Drinking in Singapore doesn’t have to be a serious or an expensive affair; casual Duxton Hill bar The Brightside showcases the lighter side of enjoying oneself even in a premium enclave.
As soon as you step in, it’s immediately apparent that The Brightside – a cosy, chill-out drinking hole on Duxton Hill – was conceived by a man child. The bizarre decor (for a bar), music, the drinks list, and even the food menu points to the innermost desires of someone trying to relive his youth all over again, but this time with booze. With a lot more booze.
But that’s not a bad thing. Those of us who are Gen X would immediately identify with the man cave that owner Jamie Gripton (and what his indulging wife Jasmine has allowed him to) put together. We’d know the lyrics of every 80s and 90s song played over the air, recognise the various board games and table games strewn all over, and remind ourselves to bring our golf clubs the next time round because, yes, the floor is covered in astroturf and hence perfect for practising our putting (Jamie originally wanted sand; instead sense prevailed).
Pretentious it is not; you could even say The Brightside doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Affordable drinks are the draw here – $8 before 8pm happy hour deals for beer and house pours attract the working crowd from the area, while cocktails go for $15 all night. Lest you suspect the low cocktail prices is a result of compromise, the drinks curated and prepped by general manager Rahmat Choo are surprisingly solid. The best selling Porn Star Martini ($15) – a mix of vanilla-infused vodka, lime juice, and fresh passionfruit – is refreshingly delicious, while the Very Mai Tai ($15) of Sailor Jerry spiced rum, white rum, Cointreau, and lime juice is a boozy tropical fruit bomb.
The pre-mixed and very chilled Old Fashioned ($15) here, composed simply with Bulleit bourbon, angostura bitters and sugar, is robust even if tends towards the sweet side. Do go for the Nudge Nudge Wink Wink ($15) – Monty Python fans will get the reference almost immediately – a recipe Choo submitted for a recent Diageo World Class competition; the Tanqueray 10-based tipple will surprise with its complexity.
The food at The Brightside is pretty much what you’d expect a Gen Xer to eat when his wife – or doctor – isn’t looking. The handmade Thai Fish Cakes ($8 for regular, $15 for large) here are exceedingly fluffy, and the Sticky Chicken Wings ($8 for regular, $15 for large) is well named. Make sure you go for the utterly addictive Fried Chicken Skins ($8 for regular, $15 for large); and for something more substantive Sliced Ribeye Steak & Dipping Sauce ($30) will totally please.
Almost everything on the menu makes perfect beer food.
By this time you may have guessed that The Brightside makes for the perfect boy’s night out (especially if you’re aged 35 years and older). You’d be right, because owner Jamie Gripton made his man cave that way for his own perfect boy’s night out, every night.
Address 37 Duxton Hill, Singapore 089615 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 3pm to 11.45pm Mondays to Saturdays, closed on Sundays
Tel (65) 8427 1232