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Bar of the week: Rooftop bar Sum Yi Tai beckons with Hong Kong charm

A light-hearted spot for rarefied whiskies and cocktails with East Asian accents.

What: Sum Yi Tai

Where: 25 Boon Tat Street

Opening hours:  Mondays to Fridays 11.30am to 2.30pm, 5pm to 1am; Saturdays 5pm to 1am. Closed Sundays.

Phone: 6221-3665

Enter via the boisterous neon pink-lit tapas bar on the ground floor into a dim lift guarded by a pair of flying dragons, hit the highest floor, and you will emerge onto the rooftop level of Sum Yi Tai. Here, hugged by the surrounding skyscrapers of the CBD, smart suits and executives entertain and nurse cocktails and single malts over small plates of roasts meats, street snacks, and claypot rice.

(RELATED: Sit side by side at Sum Yi Tai’s counter tables downstairs and share their tapas-style Chinese fare)

Sum Yi Tai’s rooftop bar is part of a multi-concept dining destination created by Coterie Dining Concepts (co-founded by Tay Eu-Yen, formerly of The Butter Factory fame) and Blue Lotus co-owner Ricky Ng (previously COO of Tung Lok), which draws on the vibes of Hong Kong eateries from the 80s with a touch of triad grunge thrown in. Lamps patterned after bone china vessels line the walls, and high tables tiled with blue-and-white porcelain are matched with chairs assembled with bamboo and rattan.

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On the drinks menu, the concept is incarnated as cocktails with East Asian accents. Bitter Sweet Affair sees Cognac and Grand Marnier mixed with oolong tea and lemon to lend acidity and balance, while Chinese Mojito is a reinvigorating tipple woven from rum, mint, lemon, and chrysanthemum. It is whisky, however, that really fleshes out the menu, with rarefied offerings the likes of Caol Ila 29 Years 1984 (with a total production of only 564 bottles), Ballantine’s 30 Years, and Tomatin 35 Years. The bar also accepts custom orders; call ahead and give them time to source your whisky for you.

(RELATED: Sum Yi Tai’s part of the Chinese food and spirits pairing trend.)

Sum Yi Tai’s convenient location isn’t its only draw here. While some might say its design features and its obsession with dragons teeter on the cliché, it’s also what makes this watering hole fun — everything is fun and easy, and it’s not hard to find a reason to like it.

In three words: “Triad” and tested.

Check out our previous Bars of the Week: The Flagship | The Armoury | Terra Rooftop Bar