Singapore x Tales
Singapore x Tales
In July 2022, Tales of the Cocktail Foundation (TOTCF) announced a partnership with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to showcase the multifaceted culture of Singapore and celebrate the talent within the island nation.
The partnership launched at Tales of the Cocktail® (TOTC) with Singaporean industry leaders Indra Kantono (Jigger & Pony) and Colin Chia (Nutmeg & Clove) co-hosting their bar teams in a guest shift at New Orleans’ Justine.
Singapore seems to set the bar for excellence. Its identity is defined by the multicultural population and cultural identities within the nation. It is not surprising that this ethos extends to their craft in food and drink.
In 2023, TOTCF and STB highlighted the extensive drinks industry talent of Singapore with features on the TOTCF website and social media platforms; a variety of events celebrating the 2023 Spirited Awards Singaporean nominees; and a Singapore Residency at TOTC2023.
Singapore x Tales Residency
Tales of the Cocktail® 2023
To culminate the partnership between Tales of the Cocktail Foundation and the Singapore Tourism Board, Tales hosted a multi-day residency at Tales of the Cocktail® 2023 that showcased four remarkable bars from the Singapore bar community.
Held on-site at The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans, the Singapore x Tales Residency allowed Tales’ attendees to experience a taste of Singapore’s innovation and culture through the featured bars including Fura, Elephant Room, No Sleep Club, and Republic. Let’s take a look back at each bar, their background, and the creative cocktails served over the week.
Monday, July 24th – Fura
Tuesday, July 25th – The Elephant Room
About The Elephant Room
Wednesday, July 26th – No Sleep Club
About No Sleep Club
Thursday, July 27th – Republic
Spirited Awards Presents Special Events
Spirited Awards Presents ATLAS
Tales of the Cocktail Foundation celebrated the launch of the Spirited Awards nomination period by bringing three-time winning Spirited Award-winning bar, ATLAS, to Forbes on Fifth in New York on Feb. 6, 2023.
The event was the first in a series of pop-ups in partnership with Singapore Tourism Board in 2023.Learn More
Spirited Awards Presents The SG Club at ATLAS
Tales of the Cocktail Foundation and Singapore Tourism Board hosted Tokyo’s The SG Club at Singapore’s ATLAS on May 8, 2023 to celebrate the Regional Top 10 Announcements for the 2023 Spirited Awards Regional Top 10 Honoree announcement.
The celebration marked the second in a series of events throughout 2023, culminating in a multi-day residency at Tales of the Cocktail® 2023 that showcased four incredible bars from the Singapore bar community.Learn More
Featured Singaporean Bars
TOTCF selected five incredible Singaporean bars to showcase in 2023. Each bar represents its own intention and identity while allowing us to explore the multifaceted culture of Singapore.
Click the bar name to navigate:
ATLAS | Elephant Room | Fura | No Sleep Club | Republic
A celebration of the 1920s —a time of Art Deco glamor and unabashed elegance.
At first blush, ATLAS’ grandeur can be stunning. Literally. Its first impression can feel misleading.
Located in the grand lobby of Singapore’s Parkview Square, ATLAS is opulent in a way that makes you question if you belong there and if its elegant ornamentation is meant for you.
However, ATLAS is intentionally indulgent. The muse of the bar’s program is the rambunctious spirit of the roaring ’20s, hosting one of the largest gin collections in the world (which is displayed in a three-story tall “gin tower”) and features hundreds of champagnes.
The bar team at ATLAS is the new generation of bartenders in Singapore, and they host their own rebellious spirit. When you step into ATLAS, you find yourself at Singapore’s most lavish party.
Singapore x Tales Presents ATLAS - A Bar Team with a Rebellious Spirit
Singapore x Tales Presents ATLAS - Always a Grand Celebration
Yana K, Head Bartender
Born and raised in Singapore, Yana has been an integral part of the ATLAS team, first starting as a barista as part of the opening team five years ago. Thanks to her constant dedication, tenacity, and desire for growth, she now holds the ATLAS Head Bartender title.
Yana is always ready to share her knowledge with the team to help mold the next generation of bartenders at ATLAS and is likewise inspired by her team’s skills, ideas, and perspectives. Her innate curiosity and desire to learn new techniques and innovation have resulted in several unforgettable cocktails.
Today, Yana also holds the Gin Researcher’s role at ATLAS. She is tasked with curating new bottles for the iconic ATLAS Gin Collection with monthly tasting panels and plays host to Juniper Society sessions, crafting one-of-a-kind experiences.
The bar is a perfect stage for her engaging personality, sharp wit, exceptional drink-making talent, and gin insights.
Sylvia Chong, Bar Supervisor
Hailing from Malaysia, Sylvia had her first taste of the industry after attending a short bartending course. She then started at ATLAS as a barback, growing her bartending and hospitality skillset and her confidence along the way. With her determined nature and eagerness to learn, she rose through the ranks and holds the position of Bar Supervisor, today.
