Before we stepped into Jigger and Pony, we thought it was just another ubiquitous hipster bar that prides itself for being different but, in the end, ends up the same as any other hipster bar. We were wrong. Jigger and Pony is doing something different: there is something elegant and classy and unpretentious This entry explains why.
Decor: the bar is clean, uncluttered and has a strange eclectic mix of surfaces and styles: The medival-like natural wood communal table, the calico 70s retro-colored booth seats, a bar stocked with alcohol reminiscent of Coffee Bar K’s decor, and at the end of the cavernous room sits a square contemporary table of clean lines. The melange of furniture and the classic jazz music give a vibe that is familiar and comforting and homely.
Clientele: Japanese businessmen who, no doubt, follow bartender Anthony Zhong (from Cut Bar) who was trained in Tokyo and uses a precise Japanese method of shaking a cocktail. (See what we mean by “unpretentious”? Anthony calls himself bartender, not “mixologist.”) The name of the bar refers to a measuring device for alcohol.
All cocktails are priced at $20++. Like all aspects of the bar, the menu is well-thought out. Presented in a table form, there are three columns labeled “Classic” cocktail, “Forgotten” and “Modern Twist.” The cocktails that are beside each other are similar so if you like the classic version, you’d probably enjoy the “Forgotten” and “Modern Twist” too.
It was a pity that Anthony didn’t mix our drinks but Gabriel, who mixed our drinks, is probably an adept understudy–and very friendly and polite too–for our drinks were rather good.
Flotsam of ice shards on Jack Rose (calvados [or apple brandy], lime juice, sugar syrup, homemade grenadine; the favorite cocktail of the lady boss, Guo Yi, as stated on the menu) reminds us of Titanic whose characters are named Jack and Rose. The romantic, apocryphal story behind it–who cares about truth?–is that a boy name Jack concocted the drink, pink as a rose, for his girl. First tangy, then sweet, ending off with a bitter aftertaste of tanginess and alcohol–kinda like love isn’t it?
Smallflower tastes like a softer version of Old-Fashioned, almost like a whiskey although the main alcohol is tequila.
Bar Grub: The food is actually good. The pork on Cold-Cut Platter ($20, prosciutto, air-dried beef, Hungarian salami and green peppercorn salami) may have a stench and quite revolting for the uninitiated. In general, the cold cuts come on strongly. But the rib-eye steak sandwich ($18, pictured below) is done medium-rare and has a bite. The savory tender steak contrasts with the very crispy bun. Quite delicious.
Service: We arrived at about 11.20pm and–10pm is last order–the chef could have rejected our orders but he stayed behind to cook. When he was done, he came out and shook his colleagues’s hands to say goodbye. Does he do it every night? How polite! This is the kind of service you can expect. While the service may be over the top–they asked me how our experience was way too many times–we see their attentiveness as their desire to be good, to be pleasant to the customers, to ensure that the customers are comfortable.
For instance, when we sat down, the hostess (not the lady boss) got us water without us asking for it and complimentary chips. When we finished the chili chips (very addictive) and told her we are on a diet and shouldn’t get another bowl, she seduced us away from our diet plans with tapioca chips (less flavorful but equally addictive) in a fun way. She wasn’t pushy, she was reading my friend’s body language. And when we left, Guo Yi and Anthony personally walked us to the door and said goodbye (a very Japanese gesture) as if we were guests at their home. Amazing service. 9/10.
This is a tough fight for best bar in Singapore for 2012. While indubitably 28 Hong Kong Street has the best cocktails we have bar none, Jigger and Pony is an all-round winner: snug; good cocktails and bar grub; fab service.
We paid $92 for two.
Jigger and Pony
101 Amoy Street
T: +65 6223 9101
M-Th: noon-1am (wow, business people start drinking early)
Rating: 3.888 No Horse Run