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The zany, fun, ingenious Junior the Pocket Bar: a chameleon of ever-evolving concepts

A standard calendar dictates the mixology purveyed at most top cocktail bars — special occasions give rise to seasonal-specific tipples whereas menu overhauls are usually triggered upon the passage of a year. But you know what? That timetable simply doesn’t apply to Junior the Pocket Bar.

junior the pocket bar

Found in a hidden little alcove behind the ever-popular and cereal-milk-latte-slinging coffee darlings Maxi Coffee, the clandestine Junior the Pocket Bar isn’t exactly a hidden gem but more of a cult favourite amongst imbibers.

It’s usually accessible only from the stairwell to the side, with those stairs seemingly going nowhere except leading up to prim and proper office space during the day.

When evening comes around, however, its overhanging neon sign flickers to life, indicating the speakeasy’s operation by drenching its cramped confines with a fiery red lustre.

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What awaits diners inside is entirely contingent on when guests visit. Junior the Pocket Bar is a chameleon which abandons its identities and themes every four months or so while undertaking an arduous task of relentless reinvention.

After all, the change is not merely menu-deep, it’s also skin-deep — perhaps a more challenging task for an indie bar. Various concepts usher in brand-new concepts, interior design, and even uniforms. And closing out on 2023 is Volume 10, “Palace”.

junior the pocket bar palace menu

In this edition, the concept is informed by tales of the Joseon Dynasty, and a vibrant tapestry of scarlets, cyans, and indigoes replaces the whimsical technicolour of the erstwhile “Saturday Morning Cartoons”.

Beyond the palette, the walls also take on a more textured look where rustic Korean motifs and folk drawings are featured against a backdrop based on an iconic silk-screen painting of the era.

For a team with no Koreans on board, Junior the Pocket Bar deserves plaudits for evoking imagery of Korea’s rustic palaces through such informed and deft design touches.

Your body is a Korean palace 

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With each iteration of the menu, the food menu also undergoes a revamp and the current Korean theme inadvertently interposed new items such as Naengmyeon ($26) amongst staples.

But if you’re going for safe, one item that persists through all the menu changes is the Classic Cheeseburger ($25). Of course, some might have their doubts but it’s not just any patronising bar-grub-style burger, though.

Junior the Pocket Bar’s cheeseburger experience entails twin luscious wagyu patties, sharp and gooey cheddar, punchy gherkins, and oodles of decadence — it stacks up against the best of the best.

junior the pocket bar review

“Palace” also happens to be the first menu with Edu Zamora —Junior the Pocket Bar’s new General Manager— on board, who brings experience from previous stints at Smoke & Mirrors and Origin Bar

Strong ideas can be found in many corners of the menu, one of which is the extremely photogenic Makgeolli ($26). This very simply elevates the usual mixology surrounding the staple by giving guests a choice of spirit while having homemade tepache as a component, crafted with various fruits.

Served with my choice of mezcal, the rice and fruity notes blend in seamlessly into the makgeolli and the slight agave, while the faint perfume of smoke also underscored the rice wonderfully.

junior the pocket bar korean menu

Experimental palates though, are a match made in heaven with the Gochujang (S$26). Probably my favourite concoction from Junior the Pocket Bar’s Korean-inspired menu, it’s not merely a hard-hitting drink but also ingenious and rivetingly complex.

Its entrance is announced by a sweet umami, along with a kiss of smoke and heat, before it founders and transitions into a robust and drily grapefruit-forward halfway point.

However it eventually surges back up and explodes into a vivacious crescendo of tomato-like twang before vanishing into a delectably balmy, peppery finish — loosely reminiscent of a Bloody Mary twist, but profoundly upgraded.

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Lychee martini fans might also be interested in the Aloe Vera ($26), a riff on the classic that comes emblazoned with an ornate edible paper garnish, but this is personally the only drink that underdelivered on my expectations.

Extremely palatable and agreeable, no doubt — alas just way too saccharine for me to appreciate the nuances of the crisp aloe vera notes against the usual profile. 

junior the pocket bar

Junior the Pocket Bar is an establishment that I always have anticipation for. With utmost candour, the constantly rotating themes sound like a gimmick to more cynical drinkers who aren’t familiar with the bar.

That said, boss-lady Hazel has been with the bar for a long time — she understands its essence and the clientele’s demands. It hasn’t truly fallen flat before throughout the years and I adored the ambitiousness of it all.

With Edu on board, I can only see things on the up and up for them. Well, at least the fun and flair will be rocketing skywards.

The bar only accepts walk-ins but you can buy the bar’s merch on their website, too.

Junior the Pocket Bar


  • Address: 6 Ann Siang Hill, Singapore 069787
  • Hours: (Tues–Sat) 6pm–12am

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