We’ve all been there – walking into a dimly-lit whisky bar and fumbling through the menu searching for a label we recognise, only to find it buried under a list of foreign names. No descriptions, no explanations from the bartender or waiter. Instead, we order the most impressive sounding dram within our budget. “Mmm, this sounds Scottish, so it must be good.” We don’t mean that to be a bad thing – it’s just not exactly beginner-friendly or educational.
Enter: The Wall.
Named for its century-old exposed brick walls, this new bar along Tanjong Pagar Road sports a casual setting with warm lighting and timber accents. We were also told that The Wall seeks to demystify the art of whisky drinking and make the spirit more accessible to the lay person.
However, we’re not sure how they plan to go about it since a good portion of their well-curated list of single malts are mid-shelf and above (and priced that way too).
The owners have a penchant for Japanese whiskies; besides tens of bottles of Yamasaki 18 years and Hibiki 12 years, we also noticed they have a Nikka 35 years, a Hibiki 30 years, as well as the megastar Yamazaki Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary edition. On the Scotch end of things, what drew our attention were labels like a 1974 Laphroaig and a first edition Black Bowmore, of which there are only five casks in the world.
For easy browsing, the whiskies on the menu – served in 45ml drams – are categorised according to the part of the globe they hail from. Feel free to ask about their provenance, of course. Cocktail drinkers will find classics like the Manhattan ($22), Old Fashioned ($25) and Negroni ($22), prepared by Head Bartender Jeremie “The Rockstar” Tan, nicknamed for his flair bartending skills back at Jekyll & Hyde.
Then again, you might want to skip all that in favour of a flight of four whiskies, starting at $37 and advancing to well over a hundred bucks. With such a collection for your tasting pleasure, it might be the most ideal way to spend your money at The Wall. Don’t worry, there are tasting notes for each of them.
For food, there’s an extensive sumiyaki menu of charcoal-grilled meat skewers that takes your enjoyment of whisky to the next dimension. Think addictive bar grub like dehydrated marinated fugu ($25), inspired by the traditional grilled skate fins, delectable chicken wings seasoned with just salt and garlic powder ($5), and grilled local fresh chicken thigh with a potent wasabi sauce ($6).
Whether you want to have a bite before your first sip of whisky or vice versa is completely up to you. In pairings, the goal is always to have the food bring out something new in the whisky, or the whisky bring out something new in your food.
For instance, it could be realising the fat in the bacon-wrapped Hokkaido scallop ($9) release new flavours in your mouth with a dram, or that the housemade teriyaki sauce on the tsukune meatballs ($6) match core umami or sweet notes in certain whiskies.
Set menus of whisky and sumiyaki pairing are priced from an affordable $49, while a chef’s omakase with whisky pairing will set you back $168.
While The Wall set out to be a starting point for people looking to get into whisky drinking, we reckon seasoned aficionados and collectors will also find the bar attractive. Once upstairs, a plush lounge and exclusive private room await – decked out in burgundy, leather, tufted sofas, a beautiful chandelier, and even a gramophone – for intimate conversations among the bar’s best bottles. We hear they’re also planning fortnightly bottle-intro nights, where exclusive whiskies will be opened, so stick around for that.
The Wall is located at 76 Tanjong Pagar Rd, Singapore 088497, p. +65 6225 7988. Open Mon-Sat 3.30pm – 11pm.