Taylor Adam is a speakeasy cocktail bar – hidden behind a tailor shop front in One Raffles Place – that serves up great bespoke classics.
Just when you think the era of the speakeasy is over, another one surreptitiously opens up to prove you wrong. And right in the heart of Singapore’s Central Business District too, no less. Taylor Adam is a cosy cocktail bar hidden in plain sight behind a tailor’s atelier on the first floor of One Raffles Place, so innocuous chances are you’ll walk by without realising there’s a watering hole secreted within.
It was just about a decade ago that speakeasy bars became the rage in Singapore. There’s the OG 28 HongKong Street – which celebrated its 10th anniversary earlier this year – and the now-defunct The Library, both of which were hidden behind false fronts and employed secret passwords when they first started. Likewise Chinese-inspired cocktail bars The Dragon Chamber and the sadly-defunct Mona Lounge; the former hid behind a fake refrigerator door, while the latter required a secret number combination.
Over time though, the novelty of the speakeasy bar wore off. Passcodes for entry aren’t a thing anymore. Not to mention the idea of a speakeasy – an unlicensed illegal drinking establishment – is rather ludicrous in tight-laced Singapore.
Just as well that Taylor Adam doesn’t take itself too seriously as a speakeasy. Beyond the changing curtains that hide the entrance to the bar and the spiffily-suited bartenders, the tailor shop concept – a collaboration with Meiko Tailor – doesn’t carry fully within.
Its cocktails doesn’t quite reflect its atelier aspirations. Instead its debut cocktail menu of 12 drinks are a liquid exploration of the cultures and flavours of the British Commonwealth, stretching from Jamaica to India, Britain to Southeast Asia. There’s LSD, essentially a marmalade-laced gin sour inspired by The Beatles’ 1967 hit “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, or Ceylon Panc, an arrack-based punch with notes of black tea, sweet wood spice, and rose water. Otherwise there’s Prince Of Wales, what is essentially a French 75 and Bramble hybrid that’s topped off with prosecco instead of champagne. Our favourite of the lot? The Vesper Martini, because it sticks to the original formulation of the classic.
Speaking of which – while the off-the-rack cocktails are fun and whimsical, it’s the bespoke classics at Taylor Adam that truly impress. Ask for any standard classic cocktail – a dirty Martini, a Negroni, or a Manhattan, for example – and chances are the ones they make for you will suit you to a T. When we mentioned we didn’t like our Old Fashioned too sweet, ours came made using rye whiskey instead of the usual bourbon for a spicier, less saccharine version. A rum-based Irish Coffee hit the spot too. Only a Martinez came below expectations, and only because the bar hadn’t restocked its maraschino liqueur.
When it comes to a good bespoke tailor, form is as important as substance. In that sense Taylor Adam delivers a great fit for our drinking needs.
Address 1 Raffles Place, #01-03, Singapore 048616 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 5pm to 10.30pm Mondays to Saturdays; closed on Sundays
Tel (65) 8879 5854