The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore unveils its new ’60s-themed cocktail bar Republic as part of the completion of its East Wing refurbishment.
The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore’s iconic Chihuly Lounge is no more. Gone is the sprawling yet cosy hotel lobby lounge perfect for idyllic pursuits, a place where many have enjoyed a high tea moment in the afternoons, or lingered over cocktails later in the evening.
A much-needed refurbishment of the five-star hotel’s East Wing closed the venue from July last year, but it has finally unveiled the result. In its place is a section that has not only reimagined the hotel’s reception area as a grand library, but also incorporates multi-concept space that includes a comfortable lounge area as well as a new – and rightly swanky – cocktail bar.
Cocktail hounds would remember that Chihuly Lounge, despite its coffee lounge trappings, had a stellar coffee-themed cocktail menu. With Republic, The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore’s talented bartenders finally have a proper platform to excel from. Created in collaboration with bar consultancy Proof & Company, Republic explores the ’60s era through the lens of Singapore, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States, with its cocktails, bar bites, decor, and even music.
You’re looking at an extensive cocktail menu split into four sections, each depicting one of those countries. For Singapore there’s the likes of Mythical Beast – named for the Merlion – that’s a twist on the sherry Martini, while the clarified milk punch that is Timeless Beauty is a reference to the Singapore Girl and her Pierre Balmain-designed sarong kebaya outfit.
From Italy’s section there’s High Society, a punchy Negroni rife with earthy, umami flavours from the use of porcini mushrooms. But if you prefer something lighter in alcohol and a lot more refreshing, the Monkey 47 gin-based Valentino Red is a liberal and nuanced take on the Aperol Spritz.
The UK experienced a huge culture counterrevolution during the ’60s, and the cocktails from its section in Republic’s drinks menu are a great throwback to those times. There’s You Only Live Twice, a dill-laced Vesper – surprisingly stirred, not shaken – that’s an obvious reference to the iconic James Bond film. How about Mini Skirt, a concoction of vodka, Pimms, limoncello, and fruit cordial? It’s certainly as flirty yet assertive as the fashion statement that was a symbol of the women’s liberation movement of the time. And if you’re a fan of Irish Coffee, Satisfaction – named for that famous song by The Rolling Stones – is a must; it’s also the sole cocktail that carries on Chihuly Lounge’s rich tradition of serving some of the best coffee-based cocktails in its day.
Post-war United States was defined by rising affluence and freedom of expression, and likewise the cocktails represented in its section allude to the times. Summer of Love – made with Altos Blanco tequila, vermouth, Cointreau – is as expressive and loud as a stoned hippie, while 15 Minutes Of Fame is a fruity twist on the French 75 that tastes as elegant as it looks.
And if you’re feeling exceedingly baller, Republic does offer a number of classic cocktails made with spirits that hail from the 60s. There’s the 1960s Rum Old Fashioned, made using Lamb’s Demerara Navy Rum from 1960, for example, or the 1960s Negroni, concocted using vintage Campari and Cinzano vermouth.
The food at Republic also reflects the cuisines of these four countries, reimagining various favourites into bar bites in a liberal, experimental manner. There’s Yorkshire Pudding, serving up pulled beef, onion gravy and truffle jam in tiny bite-sized puddings, for example. Or Mini Kueh Pie Tee, which takes the local Peranakan favourite but tops it with a Singapore chilli crab sauce.
Less experimental is Bruschetta Italiana, an open-face sandwich of proscuitto, shaved Grana Padano cheese, and sundried tomato. On the extreme end is Pork Toast, which bizarrely combines Chinese and Mexican influences in what must be some bizarre San Francisco gastronomic experiment – think prawn toast but made with pork, slathered in hoisin sauce and served with salsa.
“The dawn of Republic creates symmetry and balance between the East and West wings of the hotel, with Colony restaurant alluding to that period in history when Singapore was part of the British Crown Colony, through to its next major milestone with the formation of the Republic of Singapore in 1965, anchoring the hotel experience with a deep sense of place”, explains Peter Mainguy, General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore.
To say that Republic is a far cry from Chihuly Lounge would be a massive understatement. Certainly a number of us are likely to miss the latter’s live jazz evenings or elaborate high tea sessions. But Republic is set to be the kind of (potentially award-winning) destination hotel cocktail bar that will propel The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore from a great hotel to an even more fabulous one.
Republic (The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore)
Address 7 Raffles Ave, The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, Lobby Level, Singapore 039799 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 12pm to 10.30pm daily