In between her roles at ATLAS, Sylvia was part of the opening team for Last Word, expanding her skillset by learning the operational side of running a bar. She has also crafted award-winning cocktails that will keep you coming back for more.
With Sylvia at the helm, guests are sure to feel right at home.
Inspired by the culture, trade, people, and history of Singapore’s Little India.
Elephant Room’s menu of vibrant cocktails, ferments, and jellies is inspired by ingredients.
Yugnes, the co-founder of Elephant Room, is a born and raised Singaporean with Indian parents who are deeply connected to the Little India neighborhood. Yugnes started in the hospitality industry as a dishwasher and worked his way up to bartending ultimately competing in several global cocktail competitions, as well as receiving awards and notoriety.
Elephant Room takes an often under-documented culture and spreads it to the world with all their ingredients being freshly sourced from Tekka Market and its bar’s spirits selection, entirely sourced from India. Each of its bar team shares the responsibility of operating; not only creating recipes for both bar and cuisine but also working between the floor, kitchen, and bar.
Singapore x Tales Presents Elephant Room - Jothi’s Flower Shop
Singapore x Tales Presents Elephant Room - Nostalgia Meets Modern Techniques
Yugnes Susela, Co-Founder
As a Singaporean growing up with the sights, sounds, and flavors of Little India, Yugnes’ goal is to share this rich heritage with the culture-curious.
Along the journey, the humble yet majestic elephant was an inspiration. It’s a symbol of loyalty, companionship, and unity, while also being a reminder to stay true to identity and never falter.
It is Yugnes’ goal and vision to push Indian culture through the Elephant Room’s hospitality and their cocktail program. His retirement goal is to own his own gin brand.
Chok Han Tan, Bar Manager
Han was born and raised in Malaysia. He moved to Singapore 7 years ago to work in hospitality.
Han is drawn to Elephant Room’s culture-focused concept and takes special care in researching Indian culture, learning from his Indian colleagues, and experimenting with new ingredients and flavors.
As head bartender of The Elephant Room, Han focuses on managing and inspiring the team to aspire to a greater height and success.
Unexpected ingredients sourced from close to home—think whisky infused with king oyster mushrooms, or red rice sake with a hint of sumac.
Mallow was a temporary location for Sasha and Christina. It allowed them to test a concept and understand the Singapore food and beverage scene after COVID. They are now opening the spot of their dreams under a different name: Fura.
Fura’s concept will be diving deeper into a more precise sector of a plant-forward cocktail bar. Sasha and Christina are building Fura to be firmly rooted in their values: plant-forward and sustainable food and drinks.
The vision is to showcase an experience of how our diet could look in the future due to climate change. The menu is designed around highlighting ingredients that have now become prevalent and in abundance due to our imbalance of the ecosystem.
In their view, the population is stuck in old traditions when it comes to eating and drinking. They want to present what is possible to meet the needs of new generations and the resources of the planet today.
They are not interested in serving you something you’ve had before.
Singapore x Tales Presents Fura - Breaking the Mold
Singapore x Tales Presents Fura - Land of Opportunity
Sasha Wijidessa, Co-Founder
Having spent a stint as a bar-back at a British gastropub in Singapore, Sasha Wijidessa discovered her strong passion for cocktail-making in her early years behind the bar.
Sasha captured the attention of Luke Whearty – the brains behind the concept of Operation Dagger, and was invited to join the bar’s founding team in 2014.
After graduating with a pharmaceutical science diploma, Sasha applied her knowledge in the sciences to her love for the craft. Her proficiency with creating drinks developed quickly, resulting in her rapid rise at Operation Dagger from Bar-Back to her last role as General Manager and Sous Bartender.
Working closely with Luke, Sasha was instrumental in conceptualizing Operation Dagger’s iconic innovative drinks as well as working with the team to propel Operation Dagger into the forefront of the local and international scene.
In 2019, Sasha met Lars Williams (Founder of Empirical) while bartending in Singapore and joined the Copenhagen team as part of R&D. Sasha relocated back to Singapore in early 2022 and is currently the APAC Commercial Director of Empirical and co-founder of Fura.
Christina Rasmussen, Co-Founder
A Danish-American chef and forager who trained in the Culinary Institute of America for pastry.
Shortly into her career, Christina moved to Copenhagen where she later became the head forager for Noma (ranked The World’s Best Restaurant); sourcing, picking and supplying chefs with the best and most intriguing wild ingredients from around Denmark.
After five years, she then moved on to the plant-based dining group, Ark Collection, as general manager. Christina also shared her knowledge as a forager by developing their wine programs. This linked her earlier position with a more front-facing role on the floor.
In 2022, she moved to Singapore with her partner to open a concept as a residency, Mallow, in the heart of the city serving flavor-first cocktails and plant-based food.
