This feted watering hole serving the creative concoctions of The Indigenous Bartender takes over the lounge above Michelin-starred restaurant Jag

Even as businesses continue to find ways to face the uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic, some are proving there’s an opportunity for new working relationships to be found. Just as the lease at their previous address on North Bridge Road for the last two years was coming to an end, specialist cocktail bar IB HQ found more than a new place to call home.

In partnership with Michelin-starred Restaurant Jag, it has since moved to Duxton, occupying the premises above the restaurant (previously The Lounge Bar), and added to its offerings a takeaway menu of bar bites. Made up of small, large, and sweet sharing plates designed and prepared by Jag's chef-owner Jeremy Gillon and his team, these dishes are also being served to visiting patrons during phase two of the easing of the circuit breaker measures.

(Related: Support Singapore’s Restaurants And Join Us In The United We Dine Campaign)

“It has not been an easy few months, though (the struggle) had also brought new perspectives to our business and forced us to adapt,” shares IB HQ founder and head mixologist Kamil Foltan. The period, he posits, had afforded him time to get “more fresh air” and work on a post-pandemic strategy for the bar and the brand.

He adds: “We were looking for a new location as our lease was slowly coming to an end when a mutual friend introduced us to Gillon and Jag's co-owner Anant Tyagi. “Both parties felt the synergy in our business philosophies and the rest is history.”

This partnership, he affirms, is a step in the right direction; an upward progression that keeps the spotlight on their shared respect for ingredients. The artisanal approach to creating Jag’s menu, for instance, is inspired by indigenous herbs from the chef’s hometown in Savoie, France. IB HQ’s is inspired by Foltan’s motto of “passion for flavour and respect for cultures” and features infusions made with fresh produce he sources from the local markets.

(Related: Artwork By Singapore’s Top Bartenders And Chefs To Be Sold In Charity Auction)

Sweet Savoury

Currently, IB HQ's food menu is a modest curation comprising among others a small plate of smoked mackerel with wild-foraged Savoie mint and seasonal vegetable confit; larges plates of croque smoked chicken, as well as an ensemble of meadowsweet, pumpkin, coconut, coriander and blue crab; and chocolate mendiant should you feel like there's space for a little dessert.

Popular tipples include the Dusty Pickle, made with Japanese single grain whisky, ume reduction, cocoa and bergamot saline; as well as the bar’s signature Peach & Wasabi Fizz—a pretty amalgamation of London dry gin, peach, lemon, gomme, egg white, wasabi and Perrier water—from it’s "The Legacy Of 774a" tribute menu.

(Related: Chef Beppe De Vito Takes Food Delivery in Singapore to the Next Level With Online Restaurant, Grammi)

A more noticeable nod to local flavours can be found with the Kopi-O Negroni, comprising London dry gin, Italian bitter and Kopi-O infused sweet vermouth. Or if you prefer something sweeter, the Hong Long balances the smoky aroma and flavour of lapsang souchong tea with passionfruit nectar, demerara rum and XO Rhum.

IB HQ is open this weekend, but capacity is limited. In fact, visitors are advised to secure their seats in advance for at least the next few weeks. Foltan notes that the team “will have to be very strict about walk-ins and only allow guests in if we can”. Opening hours will also be kept between 5 pm and 10.30 pm until longer hours are allowed.

IB HQ is now at 76A Duxton Road (above restaurant Jag). Click here for its latest menus.

© 2022 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.