6 Best Izakaya Bars in Orchard for After-Office Chill-Outs

  • 6 Best Izakaya Bars in Orchard for After-Office Chill-Outs Image: Hokkaido Izakaya

Admit it – there are times when the only proper way to end a working day is to ruminate through the day’s stresses over drinks and tiny plates of chow. This is the reason why the Orchard area is teeming with professionals even on weeknights.

Luckily, Orchard has a long list of bars and restaurants that are perfect for after-office chill-outs. Quickly dominating this list are izakaya bars that have been sprouting in this area for the past couple of years.

Izakaya bars are among Japan’s greatest gifts to Singapore. These are bars that take pride in wonderful pairings of Japanese-themed drinks and bar fare such as sake and shochu paired with an assortment of skewers. The atmosphere in izakaya bars is remarkably relaxed – conducive for therapeutic chitchats – unlike in most pubs where loud music booms through speakers.

Here are the 6 best izakaya bars in Orchard for after-office chill-outs:

1. Ishinomaki Grill & Sake Bar
For authentic robatayaki paired with premium sake and shochu

  • Ishinomaki Grill & Sake Bar Image: Ishinomaki Grill & Sake Bar

What are so special?
The first thing that you notice when you enter Ishinomaki Grill & Sake Bar is its beautiful interiors that resemble that of a Japanese fishing village. The decors – simple fishing tools and implements – wonderfully complement the wooden fixtures and metal accents.

You would half-expect a fisherman to come dragging his day’s catch as you take gulps of premium sake and shochu, in which Ishinomaki takes great pride.

Sharing the spotlight with premium Japanese drinks are the mouthwatering, authentic robatayaki dishes whose taste will transport you to The Land of the Rising Sun. The chefs at Ishinomaki know their robatayaki, so much so that it occupies three pages of the menu.

Fish and seafood are among the best-selling yaki items as these are grilled fresh to render flavor and succulence that is like no other. Not to miss are Hotate Kani Ougon Yaki (Baked Creamy Scallops and Crab Meat and Mushrooms) – $22, Unagi Kabayaki (Grilled Eel) – $24, and Surume Ika (Grilled Japanese Squid in Ginger Sauce) – $18.

Matching their extensive robatayaki menu is the vast choices of sake that pair perfectly with their yaki, noodles, sushi and sashimi items. Popular sake options include Kiku Masamune Kaho Gura – $32, Hakusisha Nama – $25, and Funaguchi Kikusui Nama Genshu – $12.

Average price per pax: $50

Opening hours: 11:30 – 22:30, Daily

Address: 390 Orchard Road, B1-02/02A/03 Palais Renaissance, Singapore 238871

2. Uma Uma Izakaya Restaurant and Bar at Forum
For a taste of Fukuoka paired with creatively crafted cocktails

  • Uma Uma Izakaya Restaurant and Bar at Forum Image: Uma Uma Izakaya Restaurant and Bar

What are so special?
Fukuoka is known in the culinary world for its historical street food scene, especially its rich and tasty ramen. At Uma Uma Izakaya Restaurant and Bar, chefs encapsulate the Fukuoka experience through delicious Japanese dishes. The experience is best completed with an order or two of cocktails from its sister establishment, The Horse’s Mouth, located just next door.

Uma Uma is not only an excellent after-work chill-out spot, but is also great for lunches, crediting to its mouthwatering selection of original Hakata ramen. Their signature ramen, Uma Uma Ramen – $14, features tender pieces of chasiu, spring onion, umami-packed black fungus, and egg in spicy miso broth.

Just like Fukuoka itself, Uma Uma has more to offer its patrons than just ramen, most notable of which is their most raved-about Yaki Chasiu – $8, slices of pork belly grilled to melt-in-your-mouth perfection.

Other not-to-be-missed items on Uma Uma’s menu are Chicken Karaage – $8, Japanese fried chicken; Dashi Maki Tamago – $6, rolled omelet; and Spicy Tuna Don – $7.

Cocktails are served after 5:30 in the afternoon, a wonderful prelude to a relaxing evening after work. Popular choices include Whisky Sour, Aphrodisiac, and The Black Pearl. Wine, sake and beer are also available for those who want their drinks straight up simple.

Average price per pax: $40

Opening hours: 11:30 – 15:00 (Mondays); 11:30 – 15:00, 16:30 – 22:00 (Tuesdays to Fridays); 11:30 – 22:00 (Weekends and holidays)

Address: 583 Orchard Road, #01-41/42/43 Forum The Shopping Mall, Singapore 238884

3. Bar Ippudo
For the huge selection of Japanese sake in Singapore

  • Bar Ippudo Image: Bar Ippudo

What are so special?
Bar Ippudo is a sake connoisseur’s dream come true. With over 80 brands and types of sake sourced from over 20 renowned Japanese distilleries, Bar Ippudo’s growing selection of sake is the biggest in Singapore.

The Ippudo team’s passion for sake is evident in how they take time to educate their patrons on Japan’s national drink. Among their long list of sakes are Kagatobi Junmai Ginjo – $70/bottle, Kagatobi Ai Junmai Daiginjo – $86/bottle, and the luxurious Komagura Gen Enjuku Junmai Daiginjo 2009 – $92/bottle.

True to the izakaya spirit, Bar Ippudo takes painstaking measures to study the flavor profile of each kind of sake to match it with their wide selection of charcoal-grilled items and bar fare. This results in the most perfect pairing of premium sake and Japanese dishes, which is well-loved by Bar Ippudo’s local and foreign patrons, especially Japanese.

