Cha-Cha over Nasi Lemak

For 34 years, social dancing enthusiasts have been doing their foxtrot or tango on the dance floor at Club 5. Now, until live music and dancing is again permitted, patrons chilling out at the totally transformed space will dance to a different tune – with their tastebuds doing their cha-cha over cocktails that beguile with stories from the culturally rich surrounds of Beach Road, Kampong Glam and Bugis.

One such cocktail, inspired by the once bustling spice trade on Arab Street, is a margarita cheekily reinvented as the Nasi Lema’rgarita ($20), a house-made coconut tequila shaken with spicy pandan syrup, lime juice and dry curaçao with a garnish of cucumber. To better savour the lemak flavour of the popular local breakfast that this concoction aspires to evoke, munch on a few of the accompanying peanuts and anchovies before taking a sip of the drink.

The Nasi Lema’rgarita.

From the menu’s Beach Road selections is the refreshing 20 Houses Tonic ($18) so named for Sir Stamford Raffles’ 1822 town plan of setting aside 20 large houses at Beach Road for European merchants making their port calls at Singapore. This gin and tonic with fresh citrus and a touch of cardamom perks up the appetite for bar nibbles like the tender and juicy house-made Wagyu satay (5 sticks for $15) with hazelnut dip, which makes for a mildly spicy accompaniment.

Tender and juicy house-made Wagyu satay.
Crispy lamb ribs.

A notable bar grub is its crispy lamb ribs (3 pieces for $15) with mint sauce. Pair it with the Merchant’s Old Fashioned ($22) and you will find the fattiness of the meat surrendering to the sharpness of the spiced dark rum in the cocktail that also has dry curaçao, aromatic bitters, and burnt orange and vanilla in the mix.

The bar’s seductive glamorous space complete with vintage furniture and table lamps is a good setting for a gossip with drinks, a pre-dinner aperitif or an intimate nightcap.

Club 5
7500 Beach Road, Parkroyal on Beach Road, Tel: 6505 5699
Opening hours: 11am to 10:30pm; Tuesday to Saturday