Steampunk-themed bar and lounge Rails opens at Jinrikisha Station in Tanjong Pagar celebrating the retrofuturistic science fiction subgenre.
You can always count on entertainment consultancy A Phat Cat Collective to come up with the geekiest and most otaku of themes for their bars. Their first-ever concept, NINETEEN80, was an arcade celebration of everything ’80s, while their second, the retro discotheque Pinball Wizard, combined old-school pinball machines with throwback music from the 90s.
Its third and latest is just as quirky – steampunk-themed Rails.
Steampunk, of course, is an science fiction subgenre inspired by the Industrial Age. You may be familiar with the works of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, or movies such as Mortal Engines or The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Rails draws from such influences to strew its space with these elements create a bar experience unlike any other in Singapore.
For libations at Rails there’s the likes of Jinrikisha Spritzer, named after its Jinrikisha Station location in Tanjong Pagar. This is a fun, locally-inspired gin spritzer that taps house-made honey-fermented lemon, preserved lime peel and coconut water for a refreshing, if sweet, tipple. Even more out of this world is Clockwork Sago, a cocktail take on the local dessert bubur cha cha.
For those who prefer a stronger tipple, the Portmanteau – concocted with port, Irish whiskey, Campari, Amaro and a touch of fresh orange juice – provides punch. Otherwise the Apothecary can also do the job with its cognac and Amaro base, with a hit of herbal sweetness from the use of pei pa kao.
Food is a bizarre spread of elevated junk cuisine from Chix Hot Chicken of Jalan Pisang fame. Their host of hot dogs and fried chicken sandwiches are exactly the tasty grub you want to line your tummy in anticipation of a long night of drinking. The B.L.T., for example, is a hot dog stuffed with Chix’s signature juicy crispy chicken tenders, along with chicken bacon, lettuce, cheddar cheese and honey mustard sauce. The Soul Slider also comes highly recommended – scrumptious fried chicken and coleslaw in a bun, slathered with a house ‘pink’ sauce. Make sure you order a side of Dirty Taters for the works.
We’d have admit – as fans of the steampunk genre we’d had hoped the Rails concept was a lot tighter. There aren’t quite enough steampunk elements – copper fixtures, art nouveau, and Victorian-era fashion – to complete the look and feel of an industrial alternative history. A pipe dream, for example, is to see an actual working copper still on-site creating distillate that goes into the drinks here. But it’s early days yet for Rails.
In the meantime, a fancy costume party – steampunk-themed of course – will absolutely rock at Rails.
Address 21 Tanjong Pagar Road #01-02 Singapore 088444 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 5pm to 10.30pm Tuesdays to Saturdays; 3.30pm to 10.30pm on Sundays; closed on Mondays