I recently went on a short but fun packed holiday to Singapore. The highlight of my trip was having the chance to visit ATLAS Singapore (grand lobby and bar), which came highly recommended by my friends from Instagram (thanks guys!). Although it was super short notice the ATLAS PR team kindly arranged an interview/chat with the head bartender- Roman Foltán. ATLAS is best known for their huge collection of gin (over 1000 bottles in fact!) and as a thank you gesture for having me, I wanted to bring a bottle (or two) which they had not yet tasted. Thankfully Brookie’s Gin came on board and donated their Dry as well as Slow Gin!
Travel sized Brookie’s Dry Gin!
I arrived at ATLAS and was immediately impressed by the grand and lavish vibes of the building. As I entered through the front door I was transported back in time to the European bar scene of the prohibition era (ok, I did pre- research the description of ATLAS and they definitely nailed this brief). The interior was just unbelievably elegant and the words ‘attention to detail’ kept racing through my mind as I marvelled at the ceiling, furniture, art, decor, and all the rest.
I was then greeted by a friendly staff member who introduced me to Roman; the head bartender. Roman began his career in the industry at just 14 years of age! He explained that his father was very much involved in hospitality so it was a natural progression to follow in his (as well as older brother’s) footsteps. He began working in kitchens, restaurants, pubs and clubs as well as gaining formal education and training in hospitality and hotel management. After finishing high school Roman moved to London and began working as a bartender at the award-winning Artesian (bar) at the Langham Hotel for 6 years. After continuous requests from his friends to move and work in Asia, Roman did just that in August of 2016 and took up the position of head bartender at ATLAS.
The main visual attraction at ATLAS would have to be the ‘Gin Wall’. It’s a sight you need to witness in real life as photos don’t do it enough justice. This 15m wall showcases ATLAS’s entire gin collection which currently sits at 1018 bottles. However this wall has not always housed bottles of gin. It in fact, it used to be a huge wine display cabinet. Roman explained that when you ordered your wine, a lady dressed in an angel costume would ‘fly’ (hoisted) up and retrieve your desired drop. However a few years later ATLAS underwent major renovations (2 years duration in total) and re-launched as the fine establishment it stands today (which seems a stark difference to flying angels).
The ‘Gin Wall’ close up.
The bottles of gin sitting on the wall are divided into their country of origin. The top 1/3 of the wall is where they hold their back up gin + duplicates of certain gins and can be accessed through the back door should a bottle require replacing. The lower 2/3’s is where the gin available for purchase are held and accessible by a ladder from the front. Given the rarity of certain gin there are currently around 850 gins which can only be purchased at a rate of 1 portion per person per day. Sorry guys, that is just the rules!
There are two other sides/faces of the wall (perpendicular to the front wall). This is the left side!
As I looked a little further down the gin wall, I began to see all the familiar Australian gin brands popping up! Roman does have a couple of favourites when in comes to Australian gin – the Archie Rose ‘Orange Gin’ and Four Pillars – Bloody Shiraz Gin. The Orange Gin was made by Archie Rose Distillery (in collaboration with ATLAS) and is described as “like eating a spiced orange cake”. The need for an orange gin came about as classic cocktail books (e.g. The Savoy Cocktail Book) in the 1920’s would regularly call for it in their recipes. Given the lack of such a gin in today’s market, Atlas reached out to Archie Rose Distillery and thus the new age ‘Orange Gin’ was born (which I got to taste )!
After our chat, Roman taste tested the Brookie’s Dry Gin which he approved. However the Slow Gin seemed the winner for him, with the response (quote) “very very nice” (with numerous nods of approval) ! It was a relief for me and an incredible compliment for Brookie’s Gin. Next, Roman kindly made me an ATLAS version of a French 75 cocktail using Brookie’s Gin and it was literally perfection in a glass.
Roman Foltán taste testing Brookie’s Gin. Roman is super friendly intelligent and extremely professional.
A French 75 variation featuring Brookie’s Dry Gin , citrus, lavender tincture, a touch of honey and champagne.
Brookie’s sitting pretty amongst Four Pillars. It’s also important to point out how the shelves extend further in (in a theatre seating fashion, which is not always evident from afar).
The gin and tonic flight is a definite must-order (the flight changes regularly so enquire about the gin and accompanying garnish on the day of).
I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at ATLAS and any gin lover would have great time there too! If you aren’t a big fan of gin, no need to worry as they also have other spirits, wine as well as Champagne (massive Champagne selection)!
ATLAS has whisky too.
Some other fun facts!
- The signature drink is the ATLAS Martini which is made with a London Dry Gin, champagne vinegar, ambrato vermouth and orange bitters.
The Atlas Martini. (original photo credit- ATLAS Singapore http://atlasbar.sg )
- They have some spirits and liqueurs which are extremely old e.g. Campari from the 1970’s. The Negroni made using this Campari will cost you 200 Singaporean dollars!
This is the Campari from the 1970’s.
- They also do amazing food from what I have heard.
High tea with Champagne. (original photo credit- ATLAS Singapore http://atlasbar.sg )
- The building houses various offices (it’s not just a bar/restaurant) such as the Austrian Embassy!
‘Gin Tonica’ (original photo credit – ATLAS Singapore http://atlasbar.sg )
‘Imperial Gin Fizz’ (original photo credit- ATLAS Singapore http://atlasbar.sg )
Check out the website http://atlasbar.sg to view the full food and drink menu (especially their gin selection)! See photo (credit ATLAS Singapore http://atlasbar.sg ) below for address, opening times, dress code and contact options.
- Massive thank you to Roman for your time and making me feel so welcomed.
- Also, a big thank you to the General Manager Nadine Hosford and Huiyu Chua from Directions Group Inc http://directionsgroupinc.com and Pamela NG from Accela Asia http://www.accela.asia for organising this amazing experience for me!
- Finally, thank you to Brookie’s Gin http://capebyrondistillery.com for sorting me out with your bottles of beautiful gin.
Thank you for reading and if you visit or if you’ve already visited ATLAS Singapore, share your experience by commenting below!