Puffy Bois is an elevated dive bar tucked on an upper floor of a Bali Lane shophouse that dishes out excellent pizzas and smashable cocktails.
OK, I know an ‘elevated dive bar’ is somewhat of a contradiction. But once you drop into Puffy Bois in Kampong Glam and see it for yourself you’ll know what I mean.
Assuming you even find the entrance in the first place.
When you do locate the unassuming front and head upstairs, you’ll be confronted by a space that looks and feels like someone’s lovingly converted their sprawling home attic into a welcoming and very unpretentious cocktail bar. And one that just happens to house a pizza oven as well.
Puffy Bois co-founder Samuel Ng looked to create a cocktail bar that he’d personally wanted to drink in. And as a former trade ambassador for brands like Four Pillars Gin and Monkey Shoulder Whisky, Sam’s drunk at enough places to have a good idea of what he wants. Dark wooden panels and flooring, practical but comfortable leather lounge seats, and a more than decent sound system pumping out familiar tunes, all of which immediately set you at ease like you’re at the home of a close friend.
And those pizzas. The pizza selection here is very small, but they are excellent. All boast a puffy outer ring, crisp bottom, homemade sauce and just enough toppings to give you the proper bite you want in a great pie.
There’s the dependable Margherita or Pepperoni, of course, but go for the fun ones. Black Clams is a lovely seafood-y twist, while the Parma-Roni – which comes topped with parma ham – is deliciously savoury and unctuous. For those of you vege-only types there’s a yummy Spiced Arti laden with roasted artichoke and a spiced butter chicken sauce.
As for the cocktails? The drinks at Puffy Bois are all designed to be served fast and in volume, eschewing fancy garnishes and often meaningless flourishes like using smoke or bubble guns.
Instead you have absolutely drinkable cocktails like Sour Crush Cooler, a whisky highball that’s tangy from the use of sour mango, or Upper Echelon, a tall refreshing rum-laced drink with notes of starfruit.
Even Duck And Weave, their tequila take on an Old Fashioned, is a lighter and crisper take on the classic. And while I’m no fan of the classic Bamboo, the clever use of Palo Cortado instead of the usual Fino here gives it plenty more refinement and panache. Or Solaris, their version of the Negroni, made lighter and more ethereal with a touch of blood orange.
And for those who aren’t into cocktails, Puffy Bois offers a very small wine list that including a couple of natural wine and grower champagne options.
Just as we were leaving, a gaggle of US Navy sailors on shore leave rock up to slake their thirst. Chances are they’ll love this very different kind of dive bar.
Me? I’ll be visiting this friend’s home quite a bit.