Good Intentions is a fine new watering hole at Katong with craft beers, cask ales and handcrafted cocktails.
[Good Intentions is now officially closed]
Singapore’s iconic Katong precinct, particularly the stretch along East Coast Road, has been seeing quite some renewal of late. Amidst that gentrification is an entire new slate of upscale drinking holes, particularly of the craft beer bar variety. What started with gastrobar In Bad Co today sees the likes of Freebird, Tapout, and Beer Basket add to the number of free-pouring beer taps to what was once a more idyllic neighbourhood.
One of the latest additions we think is of note? Good Intentions.
Good Intentions is a relatively nondescript, minimalist modern pub occupying two floors of a Katong shophouse next to pioneering – and far more traditional – British-style Rabbit Carrot Gun. The first floor houses a long bar with some seats, while a small dog-friendly alfresco space out front is likely to attract some pet owners from the private housing in the area for a pint or two. The upper floor is an open dining area, with furniture that is more utilitarian than for aesthetic reasons.
Why do we say Good Intentions is interesting, and especially for beer lovers? It is home to a trio of cask engines, dispensing cask ales the likes you find in the most traditional British pubs. Not familiar with cask ales? Unlike your usual beers that are carbonated with carbon dioxide, these are beers that are hand-pumped through special machines – the aforementioned cask engines – for very fine carbonation. The result? A smoother, creamier beer texture, if a little warmer than usual.
Cask ales are exceedingly hard to find in Singapore. They simply don’t get exported from Britain. In the past couple of years though, locally-produced cask ales have become available; local craft breweries Brewlander and Lion Brewery have started brewing some. The ones from Good Intentions are from Brewlander; you’ll find the likes of the Respect Porter, Xtra Pale Ale, and Love Wild IPA on cask. Our favourite though is the Beware the Seagulls, because this English Bitter is a beer style that rightfully belongs in a cask.
Good Intentions also has a range of regular craft beers on tap; they rotate brews from a number of local breweries, so offerings can differ.
But if you’re none too keen on beer, Good Intentions also offers cocktails. These handcrafted cocktails are a step up from the more pedestrian gin and tonics you normally find at your run-of-the-mill watering hole. And little wonder – Good Intentions are run by the same folks behind award-winning cocktail bar Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall.
Certainly, some of that mixology finesse has rubbed off here. Their gin and tonic, Ichigo-Hi, incorporates strawberry and genmaicha notes, for example. The Trigona Yuzu Sour is sweet, sour, yet savoury, combining gin, Trigona honey, lemon, and a touch of yuzu mirin for some umami complexity.
Shockingly good is Not A Lychee Martini. This spirit-forward cocktail still tastes like a Lychee Martini – albeit less sweet – but it gets its lychee notes from Daiyame shochu instead. Good too is the Burnt Butter Espresso Martini, which also less sweet than usual, and gets a savoury, creamy note from the burnt butter to round out any roasty coffee bitterness.
Another reason why we think Good Intentions is noteworthy? They open at 10am on most days, so you can start your day with some good coffee and follow that with an early pint or cocktail if you so desire.
Grub here is decent as well. There are brunch options if you swing in early; Eggs & Snags is their take on an English breakfast, or you can go with the Shakshuka for more Middle Eastern flavours. There’s Hotcakes – which comes with a melange of fruits – if you prefer a sweeter start to the morning.
Their Fish & Chips are utterly enjoyable, the battered hunks of red snapper fresh and freshly-fried. Later in the day there are more options – a laden Charcuterie Platter that’s good for sharing, or a Spicy Rum Rigatoni that my dining companion wolfed down in seconds.
You can accuse Katong, a bastion of Peranakan tradition, of getting increasingly over-gentrified. But few can argue against a bar like Good Intentions, which brings a slice of fine city living – and drinking – to their favourite hood.
[Image credits: Good Intentions]
Address 45 East Coast Rd, Singapore 428765 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 10am to 10.30pm Wednesdays to Mondays; 4pm to 10.30pm on Tuesdays
Tel (65) 8611 8897