best bars singapore

Sago House is Singapore’s best cocktail bar for pure, unadulterated fun

There’s a memory imprinted into every bar hopper in Singapore — one where they meander about Chinatown before bumbling onto a viridescent door at 20 Sago Street, then taking a leap of faith to trudge up the seedy flight of stairs to reach Sago House.

sago house

It’s only been three years since its conception during the pandemic, but there’s no disputing that Sago House has earned its reputation as one of the city’s most wonderfully boisterous hideaways.

Maybe it was the draw of its clandestine operations, perhaps the convivial staff was the persuasion, or possibly the ever-changing menu captured hearts. Ultimately, its brand of irreverent fun accrued a loyal base of regulars.

It was only inadvertent that Sago House would get its due as one of the best bars in Singapore — in actuality, those were plaudits that were long overdue.

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The spotlight finally hovered over them in 2023, when recognition came in excess as a Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award arrived, followed by a lofty 10th in Asia’s 50 Best Bars then, finally, a debut on World’s 50 Best Bars at No. 32.

For all its glory though, even the bar couldn’t escape the stark cruel reality of real estate in Singapore as the bar had to move out of its iconic abode of many years. The first chapter closed with aplomb — with a thundering thrashing before vacation.

sago house duxton

The second chapter then hastily followed as Sago House came out of the shadows, now in plain sight amid the crowded Duxton, in a bigger space that’s more cosy and intimate and less dingy and grungy.

Even with its cleaner new look, the walls continue to carry the spirit of the old Sago House with its iconic monster mural returning, accompanied by a suite of mounted panels that throwback to the windows where the weekly menus were scriggled. 

No two visits the same

Sago House has always been a breath of fresh air in Singapore’s fastidious cocktail bar scene, where the best bars obsess over crafting the most profound concept menus.

Avoiding the boring and banal, Sago House instead relishes in the idiosyncrasy of weekly changing menus to supplement its stable core menu that contains a few favourites such as the Popcorn Paloma.

sago house menu

Conscientiousness is stellar but spontaneity has its devilish charm too — and this is a bar that’s allergic to seriousness, despite the pedigree and laurels.

This is where it shines, as sparks fly behind the counter with eclecticism and whimsy abound, regularly juxtaposing easy-to-appreciate classic twists beside curveball curiosities utilising ingredients such as chicken stock.

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A first visit to the new Duxton Sago House continued to demonstrate that as the team hit us with a hand filled with aces. It was Christmas Eve and the menu was filled with winter inspirations but a standout came strong and fast in the form of the Flip Navidad.

The fittingly festive half-sibling of the eggnog was nothing but comforting, providing a velvety dose of eggy pumpkin-pie richness, wafted with a wholesome touch of spices to warm you up.

Other creature comforts infiltrated Sago House’s menu as the Winter Wine-derland emulated mulled wine propped up with a splash of cognac whereas the butterscotch-inspired “You’re Balenciaga Harry” charmed with its fragrance.

sago house singapore

As zany as its name may be, the base was contrastingly simple: it melds brown butter-washed rum and butterscotch liqueur into a gratifyingly toasty highball that’s enthrallingly accented with a splash of vanilla coke-esque aromatics.

Then there was the impossibly zesty and refreshing Resting Grinch Face to round up the top three, evoking the Grinch with a Midori-tinted neon green base and accoutred with a cap of jovial red banana foam.

Fun on the fly

sago house review

However, Sago House’s magic doesn’t just end once you finish its weekly menu — bespoke requests are welcome too, in case the menu doesn’t appeal to your palate.

While I’ve had some great bespoke drinks such as Pandan Paper Planes in the past, a special Grasshopper Ramos made our visit a spectacular core memory.

In this drink, the team expertly amalgamated two of the most iconic modern dessert cocktails into a creamy stunner with a delightful chocolate-mint flavour — this may well be my all-time favourite here.

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At the end of it all, the Sago House team once again sent me out this new door with the same wide grin and a full heart. For a bar where no two visits are the same, one thing remains constant: every visit is a party, every staff interaction a treat, and every drink an indulgence. 

Yes, there will always be hits and misses with the challenge of weekly menu updates but you know what? I daresay it’s a risk that is more than worth taking.

Make a reservation online before you visit Sago House.

Sago House

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  • Address: 37 Duxton Hill, Singapore 089615
  • Hours: (Tues–Sun) 6pm to 12am

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