Cocktail bar Night Hawk merges retro sophistication and dystopian futurism for a nostalgically familiar yet fantastically foreign cocktail menu.
Stepping into Night Hawk is like stepping into a cocktail bar you read about in a science fiction show.
And not just any sci-fi flick, but those specifically written by 20th century science fiction authors trying to imagine what living in the distant future looks – and tastes – like. Think Ten Forward, the crew lounge of Star Trek’s USS Enterprise. Or the Mos Eisley Cantina on Tatooine in Star Wars.
According to founder and owner Peter Chua, the concept – which takes over the space along Tanjong Pagar Road once occupied by Junior The Pocket Bar, and tucked behind a specialty coffee bar – is actually inspired by Edward Hopper’s 1942 American realism masterpiece “Nighthawks”. The oil painting, if you aren’t familiar with it, depicts a bartender serving three night owls looking for a drink in a deserted urban streetscape.
“Night Hawk is a bar that plays on the idea of the convergence of time,” explains Chua. “We blend the past, present and future into our space from the decor to the cocktails. We did lean heavily on the aesthetics of Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks” and moulded it into a retro modern meets futurism venue,” Chua adds.
But if you knows Chua well, it’s actually wildly appropriate. Because anybody who has met award-winning bartender – who was also behind pop-up cocktail joint Junior The Pocket Bar and contemporary dive bar Nemesis – knows he rattles off at rapid-fire speed, merging his words in a way that can throw you into a convoluted space-time continuum.
The cocktails at cosy 22-seater Night Hawk are likewise themed along those lines. They are heavy riffs on classic cocktails, loosely based on the food and drink you’d find an American diner in a retro-vintage-meets-the-future sort of way while employing modern mixology techniques.
There’s the signature Nighthawks, of course, a play on the iconic painting. This is a rum- and vodka-based coffee cocktail; imagine a modern Espresso Martini and old school Irish Coffee hybrid. Perfect, we think, for a night owl on a sleepless night.
Or the Kick Artist Fix, a spirited Manhattan-style cocktail that happens to taste like McDonalds hotcakes (it even comes garnished with a mini pancake for good measure). For those who prefer something lighter, there’s Chromatic Attack. This is a soda shake reinvented into a lively rum-based milk punch, certainly a fun yet nostalgic tipple.
Other drinks on the menu are similarly wacky named, barely shining any light on what they might turn out to be. Antique Fad turns out to be a wild spin on an Old Fashioned with pistachio and chocolate notes, while Gamma-ray Holiday is… well, ok, we don’t exactly know what that gin-based cocktail is supposed to be with its bitter gourd component.
In a way, a night out at Night Hawk is like stepping into a time portal not knowing what’s on the other side. But that only makes it all the more fun.
Address 43 Tanjong Pagar Road, #01-02, Singapore 088464 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 5.30pm to 12am Tuesdays to Saturdays; closed on Sundays and Mondays
Tel (65) 9666 0928