Dual concept Stay Gold Flamingo is vibrant coffee bar Flamingo by day, and cutting-edge cocktail bar Stay Gold come night time.
What happens when two bartenders get together and hit it off so well over drinks that they decide to open a bar of their own? Enter Stay Gold Flamingo, a coffeehouse-by-day and cocktail-bar-by night concept opened by seasoned Singapore bar scene veterans Jerrold Khoo and Bai JiaWei.
Cocktail hounds should remember Khoo from his Jigger & Pony days, and would have seen Bai behind the bar at Employees Only Singapore. Each bring considerable experience to Stay Gold Flamingo.
But venues that house two different concepts in the same space can be exceedingly hard to run. Barbary Coast – which operates dive bar Deadfall on the first floor and elegant cocktail lounge Ballroom on an upper one in a shophouse – has seen relative success. Crackerjack, a dual cafe-bar hybrid, didn’t fare so well and shuttered a few years back.
Khoo and Bai remain optimistic, despite the additional challenges imposed by the ongoing pandemic.
“Stay Gold Flamingo (looks to) breaks away from the conventional templates of traditional classic bars, and reflects our vision in an age of community and individual expression,” shares Jerrold Khoo, bar manager and co-founder of Stay Gold Flamingo.
“The future of bartending is full of potential, and we are motivated to establish an organic drinking culture within the city where even a casual cafe would be armed with the knowledge of cocktail-making and a classic cocktail list,” adds Bai JiaWei, Stay Gold Flamingo’s co-founder and head bartender.
Flamingo at the front of its Amoy Street location is a vibrant space, an all-day cafe that promises great coffee and cake to a Shenton Way office crowd that’s yet to return in numbers. Load up on a Cheese Toastie or some Granola, even.
But if your work allows, Flamingo offers early cocktails. There’s the gin-based Elderflower Cooler, for something refreshingly floral. A Midori Sour, perhaps, to revisit a 1970s favourite that today has fallen out of favour. Maybe an Espresso Martini, since coffee may help mask the smell of booze on the breath if you’re heading back to the office.
For serious cocktail revellers though, Stay Gold is where it’s at. Hidden in the back of Flamingo behind velvet drapes, stepping into Stay Gold feels like walking into a different dimension. Comfortably classy yet mysteriously broody, it’s part disco and part rock-and-roll, and likely a reflection of the different preferences of the two founders. The venue is also cleverly sectioned to cater to couples looking to cosy up in a corner, but allow larger, rowdier groups space to enjoy themselves.
But the cocktail menu coalesces into singular purpose. Stay Gold’s menu works on the idea of the trinity in cocktail making – a base spirit, the use of a modifier, and then an enhancer. It’s how all good classic cocktails are made; for Bai and Khoo, this rule-of-three is cocktail gospel.
It’s why you’ll find the likes of the Bamboo – sherry, dry vermouth, bitters – and the Negroni – gin, red vermouth blend, Campari – largely untouched yet strangely elevated. The Whiskey Sour too, although it uses the juice of two citrus instead of just lemon. Even their A Perfect Sazerac, follows the classic Sazerac recipe, even if its uses both cognac and rye whiskey rather than either or.
There’s a wild side too. There’s another set of cocktails under the section ‘Nothing Gold Can Stay’, the Hyde to Stay Gold’s Jekyll. Intro to Absinthe takes the anise spirit – largely used as an aroma or flavour enhancer – and turns it into a star as a highball. Or the Daitini, which attempts to combines the best of a Daiquiri and Martini in one using rum, lime, and sherry. It succeeds too, this being one of our favourites in their whole cocktail menu.
As for food, Stay Gold offers what it calls ‘elevated comfort food’. It’s fancy bar food with an Asian twist. There’s spicy Nam Prik Wings for those who don’t mind using their hands. The Not So Stinky Tofu is a must, the crispy pig ears a lovely texture contrast to the pillowy fried beancurd below. Garden – a dish of roasted vegetables dressed in a miso peanut sauce – will change your mind about vegetables. The Sambal Matah Fish Taco makes for messy eating, but that’s only because it’s so good you want to stuff everything into your mouth in one go.
But the duality of Stay Gold Flamingo can be divisive as it is intriguing, and it will take Bai and Khoo every effort to find the right balance between both concepts.
The question remains – are you Team Stay Gold, or are you Team Flamingo?
Stay Gold Flamingo
Address 69 Amoy St, Singapore 069888 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 10am to 12mn Mondays to Saturdays; 10am to 5pm on Sundays
Tel (65) 8876 7364