Certified World's Best Bar
- Late night Drinking
- Day Drinking
- Great food
Feb 20, 2020
On a corner of North Canal Road and Lor Telok is a landmark building with an original land lease dating back to the early 1800s. Since last December, it is home to what is set to become one of the best new bars in Singapore, Barbary Coast. Spanning the two floors of three historic shophouses, this is the first standalone venue by brother and sister industry veterans Michael Callahan and Celia Schoonraad, founders of The Compound Collective consultancy and known for their work in some of the city’s most famous drinking establishments.
Barbary Coast gets its name from the San Francisco district that was known for its lively array of bars, saloons, dance halls and variety shows in the mid-1800s gold rush, when the area saw a massive arrival of miners and sailors coming from around America and the world to try their fortune.
On the lower level, dive bar-styled cocktail bar Deadfall is named after the threadbare neighborhood bars of San Francisco, ubiquitous in that time, where even the poorest workers could buy a drink. While a far cry from the dreary watering holes of yore, the new Deadfall did keep their democratic approach, offering patrons quality products at affordable prices. As for the place’s raw aesthetic, it is a celebration of Boat Quay and the building’s history. The place was stripped back to showcase its original brick walls, tiles, wooden beams and panels, and concrete floors. Design-wise, it has been furnished with a number of found tools and collected objects that were once part of the area’s port life – from the bar made of up-cycled shipping pallets to the original Kopitiam chairs.
The drinks menu features five creative cocktails, each named after a color, alongside carefully selected draft beers and wines. Skillfully executed with high-quality spirits, the cocktails were designed to be accessible and inclusive from flavor to price. Perfect to cool down on a hot day, Yellow, made with burnt-pineapple infused rum with pineapple husk syrup, and Green, with tequila, grapefruit-infused Cointreau and coriander, are two serious contenders. The cold draft beers are also worth a try, and are best enjoyed with a side of the addictive comfort food bites on offer.
Venture upstairs and you will find the lavish Barbary Coast Ballroom, which just opened this January. Inspired by the gold rush era’s dance halls and jazz clubs – the more high-end and exclusive entertainment options of that time – it is diametrically opposed to Deadfall’s rustic feel. Laid out like a parlor, the interior features opulent fixtures and furnishings, with nine types of wallpaper spread across the different rooms, elegant chandeliers, luxurious carpets, and vintage velvet furniture arranged in intimate seating areas. Two VIP booths complete this luxe experience, where guests can order bottles of champagne by simply pressing a button.
With such attention and care put into every single detail, we didn’t expect the Barbary Coast Ballroom’s cocktails to be any less compelling. Potter’s Market, made with hibiscus Monkey 47, watermelon Altos tequila, dry curaçao, fresh lime, and agave nectar, and Three Graces, with sage infused Encanto Pisco, Fernet Hunter, a Madagascar vanilla acid blend and a vanilla salt tapioca chip garnish, are two great examples of the well-balanced, carefully assembled drinks on offer. These are accompanied by a selection of delicious, high-end food options that play with local flavors.