From its opening the New Asia Bar was my favourite haunt for chilling out high above the hustle and bustle of Singapore.

Before the new batch of trendy rooftop bars hatched it was the place to head for sunset soirées and 3 am dancing. Sitting pretty on the 71st floor of Swissotel The Stamford, it dwarfed the neighbouring Raffles Hotel and boasted stunning views of the City stretching as far as Malaysia, to complement its wide selection of quenching beers, sonorous cokctails and chilled bubbles.

Over the decades we drank there, those views changed enormously, morphing from an open harbour of jostling junks to the enclosed marina bay of the casino and Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit of today.

I appreciate progress as much as the next guy and love the city to this day, but I adored that old Singapore, with its junks and bumboats, tea houses and hawkers, rickshaws and Raffles. It was a Singapore that my father could still recognise from his army days there in the Forties.

While the view was great anytime of day, the night vistas from the New Asia were spectacular.
And they just got better every time we visited, as the city evolved into the prosperous, frenetic 21st century metropolis it is today.

Happy Hour ran – in the usual Singapore style – till 9 p.m. and could perhaps have been more sensibly named Happy Evening. It was a great time to visit. Watching the sun set over the islands could be simply sensational. Seeing a tropical storm settle in made you feel smug to be in such cosy surrounds as the winds and rain battered the plate glass. The night club crowd were some time away, so the tracks were ambient beats and trancey anthems. And the drinks were chilled to perfection as the icy antidote to the equatorial heat, served with sweet-spicy snacks, yet reasonably priced for the location. And what a location!

A great location

Early laddish gratification from sinking half yards of Tiger with the after-work crowd soon paled into more sensible relaxations. That Tiger was ever-present, but out of the wide range of chilled beers offered I always loved a pint or two of frosty Erdinger Weißbier to set up an evening.

Sometimes we’d share a bottle of Moet. A steal at S$89 when there were three Singaporean dollars to the pound sterling. A bottle of Johnnie Walker could always power a small group cost-effectively for an evening.

Cocktails were, naturally, mixed to match the magnificent surroundings, with a substantial pour of bourbon or scotch that never overpowered and always satisfied.

Late nights were, as in all major cities, the domain of the trendy and trying too hard. The music ramped up, the beat quickened and the prices soared. Always a good cue to leave the crime scene.

All good things come to an end. I was gutted when we returned to Singapore only to find the New Asia Bar had finally closed its doors.
Bar Rouge Singapore is the new venue, exported from Shanghai’s Bund to Singapore’s skyline and taking full advantage of those spectacular views from dusk till dawn.

Le roi est mort, vive le roi!