Newly-rejuvenated Raffles Hotel Singapore expands its Writers Bar from a tiny bar counter to a full-fledged cocktail bar in its expansive Grand Lobby.
If you’re asked to name a bar in Raffles Hotel, chances are that Long Bar comes to mind. After all the Long Bar is where the Singapore Sling was first invented back in 1915, and where countless tourists and travelers have flocked to for that cocktail ever since. Far fewer will name Writers Bar, a small 8-seater bar counter tucked on one side of its main lobby.
But Writers Bar was an icon in its own right; it’s existed since the 1900s as well, and plied drinks to the many travelers who have graced the hotel. And luminaries too, including the likes of literary giants Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad who are most likely to have had a cheeky nightcap or three at this tiny bar before retiring to their rooms for the night to write. Indeed Writers Bar was named for Raffles Hotel’s literary tradition, where renowned writers and novelists would stay as part of their travels to the Far East.
Raffles Hotel had taken the opportunity during its recent year-long renovations to expand Writers Bar into a full-fledged bar that harkens to its illustrious literary past. The hotel has even launched a new Writers Residency Programme, and had installed British-born bestselling author Pico Iyer – considered by some as arguably the world’s greatest living travel writer – as its first Writer-in-Residence.
The new Writers Bar is a luxurious space that sits on one side of its Grand Lobby, fully decked in a combination of elegance and opulence, and draped with specially curated mementos and books that illuminate upon the literary legacy of Raffles.
Its first cocktail menu is similarly inspired and indeed references Pico Iyer’s work, much of which draws upon his many stays at the Raffles Hotel Singapore over the last 35 years. There’s Escape to Home ($35++), a gin and tonic with aromatic accents from rose, elderflower, and laksa leaf, and earthy bitterness from burdock tonic. Most likely you’d opt for Eternal Youth ($44++), a take on the gimlet using Sipsmith’s Raffles 1915 gin – incidentally made by one of Raffles descendants – along with vermouth, lemon and topped up with Ruinart Blanc de Blanc champagne.
For those who like their drinks punchy there’s the more spirit forward Casuarina Tree ($40++), made with Scotch whisky, port, and peated blackberry liqueur. But if cocktails are not your thing, Writers Bar is also home to a rather eclectic range of official- and independently-bottled Scotch whiskies that may strike the fancy of whisky lovers.
“Raffles Hotel Singapore has long played muse to renowned and budding writers alike. The Writer’s Residency Programme is set to reinvigorate the literary heritage that is embedded deeply in the Raffles ethos. With the purpose of nurturing future writing talents, the programme looks to deliver inspiration within the unique spaces of the restored Raffles Hotel Singapore, particularly with the refreshed Writers Bar,” shared Christian Westbeld, General Manager, Raffles Hotel Singapore.
“Both the programme and bar play a part in our continued commitment to connect the past and present through the art of writing, while paying homage to our famous literacy luminaries,” Westbeld added.
If you’re dropping in on Writers Bar, remember to bring your cheque book though. With the stratospheric prices on those cocktails, that’s pretty much all you’d be scribbling on here.
Writers Bar (Raffles Hotel Singapore)
Address Grand Lobby, Raffles Singapore, 1 Beach Road Singapore 189673 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 5pm to 12 midnight daily
Tel (65) 6337 1886