Can’t travel, will go out for a drink. Yes sir! Where to go for a good cocktail in Singapore? Look no further, let us share with you a spot you MUST go for a cocktail in Singapore: Employees Only Singapore. You must go not because we say so, but all the merit and story behind this spot makes it worthy! It’s not a gimmicky bar. It’s not a theme bar. It’s nothing flashy, fancy or overwhelming, but it has what you need for a guaranteed good time even during the current restrictions in Singapore with no music. The staff is sociable and they are actually a talented fun bunch. If you are not with your crew (of five people!), sit by the bar and they will take good care of you.
I’m going to continue this write up this way: HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT EMPLOYEES ONLY? From my many many trips to New York City, how did no one ever tell me to go there for a good party time? Now, here I am, stuck in Singapore during the restrictions, not allowed to literally experience what it really is to be at Employees Only, at least, the Singapore version. I can only hear tales of those that have been to one or the other (or even both), of how fun this place is since it opened in June 2016.
EO was established in downtown New York City in December 2004. All the way to today, Employees Only NYC has been commended with countless awards by multiple industry entities. It was once 4th on the list of the World’s 50 Best Bars, now still 38th place. The Singapore outlet sure holds its standards as high as its counterpart in NYC.
After a few visits to EO Singapore, I had to make sure to have my own write up of the spot on AdventureFaktory. I was lucky enough to actually catch Steve Schneider, Principal Bartender and co-owner of Employees Only Singapore to experience the place with the man himself! He is usually in NYC or travelling the world but thanks to COVID, we have him in Singapore for a little longer! Catch him now before he leaves again.
So first of all, if you are trying to find EO Singapore for the first time and you haven’t been here for a while, you might struggle as there is no signage out the front. Maps and the address will guide you to the right door and you will be in front of a black-framed store with draping curtains. Inside, find the specific EO style designed bar counter with dimly lit lights. Employees Only, before the pandemic, is usually packed. Now, with the restrictions between tables, you can actually see the place being more spacious. The good news about this venue is that YOU don’t need to look fly to go there at all, there is no dress code, yay. Although, it is not recommended to be a date night for an anniversary type of venue as it gets noisy and rowdy, but you sure go there for a really good party time!
Before I dive in the drinking, I wanna talk about the Food Menu at Employees Only Singapore. It is totally worth combining your dinner plans with your drinking plans at EO. Based in NYC, Executive Chef Julia Jaksic, is the genius behind the food menu. She also used to come back and forth to make sure all is good and no wonder why the consistency of the food is undeniable, from my observations of the Google Reviews of EO for the past few years.
For this food experience at EO, I wish I had 2 stomachs to try more food items. We started with the Bone Marrow Poppers (S$15), recommended strongly by Mister Schneider himself. Imagine puff pastries, vol-au-vent style, filled with juicy and melty bone marrow topped with Bordelaise sauce. I probably could’ve eaten 10 of them alone, although it comes in 4!
We wanted some salad so the Crunchy Green Salad (S$17) served us well. For mains, I was craving a good pasta. After reading it was house-made, I had to go for it. The Cavatelli (S$28) is a house-made pasta with pork sausages, tomato & rocket, simple but it surely hit the spot! Then, we had another food classic, the EO Smash Burger (S$26), which doesn’t disappoint with its juicy meat. The menu surely has items for different cravings, that you won’t worry when organizing your night out! Next time I’m there, I will have to try their Maguro Kueh Pie Tee and Hand-Cut Steak Tartare.
Drinking at EO is simple. Nothing too fancy, just concoctions that hit the right spot. I would recommend Ready Fire Aim (S$25), the very first cocktail I had at EO before this experience. The drink is made of fresh lime juice, house-made honey-pineapple Syrup & Bittermens Hellfire bitters, served straight up. It is probably my favourite drink at EO Singapore, still. For something more sweet, go for the Dragon’s Lair (S$26), made with Tried and True Vodka, red dragonfruit, toasted green tea, lychee, fresh pineapple, lemon juice & egg white. Another must is the EO Gimlet (S$28), made of Perry’s Tot Navy Strength Gin & EO’s lime cordial served over a large ice cube. It is quite a refreshing drink and also was my first ever gimlet, which is the name for the classic cocktail made of gin and lime juice.
The 99 Classic Cocktail Club
The staff and delicious food and cocktails are not the only reason to return to Employees Only Singapore. Meet the 99 Classic Cocktail Club. A fun and different way to engage people to come back to Employees Only for good times. Read more about it as anyone including YOU, can join the club!
So there you have it, add Employees Only Singapore on your bar hoping list. With a warm setting, great drinks and quality food, you have no reason to skip it! And no dress code means that you can come from anywhere and enjoy a beverage or two!