Progressive supermarket habitat by honestbee shows how grocery shopping and drinking cocktails can mix together with its hidden cocktail bar, b bar.
When grocery delivery service honestbee first launched its own supermarket habitat by honestbee late last year, it challenged the idea of what grocery shopping could be. Here’s a delivery service that not only incorporated different dining concepts in an entire physical space with grocery shelves, it integrated technology – from mobile check-ins and payment to automated delivery – throughout the entire process. You could ostensibly order a coffee, or an entire meal if you so wished, while you shopped for fresh produce. A notification on your mobile phone will let you know when it was ready. habitat was a wholly different way to shop and dine. Then habitat launched b bar, a hidden speakeasy tucked inside its wine and spirits section. Beyond a curtain lay an entire 23-seater cocktail bar offering some 15 cocktails.
b bar is helmed by bar manager Anton Gornev, who’ve put together a menu built around what he calls ‘New Age Classics’, which are modern twists on classic cocktails.
Gornev leans on quite a number of modern cocktail techniques – fat-washing and clarification, for example – for many of his cocktails. There’s his Americano Tartufo ($18++), a low-ABV drink combining a beer reduction, soda water and a sweet vermouth fat-washed with Italian white truffle oil. Another similarly low alcohol tipple is the Japanese-inspired Rice Up ($18++), which sees junmai ginjo sake, brown rice syrup, yuzu juice, genmaicha tea, and bizarrely, shiro miso in its making.
We’re fans of the Milky Whey ($20++), what is essentially a jazzed up milk punch but uses cola cordial instead of the usual citrus juices. Another favourite is the Bienvenido ($22++), a twist on the Rum Old Fashioned with a blend of aged rum and rye whiskey, pineapple cordial, coffee liqueur and maldon salt. This cocktail was Gornev’s entry in the recent Bacardi Legacy Competition and came in the top three, so you don’t just have to take our word for it.
The Last Wood ($20++), a take on spirit-forward The Last Word, though is a rather over-the-top tipple. There are over six ingredients in this – it normally has only four – including mezcal infused with tomato, tomato cordial, green chartreuse, and comes to the table enveloped in pine and peat smoke. It’s a little over the top in flavour and presentation.
Likewise b bar’s signature cocktail, the Beehive ($20++). A gin and tonic normally combines just two components with some botanicals as a garnish. This version though sees gin that’s rested with beeswax mixed with elderflower liqueur, sesame oil, and grapefruit tonic, which you have to drink on one side of the glass that’s been smeared with honey and toasted sesame seeds. It can be a little too much.
Indeed if there’s a criticism we can make, it’s that some of the cocktails here seem over-thought. These unnecessarily overcomplicated cocktails take time to put together and can create a waiting crunch when the bar is full.
Still, b bar is a great drinking hidey-hole and perfect as a stop after a meal at, say, the Oyster and Seafood Bar next door in habitat by honestbee. You could even drop in while shopping for groeceries. Or if you’re on a drinking trail, come by after your visit to the tasting room at Brass Lion Distillery right next door.
Address 34 Boon Leat Terrace, #01-01, Singapore 119866 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 5pm to 12mn Mondays to Fridays; 12nn to 12mn on Saturdays; 12nn to 10pm on Sundays