Food at Bar Ippudo is just as beautiful as its eclectic collection of sake – delicate, well-crafted, and pays homage to its natural flavor. Top recommendations are Salmon Yukke (bite-sized pieces of fresh salmon served with the most exquisite egg yolk, and cucumber strips), Mentai Dashimaki (an authentic Hakata recipe of egg and soup stock omelet with a spicy cod roe filling), and Shiobuta Kushi (skewers of deliciously marbled pork).

Average price per pax: $25

Opening hours: 11:30 – 22:00, Daily

Address: 1 Scotts Road #04-23 Shaw Centre, Singapore 228208

4. Hokkaido Izakaya at Wisma Atria
For signature Hokkaido dishes right in the heart of Singapore

  • Hokkaido Izakaya at Wisma Atria Image: Hokkaido Izakaya

What are so special?
Just as Hokkaido is known for its fresh produce, both from water and from land, Hokkaido Izakaya at Wisma Atria is often raved about for its distinct use of fresh and excellent-quality ingredients.

Every piece of seafood, vegetable, and beef is an image of freshness as manifested in its color, texture, aroma, and most important of all, taste. Of course, high quality dishes deserve only one thing – to be matched with select sake also sourced straight from Hokkaido.

Hokkaido Izakaya’s menu is filled to the brim with classic Hokkaido recipes and well-loved signature dishes. A unique recipe that is well worth the try is Milk Hotpot with Salmon – $18; the rich and delicious Hokkaido milk gives this dish its distinct homely flavor.

Another bestseller is Sea Urchin Wrapped with Wagyu Beef – $35; imagine the salty richness of uni marrying the subtle sweet flavors of Wagyu. It is worth noting that Hokkaido Izakaya’s sashimi is among the best you’ll find in all of Singapore – $28/$38.

Top sake recommendation for first timers is Takasago Taisetsu Jyunmai Ginjyo – $33/bottle; known for its mild flavor and fresh taste while the more experienced sake drinkers may want to try the full-bodied and robust-flavored Otokoyama Special Jyunmai – $40/bottle.

Average price per pax: $30

Opening hours: 10:00 – 22:00, Daily

Address: Level 4 Japan Food Town, Wisma Atria, 435 Orchard Road, Singapore 238877

5. Otowa Yakitori
For the best yakitori in Singapore

  • Otowa Yakitori Image: Andrew Wong

What are so special?
Budget-conscious foodies will be happy to know that Otowa Yakitori is among the cheapest izakaya bars you’ll find in Orchard area, maybe even in the whole of Singapore.

Even at an affordable price, Otowa Yakitori doesn’t compromise on the quality of its dishes and drinks, offering only great value for money. Locals vote Otowa Yakitori as the best yakitori restaurant in Singapore, claiming that its yakitori items are so authentic that they can rival those from the streets of Japan.

Otowa Yakitori is one of the very few places outside Japan where you can order chicken sashimi and half raw chicken yakitori with yuzu. It is safe to eat, too, as the restaurant only serves chicken that is slaughtered on the same day.

One of Otowa’s most talked about dishes is their Quail Egg Yakitori – $4; firm egg whites and soft, gooey egg yolk that literally melt in your mouth. Other best-sellers include Grilled Duck Foie Gras – $18, Wagyu Beef – $28, Tori Yukke – $15, and Bonjiri (Chicken Tail) – $5.

Otowa Yakitori has a laidback atmosphere, the kind that lets you loosen your tie, unbuckle your belt a little, and slouch a bit, too. There is possibly no better way to enjoy authentic yakitori and sake after a long day at work.

Average price per pax: $25

Opening hours: 19:00 – 23:00, Daily except Sundays

Address: 150 Orchard Road, Orchard Plaza #03-16 Singapore 238863

6. Toku Izakaya Bar
For generous servings of izakaya bar chow

  • Toku Izakaya Bar Image: Toku Izakaya Bar

What are so special?
One thing that Toku Izakaya Bar patrons love about the place is its generous servings of izakaya bar chow, a notably rare occurrence in izakaya bars. Izakaya dishes and drinks are priced higher than most places, but that’s a small price to pay for fresh, premium-quality ingredients carefully selected and prepared by highly-trained chefs.

The place is so exclusive, with a seating capacity of only 14, perfect for quiet evenings when hustle and bustle is the last thing you could wish for.

Critically-acclaimed izakaya favorites include Ankimo with Ponzu Sauce – $12; smooth and velvety monkfish served with fruity ponzu sauce that complements the liver’s savory flavor. Oyster lovers are spoiled at Toku as its Simmered Oyster with Ginger – $9 for 3 pieces – is reasonably priced, consistently plump, briny, and brimming with distinct ocean goodness.

Toku Izakaya is also known for its vast selection of oden – $18 – such as daikon and meatballs simmered in miso broth.

Toku Izakaya Bar claims to have the finest selection of more than 35 sake and shochu kinds and labels. Customer favorites include Sparkling Sake Japon – $18, Kubota Senju – $82, and the top-shelf Kuro Isa Nishiki – $88. For beer lovers, Sapporo is always a good choice.

Average price per pax: $70

Opening hours: 16:00 – 23:00, Tuesdays – Sundays except Thursdays; 18:00 – 23:00, Thursdays; Closed on Mondays

Address: 220 Orchard Road, #B 1-06 Midpoint Orchard, Singapore 238852

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