Inspiration and tips

CITY HIGHBALLS: LONDON AND SINGAPORE

News / Johnnie Walker Team / Mon, 28 Oct 19 10:48:23

As bartenders, we are often unofficially the keys to our city or neighbourhood’s best culture.

As part of the Johnnie Walker City Highball series, we’ll be hearing from bartenders around the world for the inside scoop on their city’s best bits. 

LONDON

EMILY CHIPPERFIELD (BARTENDER, CALOOH CALLAY)

HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN LONDON?

I have lived in East London for three and a half years now. I came here to pursue a relationship, which is now long gone, but I stayed for the amount of drive and energy you’ll find here - and in very few other places.

INITIAL THOUGHTS ON THE CITY?

In Australia the lifestyle was, frankly, much more comfortable. Adapting to London was really hard, but I knew if I managed to make it work it would be worth it. I’m still unsure whether there is room for me to build a life here, but I’m glad to call it home for now.

MOST UNEXPECTED THING?

It doesn’t rain as often as I thought it would.

WHAT’S A ‘MUST-DO’ FOR ANYONE VISITING?

If you happen to be around on a Saturday, Broadway market in Hackney is my happy place. It doesn’t get much more East London. Otherwise, go for a guided tour of the Tower of London by the local beefeaters. They’re hilarious. The old castle nestled in there is funnily underwhelming, though.

BEST BAR FOR FOOD?

Hawksmoor.

BEST BAR FOR A FIRST DATE?

Lyaness. The walk back through Blackfriar’s bridge at night is always a winner.

BEST BAR FOR A THIRD DATE?

On the more casual side, I’ll go with Sun Tavern. Otherwise, you’ll find me downstairs at Swift.

WHAT DOES YOUR PERFECT DAY IN THE CITY LOOK LIKE?

Drinks, food and a wander. I really feel at home in East London, so I would start with brunch at Trade, chased by a weekend stroll on Brick Lane market. If it’s sunny, I’d spend the afternoon playing chess and eating ice cream in Victoria park.

A pint and a dram at the Sun Tavern, followed by some tasty cocktails at Coupette.

Like many other bartenders, I go to new bars more often than I go out for dinner, so discovering a new restaurant always feels like a treat. After that, I’d take the tempo down with an outdoor screening at the rooftop cinema of Queen of Hoxton. Then probably wrap up with some late night drinks at Callooh Callay (of course). 

SINGAPORE

ANDREW LOUDON (HEAD BARTENDER, THE TIPPLING CLUB)

HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED HERE?

I’ve just celebrated my first year at Tippling Club, after arriving in Singapore just over 15 months ago.

INITIAL THOUGHTS ON SINGAPORE?

The first journey into town from the airport shocks you with how green and clean everywhere is. This place is an intoxicating mix: a bustling metropolitan, modern city still stacked with original charm and historic colonial architecture.

I love living here. It’s a great place to cultivate your palate – from world class bars and restaurants to the hawker’s centres jammed with local dishes and cuisines from all over Asia.

And there’s so much to do. There’s a big emphasis on sport and wellness here, and it’s so perfectly located to travel throughout Asia.

MOST UNEXPECTED THING?

How incredibly close and tight the hospitality industry is here, especially amongst bartenders. When someone new from out of town arrives, like I did, they get an incredibly warm welcome. Bartenders who ‘guest shift’ here always comment on the sense of community amongst the industry here.

I think it’s one of the main drivers that makes Singapore a unique and really special place, especially as a bartender.

WHAT’S A ‘MUST-DO’ FOR ANYONE VISITING?

It’s tough to narrow it down to one or two things. I’m pretty active, so I’d recommend the walks around the Macritchie Reservoir, the Botanical gardens or the Gardens by the Bay. Or get over to East Coast Park for some wakeboarding.

The Singapore National Gallery would probably edge it for me, though. It’s a beautiful old building filled with amazing artwork and culture – plus, it has a Michelin-starred restaurant and rooftop bar so you could spend the full day there no problem.

BEST BAR FOR FOOD?

For something to remember, the Tippling Club’s Big Mac Risotto and Pastrami Sandwich have to be on the list. Other winners are the Mac & Cheese Balls at 28 Hong Kong Street and the Steak Tartar at Employees Only. Visit Atlas for a mean Chorizo Sandwich, and if you hit Jigger & Pony for drinks, you’ll be rewarded with the most moreish crisps at the table.

BEST BAR FOR A FIRST DATE?

If you’re out to impress, I’d go to Atlas for the pure spectacle and opulence involved. Home to over a thousand gins, a champagne room, great drinks and excellent service in an atmospheric art deco space. It’s hard to not be impressed.

For something a little more laidback, Smoke & Mirrors above the National Art Gallery holds great appeal. Light bites and nice cocktails garnished with a sunset and stunning city views.

BEST BAR FOR A THIRD DATE?

For something more chilled and down to earth, my favourite would have to be Junior the Pocket bar. You can fit about 12 people in the space before it gets crowded, but it’s always a good time in there.

Spago at Marina Bay Sands would be another pick, if only for the view over the sea front and the city across the water.

BEST BAR FOR A WHISKY (DIVE AND FORMAL)?

For something special, visit Manhattan. A classically styled hotel bar in a wonderful setting with good music and great drinks, it always delivers. I always recommend there to friends visiting and often find myself joining them.

For a few drams somewhere more low key, Skinny’s would be my pick. It’s an industry favourite and caters to a late crowd. Located on a boat key and complete with private karaoke, pool tables, plenty of whisky and hot dogs at the bar – good times are rarely in short measure.

WHAT DOES YOUR PERFECT DAY IN SINGAPORE LOOK LIKE?

I start things pretty early with a good run around the national stadium and gardens by the bay, followed by breakfast at a little café down there. Somewhere with good coffee, like Monument.

For lunch, it has to be my favourite ramen place, Kagoshima. The noodles and broth are pretty famous throughout Singapore. It’s some of the most delicious food I’ve ever had.

I’ll get a yoga class or some reading in before cooking dinner and heading out to catch up with some friends over a few relaxing drinks. We’ll probably head for Tippling Club (naturally) before finishing up at Junior. 



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