Her job in the forest opened a new view on how to respect and appreciate quality produce and the possibilities to highlight them. Years of learning how delicate, yet resilient, nature is has been a source of inspiration and created a commitment to being more sustainable.
No Sleep Club
Neither bar, restaurant nor café, yet all of the above – a home away from home.
The original No Sleep Club was a 4-seat bar that operated after hours in a coffee shop. The first cocktail menu was crafted around popular drinks that people often call for such as vodka sodas, beer, and gin and tonics.
They applied their knowledge of modern techniques to make those “comfort drinks” the best versions of themselves.
When they moved into a bigger spot, the vision was to create an all-day space that was approachable to anyone in the neighborhood.
No Sleep Club is a full-service restaurant, coffee shop, and bar all day long.
The clientele is very diverse and the atmosphere is fun and laid back. No Sleep Club is a neighborhood bar.
Singapore x Tales Presents No Sleep Club - A Neighborhood Bar for the People
Singapore x Tales Presents No Sleep Club - Everyday Drinks Done Differently
Juan Yi Jun, Bartender/Owner
Locally born and raised Juan Yijun (aka Jun) has spent more than 2 decades in the hospitality industry helping to contribute to Asia’s diverse bar and restaurant scene.
With humble beginnings in speed bars and restaurants, Jun started her formal cocktail training at Ryan Clift’s Tippling Club in 2011 to managing the cocktail program at the newly opened sister restaurant, Ding Dong.
She was then recruited by Luke Whearty and Aki Nishikura (Now of Byrdi Melbourne) in 2013 to help open Operation Dagger, spearheading the progressive cocktail program.
After honing her bartending skills at both Tippling Club and Operation Dagger, she went on to head the multiple bar program at the innovative member’s club 1880 alongside Rusty Cerven (of Worlds Best Bar #1 Connaught Bar, and Manhattan Bar) and Chef Colin Buchan (of Michelin famed restaurants such as Marco Pierre White’s Escargot, Andrew Fairlie’s One Devonshire Gardens, and The Square restaurant in London).
Yijun’s enthusiasm to dive headfirst into creative environments has seen her develop skills within varying disciplines. Following multiple qualifications in graphic and advertising design, including a diploma in music, Yijun went on to open her first pop-up venue in a 110-square-foot space on Club Street.
With Singapore’s high rentals, Yijun decided to overcome this by maximizing a space that wouldn’t normally be utilized. Working with Maxi Coffee Bar by day, Yijun took over the space post coffee shop hours and transformed it into the first No Sleep Club.
Seeing the potential in the first version of No Sleep Club, she roped in her co-founder Jessica “Hutch” Hutchinson (28 Hong Kong Street, Proof & Company) to bring to life the new No Sleep Club on the hip Keong Saik Road. Jun’s background in creative branding as well as modern bartending and fine dining was coupled with Hutch’s world-class approach to hospitality birthed No Sleep Club into a modern neighborhood bar.
In the spirit of the republic.
Republic showcases an extensive cocktail menu celebrating the 1960s, a decade when Singapore gained independence.
The 1960s marked an era of cultural and social revolution that knew no borders. It also redefined standards of music, art, fashion, and film. Global culture witnessed the rise of icons and legends as well as the emergence of the international jet setting, which led to a sophisticated era for cocktails.
The Republic bar concept pays homage to this era where freedom, expression, and individuality were celebrated. Its cocktail menu is inspired by the influential hallmarks of the 1960s with a vintage collection of spirits and the bar resembles a 1960s house party vibe.
Singapore x Tales Presents Republic - Georgette’s Tropical Fruits
Singapore x Tales Presents Republic - Era in a Glass
Martin Villareal, Head Bartender
Martin’s interest in bartending was sparked in 2014 when he won a hotel-organized beverage competition, which eventually led him to pursue his dreams of being a bartender. Passionate about engaging with guests over the bar counter, Martin gathers inspiration from his life experiences when conceiving new cocktails.
He once took three months to perfect his cocktail recipe for the 2017 BACARDI® Legacy SEA competition, where he was named a finalist for his cocktail “Helena” – named in memory of his late mother. He was also crowned first runner-up in Marriott International’s 2018 Liquid Masters competition.
Olivia Lee, Senior Bartender
A South Korean native, Olivia was previously a Supervisor at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore’s Colony restaurant for four years before joining the Republic team in April 2022.
Olivia graduated with a Degree in Hotel Management from Jeonju University in South Korea and chose to work in the hospitality industry in Singapore as she was drawn to the city’s vibrancy and cosmopolitan culture.
Armed with an interest in bartending, and a natural flair for engaging with guests, Olivia looks forward to showcasing her creativity and Korean heritage through her cocktail creations.
A caffeine lover, coffee cocktails are Olivia’s favorite alcoholic beverage, and she spends her free time exploring new cafes.
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