This famous bar from Taiwan lets you sample cocktails before placing your order, all while indulging in Taiwanese-inspired snacks

by Christabel Tan

Ever ordered a cocktail at a bar and regretted it immediately after one sip?

I definitely have, way too many times, and it really sucks. You have to either force yourself to gulp it down (because we can’t bear to waste S$22) or pass it on to a friend. Oh, and it’s even worse when you think it’s a flavour profile you’ll like.

Photo: Draft Land

But that won’t be an issue at Draft Land along Purvis Street, and you’ll find out why.

The renowned cocktail bar from Taiwan was first opened with the aim of making cocktails more accessible and affordable. Not only are they the first in Asia to start serving specialty cocktails on tap, but they’ve also got four other branches in Taiwan and Hongkong, which makes Singapore their fifth outpost.

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Take your pick from a diverse range of over 20 cocktails on tap, all of which are priced at S$18++ or S$20++ each, and accompanied by its ABV (alcohol by volume) percentage, so you’ll know how strong (or light) your drinks are.

Photo: Draft Land

Instead of bartenders, you’ll find fun and personable “draftenders” who introduce flavours, give recommendation, and interact with guests. This brings us to their Sample Service, where guests can explore and sample a variety of cocktails before committing to a full glass.

draft land
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Let’s just say my dining (drinking?) partner and I had a blast sampling our way through the menu. Of course, you are advised not to push it and go all out on the samples without ordering a drink — it’ll be really, really obvious if you try.

If you’re seeking something light and refreshing, go for the Silver Fizz (S$20) and Fancy Iced Tea (S$20). I was not a fan of the Mimosa (S$15 for happy hour, S$18), which tasted like a fragrant orange juice, but it may sit well with you if you want a drink that barely tastes of alcohol.

Photo: Draft Land

Those who prefer deeper and more syrupy flavours will enjoy the Popcorn & Coke (S$20), Espresso Martini (S$20), and Ghost in The Shell (S$20), As a dark rum drinker who loves anything sour, the Afternoon Tea Punch (S$20), a concoction of Courvoisier VSOP, dark rum, earl grey, and lime, was love at first sip.

Oh, but if you manage to get your hands on the limited-edition Oolong Tea Collins (S$20), a vodka-based number with fragrant notes of oolong, plum, and osmanthus, please, please go for it.

draft land
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Cocktail bars that also make good food are a big yes from me.

So be sure to save some room for the bar’s impressive line-up of modern Taiwanese-inspired snacks, which include the likes of the Braised Pork Arancini (S$14), an Italian spin on lu rou fan (braised pork rice), comprising golden rice balls filled with braised pork, quail eggs, and pickled cucumber.

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We also got to try Draft Land’s rendition of dan bing, or Taiwanese egg pancakes, in the form of the Egg Pancake (S$14 for happy hour, S$16) with aged cheddar and jamon iberico.

draft land
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But it was the Wagyu Cold Noodles (S$16), which features perfectly marbled wagyu A4 carpaccio, accentuated by toasted sesame sauce and a luscious soy cured yolk, that completely stole the show.

Other bar bites include the likes of Fried Oysters (S$15), Fermented Pork Ribs (S$14 for happy hour/S$16), and even a Heart Attack Fried Rice (S$15), that comes with not just Taiwanese sausage and pork lard, but also a whole roasted bone marrow — very indulgent!

Photo: Draft Land

End off with bubble tea, but in dessert form, with the Alishan Bubble Tea (S$14), consisting of Alishan milk tea gelato and gula melaka pearls topped with pecorino cheese shavings. Sweet, a little savoury, and very decadent.

Oh, did I mention that Draft Land opens at 2pm on weekends? Now I know where to go whenever I feel like day drinking.

In the mood for a Taiwanese-inspired tipple or two? Reservations can be made here.

Draft Land
???? 24 Purvis Street, Singapore 188601
???? 4pm–12am (Tue to Fri), 2pm–12am (Sat & Sun), Closed on Mon

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Photos by Christabel Tan

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