Bar Stories, Haji Lane

14K and I passed by a furniture shop called “A Thousand stories.” WE LOVE IT and decided our future apartment should be exactly like this. Being “sfuntaneous,” I said, “Let’s go to the bar on the second floor here.” Climbed the stairs and woah! so crowded upstairs, you couldn’t tell from the quietness on the street. It was a different haven.

It was crowded so we didn’t sit at the bar. We sat in the next room with a long wooden table, like those used in a medieval setting. 14K likes the decor very, very much. It is sleek, modern, white and wood, minimalistic.

I, pretending to act manly, ordered the “Old Fashioned” ($30) and he had the sorbet mojito ($28), or as Hookerlily pronounces it, mo-chee-to. The Old-Fashioned is a drink with bitters, sugar, a rind of orange and an alcohol of your choice. We couldn’t appreciate it and I thought it was too bitter. The sorbet mojito was interesting: a lime sorbet, sour and very sweet, in mojito. If you don’t like sweet things, this one is not for you.

While I didn’t appreciate the (pretentious) decor as much as 14K (the bar’s decor is slightly different from the furniture shop which is more coordinated and homey and less pretentious), I like it that it’s gay-friendly. Pamphlets of Pink Dot were left at the entrance for people to take. Seriously, how can any pretentious bar that wants to be successful not be gay friendly? So we returned the next day, bringing Hookerlily.

It was without doubt a disaster. Hookerlily and I got a seat at the bar because we went for pre-prandial drinks. I told the bartender I wanted something banana in it. And he pondered for a long time, and concocted a banana chocolate with foamed milk. The photo you see at the top is the bartender flambe-ing the banana. It tasted great, but where was the alcohol? $20 something is too expensive for a smoothie.

Then, we made a reservation for the bench seat at the bar, and went for dinner. When we came back with 14K, the bartender actually gave our seat away. Seriously?

Then I saw the bartender making the same banana drink for others. Why did he pretend to ponder so long when I ordered it since he already had a ready-made formula?

14K wanted just whiskey, because that’s his usual drink. The bartender said, “Are you sure? Ordering whiskey here is like entering a treasure cave and leaving empty handed.”

14K said, “Ok, I’ll have a whiskey first. Maybe a cocktail later.” I’d have thought it was a very strong indiction of what 14K wanted – but the bartender went ahead to make a cocktail!!! Being proud of your creation is one thing but giving what the customers want is another.

I forgot what Hookerlily ordered this time, but I ordered something with melon, pointing to the honeydew. The bartender said, “You mean honeydew?” I said, “Yes, the melon.” He said, “There is no melon, only honeydew.” That pissed me off because 1. you don’t correct your customers and 2. honeydew is a melon, and it was the only melon on display there. I don’t mind being corrected–ask 14K and Hookerlily–but at least if you correct me, make sure you’re right. Dude, know your fruit taxonomy.

Again, not much alcohol in the cocktail.

But since we were chatting and lazy to move, we had our 3rd round of drinks. This time, the bartender was busy. 14K said to wait for him, I said to give the malay bartender a chance. Big mistake. It doesn’t pay to give chances. The two drinks the Malay bartender concocted were horrible. And he didn’t follow instructions. I wanted hazelnut but he made the drink with amaretto, almond syrup.

Then more trouble in paradise.

Actually, the day before when 14K and I were there, we already noted how pretentious the people are. The day before, when 14K and I sat on the long table, two girls were so pretentious and irritating at the other end. “Oh I just bought a bag.” “Oh do you know so-and-so?” WTF. SHUT THE FUCK UP.

So, Hookerlily, 14K and I encountered some very, very bad manners when we sat at the bar. A young girl, about 22 or so, kept emphasizing she is a lawyer. It was the way she said it…”Oh I’m a lawyer…” after a while, “oh my law firm is nearby..” after a while.. “Oh I am studying for the bar…” NOBODY FUCKING ASKED.

And her friend with a heavy jaw. She was like “When I was sturdyingggg in australiaaaa” with her fake australian accent. WTH. You studied in Australia for 4 years and you live in Singapore for 20 years, and you come back speaking with so obviously fake accent.

The two girls were flirting with the waiter, who is obviously gay?!! Not only pretentious and ugly, the girls are stupid. Seriously, for a pretentious bar like this, it’s amazing how ugly the people are.

And then the waiter. Speaking with a mixed accent. So strange. It sounded mostly like American, but also Singaporean, Australian, British. Then in the course of the conversation, he has lived in Singapore ALL HIS LIFE.

It’s fine if these people were sitting in the next table but trapped in the same space at the bar with them, it was sheer torture. You may argue that the patrons of the bar have nothing to do with the bar itself, but it’s the vibe of the bar that attracts such people, and that’s why different bars attract different crowd.

I like the ambience;
the drinks were fun but so-so and exorbitant (expect to pay $25-35 a drink);
while the service was good, the bartender should have less hubris, his drinks aren’t that great and original;
the pretentious crowd made sure I won’t return.

But 14K says he wants to go back for the decor. He’s too green vegetable. What to do, marry chicken follow chicken, marry dog follow dog. But I’ll make sure we don’t sit at the bar. We need some space.

Bar Stories
55-57 Haji Lane
2nd Floor

Rating: 2.194/5 stars 
Revised Rating: 2.594/5 stars

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