May 11, 2018
The pop-up stores that provide the ‘front’ for The Library, located in a row of restored shophouses in Singapore’s Chinatown, have changed several times since it opened. Originally a book store selling hardcover coffee table-style books (hence the name The Library – which stuck), this secret bar is currently located at the back of a tailor’s shop, and can only be accessed if you know that day’s password. Once the kindly tailor has shown you through the secret door, you’ll be met with The Library’s subdued and alluring interior, complete with padded leather stools, exposed brick walls and a curved wooden bar, along with a soundtrack of jazz, blues and hip hop. The Library is fairly dark and atmospheric (it only holds around 50 people) and, in-keeping with its name, provides a cocktail list printed in a multi-chapter book format. Many come here for the unique glassware and presentation of the drinks – miniature bathtubs, smoking pipes and flaming tortilla chips are just some of the accoutrements provided with cocktail concoctions. Some standout combinations include the Shrub-A-Dub-Dub (gin, Italian herbal liqueur, peach puree, lemon, ginger shrub, bitters and sweet sparkling wine) and the Square Root of Happiness (old jenever, root beer rum, maple syrup, egg white, grilled lime and lavender-whisky fog). Others include an element of humour, such as the Rye N Air (a play on the name of the budget airline Ryanair), which comes served in a medicine jar inside a customs-stamped ziplock bag.