We scour the bar scene to bring you the new and noteworthy. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it! Katie Roberts checks out Court Martial Bar at the new South Beach development on Beach Road. This bar serves up barrel-aged cocktails and yummy bar bites.
Court Martial Bar is inside one of the repurposed heritage buildings dwarfed by the twin towers of the new South Beach development, across the road from the main entrance of Raffles Hotel. The vibe is sleek and glamorous with an enormous mirrored showpiece bar in the middle of the room, candlelit glass-topped tables and high “ghost” chairs.
Glance toward one corner of the room and you’ll see the original preserved mechanic’s pit (this was once a garage, after all); upstairs is the former court room where errant soldiers were court-martialed for their misdemeanours.
The Chosen One:
Every cocktail is good but I recommend you go for one of the barrel-aged options. Heading up the bar is Navin Raj, who, after three years at Sentosa’s W Hotel, knows just about everything there is to know about mixology– but his passion is barrel-aged cocktails. That’s right: they’re aged; Navin mixes the ingredients (only top-notch labels here) and leaves them to mature in tiny oak barrels sitting atop the bar. The result is seductive, velvety flavours without the harsh edge of strong liquor quickly thrown together. It’s tough to nail down a favourite. My pick is a toss-up between the barrel-aged Negroni ($23) comprising Tanqueray, Aperol and sweet vermouth, and the delightful French 75 ($20) made with Taittinger champagne and Monkey 47, one of the best gin’s around. Navin tells me the cocktail is so named because the pairing of gin and champagne can be likened to the kick you might feel from firing a French 75mm field gun, a piece of First World War artillery equipment.
Other notable mentions are the GodFather ($23) and South Beach Sour ($25), the latter an excellent rendition of a classic whisky sour but with a local twist.
This isn’t the place to go looking for a bargain drink (it’s a hotel bar, after all) but these quality cocktails offer fantastic value in a very classy setting. Bite on this: Choose from the “Bucket List” of light bar bites – you’ll need something to line your stomach once the drinks start flowing. We enjoyed munching on the signature coconut prawns ($30), signature teriyaki chicken ($22) and truffle fries ($18). Last but not least: During the month of July, head in for a 25 percent discount on à la carte cocktails from 7 to 11pm. – Katie Roberts
Looking for somewhere to go for dinner? Try the Violet Oon Satay Bar and Grill