Explore the wild west of vino with these natural, biodynamic, and minimal intervention wine bars that also happen to be great watering holes.
It all started when nomadic cooking project Paris Popup, well, popped up at Open Farm Community (OFC) and brought in a slew of natural wines to pair with the food. The Spa Esprit Group — which runs OFC and Tiong Bahru Bakery among other concepts — now has their own travelling natural wine programme, Drunken Farmer. The popup sees operations and wine manager Phil Chin setting up shop at the group's different properties to sling some left-field vino — natural, biodynamic, minimal intervention, and a whole host of other possible labels that indicate that there is going to be something expressive, funky, and brilliant in your glass. Says Chin, "Just like life in general, I prefer a wine with flaws and character than a manufactured wine that is just like all others.” In fact, Chin will go to lengths to prove it, possibly with a blind tasting.
The first stop for Drunken Farmer is at Tiong Bahru Bakery Safari, where they'll also be serving a selection of charcuterie and cheeses in addition to wine. Drop by 17 May for their Flower Moon Party, which will see fitness programmes like night yoga offered, in addition to $10 glasses all night long.
Tiong Bahru Bakery Safari, 130E Minden Road. Tel: 6877-4876
Le Bon Funk
It's in the name. Translated as "the good funk", Le Bon Funk's progressive, well-calculated approach to both food (think shaved, frozen foie gras and cedar jelly on toast; and house-cured charcuterie) and wines means an ever-changing list with interesting, yet approachable labels. Head somm Josée Yeomans curates with a measured palate. Wines here have to "travel well and suit the city’s tropical climate", and also come from suppliers or winemakers that Yeomans trusts and knows — something that's especially important for natural wines given the hazy (pun intended) definitions of the label. Expect everything from familiar-tasting reds like a lighter Nerello Mascalese blend from Etna; or various skin-contact labels that lend well to their name.
29 Club Street. Tel: 6224-1490
Possibly the granddaddy of specialised natural wine bars in Singapore, and owners Alvin Gho and Ian Lim aren't even that old. Drinkers and eaters pack the place out for natural wines, great food, and possibly the coolest playlist that side of town. Get a wine recommendation from the staff, or jump in blind and pick the funkiest-looking bottle — their wine list is a shelf of empty bottles with labels — in true natural wine fashion — that can feature some pretty far-out illustrations. "We just want to have delicious wines that we enjoy ourselves at the bar. Just because its organic/biodynamic/minimal intervention does not make it better," shares Lim
The food here also needs special mentioning. Some of their dishes have a cult-like following, including their joy-inducing wagyu patty melt, and silky pastas. Something is always happening here too. There are themed tasting flights every Tuesday, the occasional crossover chef, and visits by winemakers every now and then. Photo: Jonathan Yeap
38 Carpenter St, #01-01. Tel: 9679-5166
One of the newer additions to Singapore's booming wine scene, this Italian concept also has a spanking wine selection, thanks to sommelier/partner Ronald Kamiyama's —whose experience spans places like Bar Boulud in NYC and Tokyo’s L’effervescence — educational slant. There might be a fresh, spicy 100% syrah from Northern Rhone (from celebrated vigneron Éric Texier); bone-dry Rioja with manzanilla sherry blended in for a nutty, savoury edge; or hazy, unfiltered and biodynamic pet-nats that toe the line between juice and bubbly in the best ways possible — it's all good, or at the very least, interesting. Go between Mondays to Thursdays and get a tasting flight at $28, and explore wine regions, grape varietals, or styles. Food includes fresh pasta and small plates — get the fried sage leaves and braised ox tongue.