Introducing the latest addition to the scene, Chandu Bar, a fresh and fun speakeasy establishment, has made its debut at The Robertson House by The Crest Collection in the bustling heart of the Robertson Quay enclave. Nestled discreetly at the rear of the hotel, this hidden gem once served as the rest area of the former hotel prior to its acquisition by the Ascott group. Drawing inspiration from opium dens and clan associations, this intimate cocktail bar captures the essence of a bygone era. The name “Chandu” carries dual meanings, signifying opium in Malay and moon in Hindi.
Step into a world that channels the thriving entrepôt of colonial-era Singapore, where vices and clandestine activities, including those of secret societies and opium indulgence, marked the cultural landscape.
Chandu is portrayed as a clandestine retreat where Dr Murray Robertson, a notable Municipal Councillor in British Colonial Singapore, hosts discreet gatherings for “less than savoury” individuals, including triad leaders. Embracing an “if you know, you know” philosophy within its exclusive inner circle, Chandu cultivates an atmosphere of secrecy and exclusivity.
Chandu can accommodate up to 16 seated guests and has a standing capacity of 20 people.
Vojtech Bazant, leading the bar as the head mixologist from the Czech Republic, oversees a beverage program that emphasizes cocktails with compelling narratives and market-to-glass specialities. Certain drinks are denoted by symbols, such as the half-moon and hollow moon, indicating their Alcohol by Volume (ABV). Half-moon drinks feature half the ABV, while hollow moon signifies zero-proof beverages.
Cocktails here are priced from S$20 to S$26.
Some of the highlights we got to try include the Death & Taxes, Be On Time and Mata Hari.
Death and Taxes narrates the tale of Dr. Murray Robertson, a Municipal Councilor and tax collector. The narrative paints a picture of his lavish lifestyle, contemplating the inevitable aspects of life – Death and Taxes. Prior to serving your cocktail, the server levies a tax on your drink and extracts a spoonful from your crafted concoction. The components of Death and Taxes include Seven Tails XO Brandy, Mackintosh Blended Malt, Saffron, Figs, and Cacao Husk
In the past, servants used to have communication errors with their owners. They always bought items that were entirely different from what was required by the owner. Be On Time is made with Ceylon Arrack, Melon, Genmaicha Sol, Yogurt Whey, Honey and Thyme.
The Mata Hari cocktail weaves a story inspired by a Dutch exotic dancer and courtesan from the late 1800s to early 1900s, reminiscent of the iconic status of Marilyn Monroe during that era. Suspected to be a German spy and a double agent for the French, Mata Hari employed her seductive prowess to glean military secrets from numerous lovers. Her life took a tragic turn, and at the age of 41, she met her demise at the hands of a firing squad on the outskirts of Paris. The cocktail Mata Hari is crafted with Bols Genever, Mango, Jasmine, Passionfruit, Pink Peppercorn, and Spicy Kiss.
A tailor-made market-to-glass concept offers four distinct cocktail styles: Light and Clean, Casual and Easy Drinking, Bitter and Complex, and Strong and Classy. After choosing your preferred style, a customized cocktail is meticulously crafted to suit your taste. Daily sourcing of ingredients is done from the vibrant street markets of Singapore and local urban farmers like Edible Garden City and Victory Garden.