Club 39 – which first opened its doors on 13 May this year at Duxton Hill – may be almost spanking new, but it’s already achieved somewhat of a coup by bagging veteran award-winning mixologist Mark Graham Thomas as bar manager.
Thomas, who previously was bar manager at Bacchanalia before leaving for a sabbatical, was enticed back into the industry when Club 39 founder Andrea Raddrizani approached him to head its bar programme. “It wasn’t a difficult decision,” Thomas shares. “I had learned a lot on my travels during my sabbatical, and had an idea of what I wanted to achieve. Andrea shares a similar vision for Club 39.”
He also adds that he didn’t want the Mediterranean-inspired Club 39 to be yet another mixologist bar. “There are already many very good mixologist bars in Singapore. What we want to do is offer a different experience, one that puts the customer at the centre.”
But that is easier said than done, as Thomas has already made his typical flamboyant mark – as one would expect from Diageo Reserve World Class South East Asia Bartender of the Year 2014 award winner – on Club 39’s drinks list.
Consider the extremely delicious Romulus and Remus ($24+), a Hendricks Gin, Monkey Shoulder whisky cherry brandy, sweet vermouth and peach bitters creation that’s both sweet and punchy at the same time. Or how about the Daiquiri Salato ($26+), a curiously savoury tipple tasting of cured meats made with jamon and bacon infused rum, and one that’s rather reminiscent of the Pikte, a pizza flavoured cocktail that won Thomas a spot on the Diageo Reserve World Class Southeast Asia championships last year.
There’s also the Negroni Chiaro ($26+), a classic featuring rhubarb and orange blossom, gin, house long bitters and blended house vermouth that hits you upfront with its botanicals and tapers to a dry finish. For those looking for a spice kick, you can’t go too wrong with the Spiced Pear Margarita ($24+) – made with aged tequila, Williams pear, spice pear liqueur and spice syrup, it is more spice than pear and may shock you with its intensity and bite. Those not looking for Thomas’ fun creations can always opt for shots (or bottles) of a wide variety of spirits.
Those feeling the munchies can avail themselves to the tapas from the kitchen adjoining the bar. Of special culinary note is the Grilled octopus, chorizo oil and ikura with mashed potatoes ($25+), but those with a sweet tooth must give the Winter Tiramisu ($13+) a go.
Club 39 is a rather unlikely setup – those who swing by to ingratiate themselves into one of Thomas’ delicious tipples probably won’t realize that the three upper floors of the four-storey shophouse is actually home to an invite-only private members club set up by Raddrizani that includes a private gymnasium, lounge area, a conference room and even a library.
On the first floor, Mark Graham Thomas and his bar team will extend to you the best of welcomes, private member or not.
Club 39 is located at 39 Duxton Hill, Singapore 089617.