizzle are perfect for nibbling alongside cocktails. Their best-selling cocktail? The Storm Cooler, featuring vodka, passion fruit, and raw licorice powder from Sweden (head mixologist Knut Randhem, is from Sweden after all). Another cocktail true to the Modern Asian philosophy is the Whisky Charlie Mango, a combination of Hakushu 12-year-old Japanese whisky, homemade mango cordial, zesty lemon and fiery chilli bitters.
Tower 3 SkyPark at Marina Bay Sands, 1 Bayfront Avenue. Tel: 6688 7688
6. Oxwell & Co
This British-inspired gastro pub in Chinatown is always buzzing. With a bar on the first floor, elegant dining room on the second, and private function room on the third, one could very well linger on for a whole evening. One of the best kept secrets in town can also be found here by way of Oxwell & Co's rooftop bar. Perched all the way on the fourth floor of this heritage shophouse space, you're well positioned to survey the street life below. Lined with wooden crates filled with aromatic herbs, this cosy spot is part cool, part quirky. Don't be surprised to find a vintage phone booth anchoring the bar — clearly a nod to eccentric gin maestros Hendrick's Gin who've partnered with Oxwell & Co to deck out the space.
Order this: Gin lovers are in for a real treat. Their cocktail menu here flies the whimsical Hendrick's flag high. Fresh herbs from the garden find their way into a botanically-rich Clover Club Street cocktail while bigger groups can opt for the cucumber and thyme infused Bathtime.
5 Ann Siang Road. Tel: 6438 3984
7. The Rooftop
When the trendsetters from the PTT Family venture into a project, don't expect anything less than buckets of cool. Their Singapore outpost, Potato Head Folk, continues to draw the crowds with wicked burgers at Three Buns, seductive drinks at the artist-inspired Studio 1939 bar, and our personal favourite — The Rooftop, an open-air bar that has hosted the likes of Monsieur Christian Louboutin (he sipped on cocktails here while wearing a cat mask).
Order this: The idea of tiki cocktails might come across as rather kitsch, but when done right — as they are here — these rum-soaked libations do a good job in bringing a taste of sepia-toned tropical holidays to this little red dot. Call for the Saik Daiquiri, which combines La Mauny and Plantation 3 Star rums with a splash of mirin wine, fresh lime, and aromatic yuzu. Their 40-strong rum list is as formidable as it is impressive, so if you're ready to get schooled in the ways of this brown spirit, you'll find no better place to begin than here.
36 Keong Saik Road. Tel: 6327 1939
Neo soul, indie dance, and good time grooves are but some of the tunes you can expect to soak up at this rooftop bar sited right in the heart of City Hall. There's always something good playing at Loof and its no wonder aural heavyweights like Kartell and Late Nite Tuff Guy have graced the decks here. There's room for nostalgia too and we adore their little mamashop offering all manner of vintage swag from our childhood days (ice gem biscuits, anyone?).
Order this: Flavours from the Southeast Asian pantry colour both the bar snacks and cocktails. Soak up a killer chilli crab dip with pillows of fried mantou or opt for chicken wings sided with sambal and a fresh squeeze of lime. Wash it all down with an ice cold glass of Java Ginger Crush, a vodka based concoction bursting with tangy calamansi, bracing ginger, and cloudy apple juice.
#03-07 Odeon Towers Extension Rooftop. 331 North Bridge Road. Tel: 9773 9304