The Library, Keong Saik, Chinatown

Don’t be deceived by the bookshop front. You’ll need to get a password from the waiters at Keong Saik Snacks (next door), and tell the bookkeeper the password. The bookkeeper will open the secret compartment of the bookshelf so that you enter a small chamber with mirror on all sides. You have to push through the mirror room to get into the bar, the gorgeous, gorgeous bar.

Copper table-top with drooping-flower lamps. Dim lights and proper tables and chairs for big groups. Lounge music that was kept at a minimal volume so that people can actually talk in a bar. Shocking! Communication in a bar! Impossible and perfect! Perfect ambience, perfect set-up.

Needless to say, this is a hipster bar. But the clientele here seemed so much better behaved than other hipster bars. They didn’t talk loudly or obnoxiously and didn’t at all seem pretentious.

Cuba Pudding Jr (rum, banana, lime juice, walnut orgeat $19) and
Singa-Songa-Sangaree (sparkling wine with apricot brandy, lemon juice, with a hollowed-out lime filled with raspberries $20)

When Huccalily saw the banana, she said, “Hey look! My ex-boyfriend decided to join us.”

Canoe Callay (Manuka honey vadka, sake, celery bitters, pineapple, lime juice, brandy, elderflower cordial, $75 for sharing, 4-5 people)

Like many hipster bars, the head bartender is a hipster: a tall angmoh with a narrow face and lean muscular body, wearing a gold-rimmed round glasses, a sign of hipsterism. I challenged Huccalily to go up to the bartender and say, “Hey Harry Potter! Mix me some magic.” But since Huccalily’s balls hadn’t descended, she didn’t accept the challenge. She didn’t use to be like that; I remember her glory days when she was a “yes woman.”

So I wanted to order from Harry Potter myself. But he was so busy that I couldn’t get his attention. The service, which was at first excellent, friendly without encroaching on your private space, got inattentive as the crowd grew. Since I couldn’t get Harry Potter’s attention, I wanted to order from a butch bartender. She signaled “wait” but never got back to me. I turned and complained to Huccalily, “Just because I’m a man and not a pretty lesbian! I am discriminated!” That being said, the handsome Indian bartender was friendly and funny.

Creation by Indian Bartender (Whiskey, absinthe, passionfruit, rum sugar, lemon juice, raspberry juice decorated with lemon rind, flowers, flambeed bamboo and rosemary)

On my second cup of cocktail, the handsome Indian bartender concocted a new creation. He said, “We’ll called this ‘Camera Madness.’ Coz you’ve been snapping the whole night.” HAHA.

But in truth, all the cocktails we had were well-balanced but rather watered-down and bland. Even I, an almost teetotaler, could drink 3 cocktails. What is fun is really the pretty designs of the cocktails.

Shrub-a-dub-dub (Gin, vermouth, apple juice, green tea, honey, mixed citrus, $75 for sharing, 4-6 persons)

Moshi Moshi Umeboshi (sake, kalamansi, coconut milk, citrus and vanilla sugar, egg white, orange flower water, $18)

For the final cocktail, I had the moshi moshi umeboshi, which was sweet, how I liked my cocktail, although the egg white was a bit yucky. I said, “Finally! This is my drink. They should have recommended this to me in the first place when I asked for recommendation.”

Huccalily said, “Hey! How would they know that under your manly appearance, deep down inside, you’re this sweet little girl?” HAHAHA.

With 4 cocktails and a soggy and cold french fries, we paid $88.80 for two. Such an auspicious number. Don’t know if it was the ambience of the bar or the alcohol that brought out the wits in both of us. We like everything about the bar from the design to the drinks. At first, we had trouble deciding what “The Bar of the Year 2012” is: 28 Hong Kong Street or Jigger and Pony? But after visiting The Library, the winner is clear.

The Library

47 Keong Saik Road
Singapore 089151
T: 6221 8338
M-Sat: 6pm-1.30am daily

Rating: 4.198/5 stars

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14 replies »

  1. Went to this place last weekend and there were a lot of frustrated people being turned away at the door cause they didn’t have the password. Not a very good marketing strategy to turn away paying customers.


    • They are using the same strategy as branded good, they make people who are inside feel exclusive. That’s why they are packed nightly. It doesn’t matter that they have to turn away those customers. It makes those people even curiouser what is inside and want to get in even more.

      I hope you managed to get in.


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