Former barracks, now watering hole for yuppies, only 'happening' at night, a bit pricey - we've heard a lot of things about this place. We went, we walked, we talked, we explored and found that only the 'former barracks' bit is true. Relaxed or unpretentious, swanky or loud; there's something for everyone at Dempsey Hill, that we know. Also, this is only chapter 1.
OKTOBER MUNICH RESTAURANT AND BAR
Block 18E Dempsey Road
Looks like your average sports bar; a lot of polo shirts and football shirts, a lot of beer drinking. Sounds like a sports bar; people too happy to sing along to resident band Gilbert and Friends’ rendition of the Seals and Crofts song, ‘Summerbreeze’ and occasional fixation on the television screen. And then they’re happy to sing along to the next song as well and the next, and then they’re requesting for songs. No trace of pretentiousness at all, this place is where you come as you are.
How to take your beer: 2L mini barrels of German beer
How to take your cuisine: If ‘Oktober’ and ‘Munich’ isn’t already obvious – Pork knuckles, Sauerkraut, potatoes, sausages
Courtyard: It exists, with string(s) of lights, and timber flooring
Spotted: High-chair: child-friendly so children too can bask in the good vibes
‘Comfortable and earthy atmosphere’: aka a tree indoors and ruched burgundy drapes for the stage.
Block 26 Dempsey Road
Moving on from 90.5FM slash Country road/take me home vibes of the last place, we step into Tawandang Microbrewery where ‘Joanna’ was about to begin, as well as a conga line. Tip for awkward people: in situations such as these, stick close to a wall and hope you blend in with the paint. But really, how can you not appreciate a place where the staff double up as emcees, rappers, singers and group dance instructors.
Possibility of a Conga line: High
Group activity of choice: Mass dancing
Preferred drink: Beer in beer towers or young coconut juice for the alcohol shy
Be prepared: Impromptu rap onstage by employee (even his colleagues were surprised)
How to be invisible and not get pulled in into festivities: We’re not sure how to help you or, be a wall
Family ties: This place is in fact, children friendly. Maybe just keep them away from beer towers and mass dancing
CONTEMPORARY MELTING-POT AND BAR, CM-PB
#01-05 Block 7 Dempsey Road
Everyone constantly mentions the foie gras burgers here, including the manager who tells me how it is prepared. I could remember a few choice words: foie gras, beef, juicy, butter, sauce. If I couldn’t already pick up on the free smells while walking around, I saw how every table had some sort of elaborate pizza and a couple of mojito(s). Jealousy is high and Aarika Lee’s take on ‘Dancing On My Own’ by Robyn is soundtracking this moment.
Namesake: Retained ‘CMPB’ which used to stand for Central Manpower Base
“Oh they’re playing here tonight?”: Everyone say hello to The Next Movement
Lingering scent in the air: Truffle fries
Sit: At the bar for people watching and band watching
Courtyard: Where people who dress real nice meet other people who dress real nice
BEN & JERRY'S
#01-14 Block 8 Dempsey Road
Who knew Ben & Jerry’s also boasts a sweet sound system to accommodate live performances. Walking into the parlour in the middle of Radiohead’s ‘High and Dry’ (second time we’re hearing this that night), we were already drawn to the simple stage set up. The heady aroma of something always baking, the communal vibe of the place and the Americana ranch/warehouse loft inspired décor, this place welcomes you with arms wide open (not a Creed song reference).
First impressions: The sweet, sweet smell of confectionery
First feels: Envious. Of neighbouring tables and their respective choice of confectionery
Where to go on an innocent date where you discuss pets and siblings and secondary school memories: This place, sit at table(s) in front of mini-stage, order and share a giant bowl of ice cream, preferably with some fruit, sing along to the Lifehouse song
Where to go after work with button-down-shirt-wearing colleagues who are young at heart and want to go to a ‘casual place’, preferably to an ice cream parlour: This place, sit at area beside the stage and order beer ( and ice cream, duh)
LA SALSA BAR AND RESTAURANT
#01-17 Block 11 Dempsey Road
After a night of trekking Dempsey Hill (with help of a car), it was nice to step into La Salsa where lighting was ideal, staff were friendly, the anticipation of an imminent performance by a local legend and whoa, that mega shelf of alcohol. The banter between the staff, regular patrons, performers and anyone who walked in meant that nobody had to feel like the new kid at school. Cuisine genre is of the Tex Mex so it is a definite hasta pronto.
Vibes: Romantic high school prom night
Nice touch: Chilled glasses for the beer and real, authentic hot sauce
How to enjoy your music: Hard rockin’ with a side of attitude (and a side of nachos). Dancing is allowed.
On repeat: We heard ‘Joanna’ again but it’s okay because we got some AC/DC