Ah Sam and Kacang Putih are next to each other. (Kacang occupies the space of Spiffy Dapper which has moved to Amoy St.) Both are on the second floor, overlooking Boat Quay, and both bars have localized names and serve bespoke cocktails at about $25 or so.
But there are subtle differences.
If you drink potent cocktails with bold and original flavors, go to Ah Sam.
If you drink localized flavors like limau (lime) or sweet cocktails, go to Kacang Putih.
If you listen to unmemorable music as fillers for awkward silences, go to Ah Sam.
If you listen to 70s Chinese, Malay, and Indian songs set to a lounge beat (very hilarious), go to Kacang Putih.
If you soak in a comfortable and classy ambience, go to Ah Sam.
If you soak in a homely and derelict no-decor ambience, go to Kacang Putih.
If you hang out with an older and sophisticated crowd, go to Ah Sam.
If you hang out with a diverse crowd, some locals and some stray angmohs, go to Kacang Putih.
If you want prompt, polite, swift service, go to Ah Sam.
If you want friendly, helpful service, treating you as bros, go to Kacang Putih.
If you’re atas, you’d prefer Ah Sam.
If you’re down to earth or a little edgy, you’d prefer Kacang Putih.
“If you have only $25, which bar would you go?” someone asked me. It’s her way of asking which is better.
I replied, “If I have only $25, I’ll eat 6 bowls of bak chor mee.” It’s my way of answering that the two bars are equally excellent that you won’t stop at a cocktail.
Bar hop between them. Variety is the meaning of life.
We pay for our own drinks.
Ah Sam’s Cold Drink Stall
60A Boat Quay, Singapore 049848
Kacang Putih Singapore
61 Boat Quay, Singapore 049849
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.