Hiding out of sight in the basement of Ocean Finance Centre is the CBD’s newest spirits bar, The Secret Mermaid. And let’s get this out there… there’s something very different about this place, as you are about to find out.

The guys behind The Secret Mermaid (Liberty Spirits) specialise in bringing some of the best, and least-known boutique spirits from around the USA. We’re talking ‘distilleries’ that only consist of a couple of people involved in its making. Pretty cool stuff that has basically never been imported to Singapore before.

Now, not to toot my own horn but I have a pretty decent collection of spirits at home…around 50 bottles at present of different whiskies, rums, tequilas, vodkas and other lesser known so I’d like to think that I know a thing or two about spirits. Back at The Secret Mermaid, something incredible happened on my first visit:  I did not recognise one, single bottle on their shelves… not a single one! Damn!

Being suitably humbled by this fact, I began to work my way through tasting a large part of their menu. However I definitely had a few favourites which I ended up taking home that night. On this occasion, the Montanya Dark Rum (Colorado, $108 per bottle), Sparkle Donkey Reposado Tequila (Mexico, $98 per bottle) & an Alaska Distillery Handcrafted Smoked Salmon Flavoured Vodka (Alaska, $107 per bottle) managed to find their way home into my liquor cabinet.

What makes The Secret Mermaid a great find is knowing full well that the vast majority of their clientele will not (yet) know any of the brands of the shelves, and that they operate as a ‘tasting room’ as part of their bar philosophy. What that means is that you choose to try any spirit you like for free. I cannot recommend the cocktails with the same zeal, but they certainly aren’t too shabby, though massively outshone by the pure spirits themselves.

The Secret Mermaid is the kind of place that leads the charge against the ‘mainstream’ spirits brands. Forget The Macallan, Bombay Sapphire, Jack Daniels or Absolut. Come down here and have your perceptions changed and your palate treated as you taste some really unique and hard-to-find spirits. And you might just find the prices surprisingly affordable.