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Bar review: Employees Only Singapore

By: Amy Greenburg

We scour the Singaporean bar scene for the new and noteworthy. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it! AMY GREENBURG checks out Employees Only in Amoy Street.

First impressions: After passing a fortune-teller, you pull back the curtain to reveal a swanky, speakeasy-cool setting; its Art Deco interiors mirror that of the famed, original Employees Only (EO) in New York City’s West Village. Even the EO bartenders sport the same handlebar moustaches and white chef’s jackets as they do at the original.

Bartender Steve Schneider from employees only singapore bar
“It’s just you, me, the pour spout and the mixing glass – let’s rock and roll.”

The Chosen One: All of their potent cocktails are fabulous, many of them served in old-fashioned champagne coupes. I particularly loved the signature Fraise Sauvage ($25) – Tanqueray gin shaken with strawberries and Tahitian vanilla, and finished with Mumm Cordon Rouge Champagne – while my whiskyloving husband enjoyed his Bullet bourbon-based Billionaire Cocktail ($26), shaken with fresh lemon juice, grenadine and house-blended Absinthe bitters, served straight up.

The Cheapskate: If you’re looking for inexpensive cocktails, this isn’t the place. Though the bar’s liberally poured cocktails are strong, they’re $25 to $28 a pop; wines by the glass start from $16.

Bite on this: Make a reservation for dinner (or come for late-night bites – a rarity in Singapore!), as the food is delicious – plus it’ll guarantee you a table from where you can take in the entire scene. We especially loved the fried skate with paprika ($34), ricotta gnocchi ($14) and steak tartare with mixed greens ($27). Save room for the delectable salted caramel cheesecake ($12) – it’s called “cheesecake” but it’s more like panna cotta. Psst: if you’re one of the revellers left standing at closing time, you’ll get a serving of homemade chicken soup – a tradition at EO Manhattan.

Last but not least: If you’ve been to the original outpost, which was ranked number four on the World’s 50 Best Bars list, you’ll especially appreciate this place. It’s clear that the EO guys, including legendary bartender Steve Schneider, are dedicated to giving Singapore-based bar-goers a very similar experience to that of the flagship; with them, they’ve brought great service, generous pours and an extra-cool confidence that the Singapore bar scene’s been missing.

Pssst.. Check out what happens Behind the Bar, with our interview with Principal Bartender Steve Schneider!

Employees Only Singapore
112 Amoy Street

This article first appeared in the September 2016 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy for the full article, or subscribe now so you never miss an issue!

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