Never mind Singapore’s heat and humidity or the risk of heavy downpours, the recent boom of rooftop bars has tipplers and teetotalers eager to risk the weather to drink in the view: pink and orange sunsets over a sea of skyscrapers, the day winding down in busy Chinatown, night lights and laser beams painting shapes and figures in the sky.
Here are the best al fresco spots to enjoy Singapore’s spectacular skyline. Just relax and appreciate the view.
Hands-down, 1-Altitude has the most comprehensive view of the city.
At 282 meters above sea level atop the OUB Building, this world’s highest al fresco bar has an unobstructed view of the city from the heart of the financial district.
When it rains and when winds pick up, this entirely open-air space furnished with day eds and colorfully-lit chairs is closed for safety reasons, so check the weather before heading over.
OUB Building, 1 Raffles Place; +65 6438 0410
This semi-circular space’s metallic façade and slate-colored tiles add some military style to the sunny yellow-lit bar with orange stools.
Army buffs will like this seventh-story observation deck at Wangz Hotel: this outdoor watchtower space is not just airy, it also has bird’s-eye view of the surrounding residential flats.
Halo’s Tiong Bahru location may mean it’s a little removed from the hustle of downtown and the bustle of the business district, but come Sports Night the atmosphere is as good as any other.
Go during happy hour (Monday-Saturday: 4 p.m.-8 p.m., Sunday: all day) when it’s two-for-one wines, draught beers and house pours.
231 Outram Road; +65 6595 1388
You can’t really land a chopper on this massive roof — the “H” is made of decorative light boxes that double up as seats — but don’t sweat it.
If you wanted your ’do messed up and your grooves stifled by throngs of people, you would have been partying on the other side of the river, at Clarke Quay central.
Instead, you get to raise your unobstructed elbows with Helipad Iced Teas and sway to the gentle Singapore River breeze.
#05-22 Central, 6 Eu Tong Sen St. +65 6327 8118
Singapore’s youngest architectural icon, Marina Bay Sands (MBS), is the only structure standing 200 meters high in its immediate vicinity.
This means KU DE TA, its party bar, has spectacular views into the city and out over the waters that hug our tiny isle, and of Marina Bay Sands’ infamous infinity pool.
Arrive at sunset to reap the full experience, it’s a transition from sharp to gleaming views with a breathtaking sunset.
If you’re unable to tear yourself away from the fancy night lights, stave off hunger pangs with the platter of five wagyu mini burgers and the chopped tuna tartare and flatbread while enjoying the nightly laser show.
Marina Bay Sands SkyPark, 1 Bayfront Ave.
This fifth-floor roof space is extremely limited so make sure you call ahead to reserve as many of their seats as you can.
You’ll still be rubbing sweaty shoulders with the largely expat community who regularly hold private events at La Terraza, but that is part of the squeezy space’s charm — at some point, even the most introverted member of the group will have to speak.
Of course, the well-mixed selection of international drinks and draft Hoegaarden will help lubricate conversations.
Roof, The Screening Room, 12 Ann Siang Road
The fifth floor of The Fullerton Bay Hotel won’t give anyone vertigo, but what Lantern lacks in altitude it makes up in finesse.
It’s sexy with a Mediterranean flair; slinky with a five-meter-long bar counter; and splashy with a gorgeous mosaic pool as a centerpiece and tucked-away skyline facing whirlpools for private midnight dips.
The Fullerton Bay Hotel, 80 Collyer Quay Road
Officially, this 10th-story rooftop bar with the sparkly close views of Raffles City and The Esplanade over its infinity pool is open only to the hotel’s guests occupying one of their 40 rooms.
But the general lack of service staff stationed up here means commoners like us can slip in unnoticed.
Fingers crossed then, that you get to this cozy timber-paneled al fresco roof early enough to snag one of the few Dedon love seats or the leaf-shaped sunbeds –- the stools at the bar, as you can expect, will do your wagon adventures no good.
41 Seah St. +65 6403 6000
Bar manager Akihiro Eguchi came out tops in this year’s Diageo Reserve World Class 2011 Singapore National finals with his Crown Jewel concoction: freshly distilled rosewater, pomegranate juice, simple sugar syrup and Tanqueray No. 10 gin.
Making a special request that he recreate this cocktail shouldn’t be the only reason to take a couple of nips here. Located among the shiny thorn-like caps of the Esplanade, it is the perfect vantage point to take in the ever-changing Singapore skyline, has a nice angle of the Merlion, as well as fireworks on red-letter days.
During competition off-seasons, strapping martinis made with fresh ingredients are the specialities of Orgo’s herd of Japanese mixologists.
#04-01 Esplanade-Theaters on the Bay, Roof Terrace, 8 Raffles Ave
This is no place for a quiet cocktail.
The expansive bamboo-themed cocktail bar that shares its 150-seat space with a sundeck with private cabanas, lap pool and gym and is filled with conversation-starter furniture pieces, so expect much to chat about.
Anyone stuck for a topic can start with the gaudy armchairs and work their way to the spindly dollhouse stools. French-influenced tapas and Japanese-inspired cocktails make up the menu.
3 Nanson Road; +65 6808 8888
Sitting atop the 1924 art deco corner shophouse that is The Scarlet boutique hotel is this fourth-floor bar and restaurant frequented by yuppies drawn to romantic enclaves.
And no wonder, this rooftop overlooking Chinatown’s red tiled roofs is a largely private, turned-down space with daybed coves and tables shaded by trees speckled with warm Christmas lights.
The Mediterranean-influenced menu also caters to the amorous; an oyster platter for two, Champagne and grilled meat; it’s all been thought out.
If things get too hot, couples won’t have to leave this sanctuary, they can just head downstairs and get a room.
33 Erskine Road