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Bar Stories: First Dates at Native Bar

Native Bar - City Nomad

Native Bar located at Amoy Street, Singapore, specialises in foraging and using regional produce from Southeast Asia. (Image Source: City Nomad)

The mood at this thriving bar on a Friday night is eclectic – and one tends to feel a sliver of pride having snagged bar seats (although on the third floor) without a reservation at 9.30pm (just one hour for a quick tipple before the lights go on). It is March 2021; a few weeks shy of the first anniversary of Singapore’s 2020 circuit breaker measures for the Covid-19 pandemic. Every visit to a bar was to be treasured henceforth as a privilege not a right, especially for purveyors of carefully crafted cocktails.


Chasing The Dragon - Native Bar
Chasing the (Passionfruit) Dragon. (Image Source: Native Bar)

The affable server offered his aid to two old friends who already knew their first order. “Chasing the Dragon”, a refreshingly crisp beverage containing Thai Basil Gin and Dragonfruit Kombucha - for the lady. And for her male friend, the “Coffee”- a rum based cocktail that incorporated coffee kombucha with hints of wildflower honey and nutmeg.


Native specialises in using regionally procured ingredients.

(Image Source: The Upsider)

The friends, appreciative of the bountiful knowledge of their bartender, gently inform him that they have visited Native before and did not require the full spiel (as is the practice there) of the provenance of their beverages (the drinks contained locally sourced ingredients, where some are even homegrown in Native’s very own garden).



They admired their masterfully concocted cocktails. The “Coffee” was furnished with finely powdered nutmeg atop a heavy white froth. Equally immaculate, the “Chasing the Dragon” (a nod to the opiate or the Hong Kong movie perhaps?) had a vivid fuchsia hue and was topped with a single Thai basil leaf.


The Antz contains, you guessed it, Thai crunchy ants atop a basil leaf and meringue. Thai Rhum, aged sugarcane, coconut yogurt, soursop and salt baked tapioca, all sourced from Thailand. (Image Source: SethLui.com)

Then the cheeky companions let their gaze swivel around the room and exchanged musings on the crowd that shared the same intimate space. At the same bar counter an oddly paired couple sat one or two bar seats away (social distancing – another Covid-19 measure).

“Did they meet on a dating app?” quipped the female.

“Definitely. No way that a guy who looks like that would go out with such a woman. He’s hoping to get lucky, and she’s flattered.”


Ceylon Arrak and Mango Lassi. (Image Source: Honeycombers)

They nursed their glasses and would cast occasional side glances to check in on the progress of the pair, both equally oblivious to the judgement of these mischievous friends.

“Maybe they are colleagues? He’s new to town – an expatriate - and she has been tasked or even volunteered to show him around.”, mused the lady.

Her friend scoffed at the idea, aghast that she could even conjure such a remote possibility.

Several sips later, the same strange couple, comprising a tall, conventionally attractive male and shy, rather square (both metaphorically and literally – she had square glasses) lady, left the bar in a fit of giggles.

“It’s the first date lah.” concluded the male friend.


When it's a Friday night and you've had two cocktails, a picture like this is Picasso's handiwork. 

Without much contemplation, the friends ordered a second round (another “Coffee” for him, and the “Smoked Longan” (also Gin-based) for her). Orders were placed at 10 pm – “still reasonable” they rationalized.

Soon the stoic bartender gently reminds the friends that the night would unfortunately reach its denouement.  All the glasses in the bar were almost empty at this point – or if not, people were racing to gulp down their last drops.

The night was still young (although not to the social distancing ambassadors that would lurk around Amoy Street). Before turning away from the barstools, the lady lamented that the ice in their glasses were still pristine. The perfect squares did not get a chance to melt.




Native Cocktail Bar – Singapore


52A Amoy Street, Singapore 069878.

Open Mondays - Saturdays 6pm - midnight.

For reservations, please call +65 8869 6520.

NATIVE Cocktail Bar. Open your eyes, beauty and inspiration are all around us. This is where we’re from, this is where we are. We don’t have to travel far. NATIVE is our home. Just around us, there are so many ingredients and resources. We love to work with ingredients we are familiar with, that we grew up with; mango, tumeric, cinnamon, tapioca etc. But we also love to discover what we have not seen. From foraged ants to arrak from Sri Lanka, we only have to walk within the region. Founded by Vijay Mudaliar, NATIVE is committed to using local and regional produce and supporting local and regional craftsmen for its wares, scents, music and more.

Native Cocktail Bar most recently won No. 18 of The World’s 50 Best Bars and No. 6 of Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2020.