Imagine this: it’s the 1800s, and you’re in a place where sailors and gold miners would typically hang out. Lots of cheap watering holes juxtaposed with opulent interiors, brick walls and concrete floors. Except you’re now in modern-day Singapore, standing at a multi-level dual-concept bar in Boat Quay known as Barbary Coast.
Opened by bartending veterans Celia Schoonraad and Michael Callahan, Barbary Coast is inspired by a district in San Fransisco of the name name during the mid-1800s. At that time, the area saw a rapid influx of miners and sailors during the gold rush of 1849, as well as a lively array of bars, dance halls and concert saloons. This newly-opened bar pays homage exactly to the propitious days of that period through two different concept bars.
On the first floor, find Deadfall, a dive bar inspired by affordable watering holes littered throughout the original Barbary Coast. Here, the bar is made up of upcycled shipping pallets and original Kopitiam bar chairs. Wooden beams and brick walls outfit the interior, complete with concrete floors to add to the raw and rustic ambience.
You’ll also notice plenty of sailor-themed deco — they’re a nod to the seamen who populated Barbary Coast back in the days.
Cocktails are affordably priced at $14++ and based on colour, while draft beer goes from $6++ NETT and wine at $12++ per glass. Unique instagrammable interior and modestly-priced drinks? Sign us up anytime.
Head upstairs to the Barbary Coast Ballroom for a more intimate and highbrow experience. The Ballroom is a stark contrast to Deadfall’s casual ambience and rustic decor — instead, find lush, parlour-style interiors.
Walls are adorned with nine different patterns of wallpaper, complementing the chandeliers and vintage furniture. Though highbrow, the bar is centered around communal sitting with couches and booths to allow customers to settle in and mingle.
Drinks are slightly pricier here but not exorbitant. Highlights include the bitter and exotic Three Graces ($22++) made with ingredients like Sage Pisco Encanto and rhubarb bitters, and the smokey Tommy Tomate ($22++) that’s created with tomato-infused Mezcal Vida, kaffir agave and lime. High-end bites such as cheese platters available too.
Location: 16 North Canal Road, Singapore 048828
Monday: 4 PM – late Tuesday/Wednesday: 4 PM – later Thursday through Saturday: 4 PM – latest Sunday: closed
Barbary Coast Ballroom
Monday: 6 PM – 1 AM Tuesday/Wednesday: 6 PM – 2 AM Thursday through Saturday: 6 PM – 3 AM Sunday: closed