Drinking in Singapore on a Budget

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Singapore is an extraordinary city. It has so many things that make it stand uniquely apart from other South East Asian countries: English as the national language, awesome public transportation, and public parks. It’s an ex-pat’s sanctuary.

Perhaps one of the most unique things about it in comparison to its neighbors is the stunning variety of food and drink. Beer comes in many tasty varieties from a range of Singaporean microbreweries. 

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However, this golden nectar of the gods can come at a steep price with a SIN tax attached. SIN being short for Singapore; alcohol serving licenses aren’t cheap, and so nor will be the alcohol served. But,the thirsty traveler on a budget need not worry. With a little planning ahead you can hit the microbreweries at their prime: Happy Hour.

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First, do not underestimate the value of a good pre-gaming beer. It may seem a little juvenile, but channel your college freshman year self and throw a couple back before you go out. Hell, you’re on vacation!

Picking up 2  triple packs of Hoegaarrden at the Duty Free shop in the airport was key to our saving. It’s much cheaper than even the local grocery stores and lasted us our 3 day stay. Each person is allowed 2 triple packs, so the bigger your group the bigger your savings. Choosing hard alcohol or wine would also be a good call.

I chose Clarke Quay as my location of choice for some liquid lunch; an area famous for it’s laid back riverside atmosphere, and delicious cuisine. A little TripAdvisor research led me to target certain microbreweries for their price range. Most of the breweries have websites, so after a few clicks I found out the best happy hours. Virtually all bars and restaurants here have competitive Happy Hour deals to draw you in.

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Happy Hour at Brewerkz microbrewery starts at 12 and goes until 6 pm yielding amazing steals for their craft brews that actually change at 3pm, so you can try different things. I initially planned to start off at this place before heading to others, but it was so good I ended up staying all afternoon. I’d recommend starting with a sampler of the beers on special and then choosing a pitcher to split (or not).

Singapore may be one of the only South East Asian countries to offer IPA (India Pale Ale) which as a former Santa Barbara resident, I love. I’d also recommend the Oatmeal Stout. (yes, my beer preferences are a bit ‘manly’). I did splurge on a glass of Black and Blueberry Mead partially because as a Game of Thrones fan, I wanted to taste the type of alcohol that is always present at the medieval feasts in the books. It was good, tasting like a yeasty berry punch and packing  an 8.44% kick.

There are also tons of nightly specials depending on the day. I saw a flyer at another place for a Margarita Monday free flow for $25 which is basically the same price as one cocktail at most other places. This site lists most major cocktail happy hours and was great for research.

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As a humble ESL teaching ex-pat, traveling on a budget is important, and in many cases with a little planning, you don’t need to sacrifice your travel experiences in order to stay within a moderate price range.

Cheers!

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