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Bars Review: We drink up at Cassis and Bitters and Love in Singapore

Cassis 

Cassis

Clarke Quay Block C

#01-11 The Cannery

6336 2552 | cassis.com.sg

Who Drinks Here:

Those who want to see and be seen.

Best Thing About It:

Firstly, its triple concept: brasserie plus bar plus club. Secondly, glamorous décor rife with cupids and chandeliers – a large, central bar surrounded by elegant lounge seating including several chaises longues. Owners John and Helen Lee spent $3 million on the décor.

Tip: If you plan to sit, don’t wear a mini – low chairs bring your knees up around your ears.

Signature Drinks:

From the extensive drinks menu, try the Cassis Royale ($18), just a dash of crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) topped up with Champagne; and the signature Espresso Martini ($18). House wines are currently limited to four reds and four whites ($15 to $25 per glass; $75 to $139 per bottle). For a biggish group settling in for the night, there are special packages, starting at an auspicious $888 for three bottles of Champagne, a bottle of Grey Goose and another of Johnnie Walker Black Label.

Cassis 

Nibbles and Noshes:

Chef Thomas Chen is ex-Les Amis, St Julien and The White Rabbit. Various items on the short but sweet Brasserie menu are flambéed at the table to infuse them with alcoholic flavours. It’s like dinner and a show. The intense crab bisque ($12) lights up with 15ml of Hendrick’s gin (plus $6); the succulent foie gras ($29) with Martell Cordon Bleu (plus $9); the rich, dark 48-hour braised oxtail ($36) with Johnnie Walker Blue Label; and peanut molten lava cake with banana liqueur ($25). And the tofu cheesecake ($22), served in a large jar topped with passion fruit, is enough for at least four people. After last orders from the brasserie at 9.30pm, go for truffle frites ($15) from the interesting Bar Bites menu.

When to Go:

It depends what you want: subdued violin concerto music over drinks and an early dinner, bar lounge vibes from 9.30pm or a full-on club scene from 11pm. On Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, regular DJs Andrew Tang and Marcus play club music, meaning (we’re told) mainstream Top 40 stuff that makes you want to dance. A cover charge of $30 includes two drinks; Wednesday is ladies’ night when women get free entry and four complimentary cocktails, plus topless doormen and close-to-bottomless male dancers. You must be 21 or older and be well-dressed to enter.

Verne Maree

Bitter&Love

Bitters and Love

36 North Canal Road

6438 1836 | facebook.com/bittersandlove

Who Drinks There:

Given it’s location a block from the CBD, there’s a good crowd of after-office hipsters on the weekday evening we visit. But by 9pm there’s a different vibe, with well-dressed groups of under-40s gathering. It’s a reliable alternative if you are in the area, but want to escape the hordes at Clarke and Boat Quays.

Bitter&Love 

Best Thing About It:

The classy décor matches the classy drinks, which are served in quirky vessels with unusual garnishes (we’re keeping that bit to ourselves though). The shophouse has been transformed with subtle grey tones, fresh flowers, comfortable banquette seatingand low vintage chairs at the marble bar. An unusual ribbed-glass partition door shields patrons from street view.

Bitter&Love 

Signature Drink(s):

Bespoke cocktails ($19 to $25) are the main game, and they have some serious liquor on hand to play with. The gin range alone included the high-end Hendricks, plus three we hadn’t heard of: Sip Smith from the UK, German Monkey 47 and Spanish Gin Mare. For our pleasure, the mind-reading barman created a whisky-based Mint Julep, a rum-based Mai Thai with a high note of ginger, and a fruity mocktail ($13). The latter was cheekily served in a plastic baby’sbottle, a not-so subtle poke at the non-drinker. There’s a limited choice of Champagne, white and red wine by the glass (from $15) and beer.

Nibbles and Noshes:

There are nine bar snacks on the menu, all ideal for sharing and artfully presented. Our choices included: thin slivers of sandwich stuffed with jam ó n, sun-dried tomato jam and buffalo mozzarella ($9); Rangers Valley Wagyu beef, cubed and served on a wooden board ($24); classic garlic prawns ($18) and exceptionally tasty deboned chicken wings ($15).

When to Go:

Monday to Saturday from 6pm. Just two minutes’walk from Clarke Quay MRT means it’s very easy to get to (and get home from).

Katie Roberts

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