Singapore's best happy hours
Updated on 25th January, 2013. First published 6th February, 2011
After paying mere dollars for large beers and bucketfuls of booze in most Southeast Asian countries, a night out in Singapore comes with serious sticker shock. This infamously uptight city-state imposes a hefty sin tax on alcohol: expect to pay S$12 for a beer and S$15 upwards for a cocktail at bars and restaurants. If you're on a tight budget this may be an opportunity to let your liver detox, or do what Singaporeans do best and shop around for a sale.
A guaranteed way to get more booze for your buck is by starting the night early to take advantage of happy hour promotions. Nearly every bar in Singapore offers a discount from 17:00 until 20:00 to lure in the after-work crowd, and some go even later. Discounts around 30% are typical but the ultimate find is the "1-for-1" promotion. In local lingo this means buy one get one free — otherwise it wouldn't be much of a deal, would it?
Singapore's highest concentration of watering holes and accompanying happy hours is at Clarke Quay where you can sip everything from sake to sangria at al fresco tables along the Singapore River. Happy hour at Brewerkz Microbrewery is a multi-tiered affair with pints costing S$6 from 12:00 — 15:00, S$9 from 15:00 — 18:00, and S$12 from 18:00 — 20:00. Their specialty brews cost a bit more and you can also order by the jug or tower (4 litres!).
Next door, Cafe Iguana has a similar set-up with their famous margaritas priced at S$5.50 from 11:00 — 15:00, S$7.50 from 15:00 — 18:00, and S$9.50 from 18:00 — 20:00. You can't go wrong with the classic lime, or try tropical twist with banana, pink guava, mango, or soursop flavours.
If you're hungry, happy hour at Octapas means buy-2-get-1-free tapas and S$8 a glass for mixed drinks and sangria. With their drink promotion lasting from 12:00 — 20:00, there's plenty of time to sample all 4 varieties of house-blended sangria made from red wine, brandy, and fresh fruit.
Quirky Clinic Bar offers 1-for-1 beer and spirits during their "Clinically Happy" promotion from 18:00-21:00 every day. The deal ends before the party really gets started, but it's still a chance to experience their wheelchair seats and drinks served in IV bags.
Deals after 21:00 are uncommon, but an exception is Zirca Mega Club, one of Singapore's best dance clubs, where spirits and beer are 1-for-1 from opening at 21:30 until 23:00. Cover charge is also lower during this time at S15 inclusive of 2 drinks.
For a happy hour worth getting dressed up for, head to the New Asia Bar on the 71st floor of the Swissotel The Stamford Hotel. A view like this usually comes at a premium, but mugs of Tiger beer are just S$8 and cocktails from S$12 during "Sundowner Specials" from 15:00 — 21:00 daily. Come early to snag a window-side table as seating fills up quickly once the after-work crowd arrives.
Nearby, Orgo has unrivalled views of Marina Bay from their open-air location on the roof of the Esplanade Theatres. Orgo's happy hour runs daily from 17:00 — 20:00 with beers from S$7, wine from S$10, and S$12 upwards for creations from their resident mixologist like a watermelon chilli martini.
Nearly every hotel bar on Orchard Road has a happy hour, but the atmosphere at Bar None below the Singapore Marriott Hotel is far from stuffy with a soundtrack of jazz and classic rock. Beer and spirits are 1-for-1 from 18:00 — 21:00, but the house band that takes the stage at 22:00 is so good that drinks are worth full price.
Another hot spot on Orchard Road is Emerald Hill where you'll find Acid Bar and Alley Bar. During their daily happy hour from 17:00-21:00, this chic duo of bars offers some of the cheapest drinks in town - just S$5.50 for a standard mixed drink or S$9.90 for a pint of draft beer inclusive of tax and service charge.
There are two branches of Harry's, Singapore's most popular chain bar, on Orchard Road and their happy hour is a long one running from 11:00 — 21:00 daily. Selected pints, wines, and spirits are just S$10 and prices drop to S$6 during "crazy hour" from 17:00 — 19:00.
If you like live music, it's worth making the trip to the expat enclave of Holland Village for happy hour at Wala Wala. With 1-for-1 wine, beer, and mixed drinks from opening until 21:00 every day, this casual spot tends to be very full and very noisy even before the music starts at 19:00.
Sentosa Island sometimes feels like it’s for kids, but we can’t think of a better place to spend a lazy afternoon than with our toes in the sand at a beach bar. Cafe del Mar is one of the best with a prime location on Siloso Beach, chill-out music, and 1-for-1 beer and spirits weekdays from 15:00 - 19:00 and weekends 17:00 - 19:00.
Of course, it’s always happy hour at Singapore’s hawker centres where a large bottle of Tiger beer will set you back just S$5 - ice cubes optional.
Still thirsty? There's more on Singapore happy hours here.
Acid Bar/Alley Bar: Emerald Hill, T: (65) 6738 8818. http://www.peranakanplace.com
Bar None: 320 Orchard Road, T: (65) 6222 8117.
Brewerkz: Riverside Point, Clarke Quay, T: (65) 6438 7438. http://www.brewerkz.com/
Cafe del Mar: 40 Siloso Beach Walk, Sentosa, T: (65) 6235 1296. http://www.cafedelmar.com.sg/
Cafe Iguana: Riverside Point, Clarke Quay, T: (65) 6236 1275. http://www.cafeiguana.com/
Clinic Bar: 177A River Valley Road, Clarke Quay, T: (65) 6887 3733. http://www.theclinic.sg/
Harry's: Orchard Tower and Far East Square, T: (65) 6736 7330, (65) 6536 1948. http://www.harrys.com.sg/
New Asia Bar: Swissotel the Stamford, Stamford Road, T: (65) 6837 3322. Website
Octapas: 3D River Valley Road, Clarke Quay, T: (65) 6837 2938.
Orgo: 1 Esplanade Drive, T: (65) 9733 6911. http://www.orgo.sg/
Wala Wala Cafe Bar: 31 Lorong Mambong, T: (65) 6462 4288. http://www.imaginings.com.sg/
Zirca Mega Club: 3C River Valley Road, Clarke Quay, T: (65) 6235 2292. http://www.zirca.sg/
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