Sip a cocktail at CÉ LA VI, perched on top of Singapore's iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel © Kylie McLaughlin / Getty Images
CÉ LA VI SkyBar
Balancing on the ‘bow’ of the equally famous Marina Bay Sands hotel, CÉ LA VI SkyBar might just be the most hyped bar in Singapore. Service can be patchy and at times it can feel touristy – but the sweeping views over Marina Bay really are worth it.
Dress code: rules are strict – no shorts, flip-flops or tank tops. The bar is cultivating a chic vibe so it’s best to glam up.
What to order: cocktail prices are equivalent to what you’d pay to visit the SkyPark Observation Deck on another area of the rooftop – we think getting a drink and a view is a better deal. Cocktails are strong and there’s a large spirits menu, including a particularly good whiskey selection.
Best time to go: from midday there’s a standard S$20 entry fee, redeemable on drinks and food, then a S$28 cover charge kicks in from 9pm on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights. Check the Facebook page as they have DJs and special events every week.
Look across to the iconic buildings of Singapore from Smoke and Mirrors © Ria de Jong / Lonely Planet
Smoke and Mirrors
Really want to impress? Head to swanky Smoke and Mirrors, perched on top of Singapore’s highly acclaimed National Gallery. The view stretches across the Padang to Singapore icons Esplanade – spot Theatres on the Bay, Fullerton Hotel, ArtScience Museum, Singapore Flyer and Marina Bay Sands hotel.
Dress code: with its art gallery location, this place calls for classy smart-casual with a touch of artsy flair; strictly no sandals or flip-flops.
What to order: the bartenders know they’re competing with one of Singapore’s best views so cocktails here are showstoppers. There's a good bar bites menu so pick a few items and chow down; the crispy fish skin with salt and spices should not be missed.
When to go: if you want front-row seats for sunset make a reservation via the website; otherwise there’s plenty of room around the bar. Service can be hit and miss, but that view.
Head up to Level 33 for craft beer with a view © Level 33
One for beer enthusiasts, Level 33 is (currently) the world’s highest urban craft brewery. Your attention will be torn between the sweeping views over central Singapore and the dazzling giant copper brewhouse kettles displayed centre stage.
Dress code: urban cool. There's no need for a tie or jacket but take note: the vibe is industrial penthouse with earthy tones and mood lighting.
What to order: the beer paddle, a 100ml taster of five Level 33 craft brews or their seasonal brew, only served until the tap runs dry. The beer dining menu pairs perfectly if you’re hungry. If beer isn’t your thing, a selection of impressive wines is available too.
Best time to go: locals say 6pm is the cut-off to grab a seat on the deck. Arrive before then and settle in to watch the skyline twinkle to life. Enjoy happy hour before 8pm, because like this bar, the prices are sky-high.
The rooftop at Hi-So, an urban oasis © SO Sofitel Singapore
Perched atop a beautifully restored heritage building (now the SO Sofitel Singapore), Hi-So is upping the urban glamour stakes of central Singapore’s bar scene. The view of neighbouring skyscrapers gives the feeling of poolside decadence in an urban jungle. The Palm Beach–inspired cabanas surrounding the gold-tiled infinity pool only add to the appeal.
Dress code: weekdays attract cosmopolitan city workers and an artsy crowd, but come the weekend it has an international feel.
What to order: the Hi-So’s resident mixologist makes a mean mojito. Food is limited so you’re better off scooting across the road to Lau Pa Sat hawker centre for a cheap bite.
When to go: there’s generally a drink deal on every night and weekend pool parties. Check the hotel's Facebook page for upcoming events.
Bar-goers enjoy Loof's leafy surrounds © Loof
The bar that started the rooftop craze in the Lion City, this green city-centre escape is quirky old-school Singapore personified. Loof’s lush vertical gardens offer a verdant contrast to the shiny skyscrapers and there are plenty of seating options for relaxing in this green oasis. Stop by the onsite ‘Mama Shop’ to pick up a nostalgic Singaporean knick-knack.
Dress code: think alternative trendy, but there are no set rules. We suggest cool and comfy as it can get a little stuffy in the late afternoon.
What to order: with a Singaporean twist to the drinks and the food menu, you’re in for a few surprises. Sample a cocktail from the ‘Asian sensations’ list or get nostalgic with some local favourites. The ‘die-die must try partay platter’ items are just that; the chilli crab dip with waffle fries are superb.
When to go: this place pumps every night (except Sunday) with one of the most popular happy hours in town. Doors open at 5pm and house pours flow from $5 a pop, increasing a dollar per hour till 8pm.
Feel on top of the world at 1-Altitude © Epitome Collective / 1-Altitude
Towering 282m above Singapore, the world’s highest alfresco bar is not for those iffy about heights. The unobstructed 360-degree view from 1-Altitude is nothing short of spectacular – on a clear day you can see to Malaysia, and by night the twinkling lights from buildings below look like a carpet of stars beneath you.
Dress code: the modern decor, multicoloured lighting and exotic plants beg for smart duds – no shorts for men and no flip-flops for anyone.
What to order: the cover price (S$30 6pm to 9pm, S$35 after 9pm) includes a house drink on arrival. They’re nothing to write home about, though they are a refreshing accompaniment to the view. The next round will not be so kind on the wallet.
When to go: doors open at 6pm, and you’ll need to be in position by 6.30pm to catch sunset. Keep an eye on the weather as the upper roof shuts at the mere hint of rain. Ladies get free entry on Wednesdays and S$10 martinis all night.
Have drinks by the shimmering pool at Lantern © Ria de Jong / Lonely Planet
What Lantern lacks in height, it makes up for in atmosphere. Entry is via the luxurious foyer of the Fullerton Bay Hotel and the stylish lantern-inspired bar surrounds a shimmering pool. The service is first class, as are the views of the Marina Bay waterfront.
Dress code: hotel guests may be in their swimming attire, but it’s best to stick to smart-casual.
What to order: the signature Red Lantern cocktail with watermelon, cucumber, lemon and tequila is like drinking a tropical breeze. A good selection of wine and bubbles is also on offer. Prices are on the high side, plus drinks are served in plastic glassware due to the poolside location, but it’s worth starting your night here for the glamorous atmosphere.
When to go: visit in the late afternoon to enjoy the waterfront breeze, then linger to watch the Marina Bay Sands laser light show from your seat.
Sit under the twinkling lights of the Potato Head Singapore rooftop © Potato Head Singapore
Potato Head Singapore
The epitome of Singaporean hip, this kitschy bar is all draped lights and haphazardly placed potted plants. The mismatched garden furniture adds to the wonderful randomness of rooftop Potato Head Singapore but it all works together beautifully.
Dress code: there are no set rules but you’ll need to dress cool to blend in with the crowd.
What to order: get your hands on one of the nusa caña (Indonesian rum) concoctions; the zombie will leave your head spinning. For those who prefer to linger, the tangy rosella margarita fits the bill. Tummy rumbling? The gourmet burgers come in flavour combinations that are as quirky as the surrounds.
When to go: the rooftop opens at 5pm (closed Mondays) and there’s a no-reservations policy so it’s best to get there early to score a seat. Check the bar’s Facebook page for special events.
Last updated in December 2017