Since the early Edo period, izakayas (or ‘sit-down sake shops’) have been an indispensable part of the Japanese way of life and they have also found their place in Singapore’s colourful culinary landscape. Should you miss travelling to Japan, there are many izakayas that you can visit, from those that capture the atmosphere of Tokyo, to those that branch out into fusion dishes and creative cocktails. Gather your mates for some smooth sake, chilled beer, Japanese whiskeys and bar bites here!
You will be forgiven for thinking that you’ve been transported to an intimate restaurant in one of Tokyo’s back alleys. Nestled in Stanley Street is Shukuu Izakaya, a trendy hotspot featuring a bevvy of eclectic small plates. Ingredients are sourced and air-flown in fresh from Japan to create dishes that remain true to its roots while flirting with Western influences. Be sure to try the Kani Gratin and the Rosti Mentai. Shukuu Izakaya’s specialty, Kushiyaki (charcoal-grilled skewered meat), is a must-try as well. The dishes here taste are meant to be paired with sake, so choose your poison from their extensive range of sakes or ask for a recommendation!
Address: 8 Stanley St, Singapore 068727
Opening Hours: 5:30–10:30 PM daily
Situated along Robertson Quay, Shunjuu Izakaya specialises in Sumiyaki, charcoal-grilled dishes to go with sake or shochu. There are over 70 grilled dishes to choose from, including options such as Tori Kawa Ninniku (garlic rolled with chicken skin), Tebasaki (chicken wings) and Gyu Tan (ox tongue). Tantalising cold and hot dishes are also on the menu, such as Sashimi Salad, Tori Kawa Masago Ae (chicken skin with cod roe) Buta Kimuchi Itame (stir-fried pork and kimchi) and the Ribuai Tataki (ribeye carparccio). For some carbs, opt for some Soba or the delicious Ninniku Cha-han (garlic fried rice). Wash it all down with a wide selection of sake or shochu with a detailed table specifying the serving temperature and prefecture of origin!
Address: 30 Robertson Quay, #01-15 Riverside View, Singapore 238251
Opening Hours: 12–2:30 PM, 6–11 PM Mon to Thurs, 12–2:30 PM, 6–11.30 PM Fri & Sat, 12–2:30 PM, 6–10:30 PM
Run by the folks behind Hachi Restaurant, The Public Izakaya has been keeping customers happy for 10 years now. Much like the traditional izakayas one would find in Tokyo, the menu is complete with a selection of Japanese beers and sakes. On the food front, ingredients are freshly imported from Japan and you won’t go wrong with some Chicken Karaage, the Yakitori Omakase, or the oh-so-comforting Oden.
Address: 100 Tras St, #01-09, Singapore 079027
Opening Hours: 11:30 AM–2:30 PM, 5:30 PM–12 AM Mon to Thurs, 11:30 AM–2:30 PM, 5:30 PM–1 AM Fri, 5 PM–12 AM Sat, 5:30 PM–10 PM Sun
Located in the Tanjong Pagar neighbourhood, Izakaya Niningashi offers a huge array of Japanese food to go with top-quality sakes and drinks. There’s even a niningashi option which allows you an all-you-can-drink session for 90 min or 150 min! From a good range from Suntory highballs to sake, pick your poison according to your mood. The food is such as sashimi is incredibly fresh, and you’ll even be able to find uncommon items such as Shirako (cod milit) and Otoro (fatty tuna). Prices are also reasonable, so it’s no wonder why they’ve built up a loyal following!
Address: 2 Craig Rd, Singapore 089662
Opening Hours: 12–2:30 PM, 6–10:30 PM Mon to Sat. Closed on Sun
Styled after the Izakaya bars of Tokyo, The Modern Izakaya boasts a chill atmosphere, offering a selection of sake, beer and Japanese cuisine. Conveniently located within Chijmes, it is the sister restaurant of Japanese sushi and teppanyaki restaurant, Tatsu. Enjoy a wide array of yakitori and kushiyaki grilled over white charcoal. Can’t make up your mind? Go for the Mixed Platter or Premium Platter that allows you to try a few different skewers. For drink, enjoy a wide array of sake and Japanese beer, as well as hard liquor and wine!
Address: 30 Victoria St, #01-18 CHIJMES, Singapore 187996
Opening Hours: 12–10:30 PM daily
This family-run izakaya has been here for more than 30 years in Singapore, offering an old-school and nostalgic vibe. It’s not hard to see why they’re popular among the Japanese community in Singapore – you can even spot a queue before they’re open! Look forward to classics like their bento sets and tendon bowls, and they’re also known for tasty meat dishes like yakitori skewers, tempura, beef teriyaki, and fried katsu. Wash it all down with free-flow green tea, a cup of hot or cold sake or a bottle of Asahi.
Address: 5 Koek Rd, #02-10/12 Cuppage Plaza, Singapore 228796
Opening Hours: 12–2:30 PM, 6–9:30 PM Mon to Sat. Closed on Sun
Indulge in modern sophisticated izakaya-style dining at Tomo Izakaya, where each dish from sushi to suba is carefully curated with sake, shochu, beer, wine or other spirits to tantalise your tastebuds. The menu features small-bite dishes, such as the Surume Ika (grilled Japanese squid), or Kushi Mori (assorted skewers platter). Worked up an appetite? Check out Tomo Izakaya’s chirashi dons, such as its Zenbu-Happy Chirashi, which comes with sashimi, sea urchin, grilled eel, beef steak, chopped tuna belly and salmon roe!
Address: 8 Raffles Ave., #01-09, Singapore 039802
Opening Hours: 12–3 PM, 5–11 PM daily
Not to be confused with the anime, this modern izakaya takes up two floors. The first floor is a tapas bar while the second floor is their sake bar, featuring a walk-in sake vault refurbished from an actual bank vault! You will also find yummy fusion food to pair perfectly with your drinks, such as Uni Lobster Pasta, Wagyu Beef Tartare and Charcoal Chicken.
Address: 01 80 South Bridge Rd, #01 Golden Castle Building, Singapore 058710
Opening Hours: 4:30–11:15 PM Mon to Sat. Closed on Sun
Serving up izakaya and robatayaki dishes, Ishinomaki Grill & Sake is all about fresh seafood and seasonal produce. They are air-flown fresh from Japan to be paired with top-shelf sake and sochu. Order from the yakitori menu or go for a kaiseki-style meal. Regardless of which way you choose to spend your time here, it is definitely one that you will want to come back to.
Address: 390 Orchard Rd, #B1-02/02A/03, Singapore 238871
Opening Hours: 11:30 AM–3 PM, 6–10 PM daily
A 'hidden bar' discreetly located at the basement of Forum Shopping Mall, the only way to get to Horse’s Mouth is through the brightly lit Uma Uma Ramen which would then lead you to a dim stairway. Offering all the charm of an izakaya with quality cocktails and bar bites made with produce flown in from Toyosu market, the sake collection here is also carefully sourced from all around Japan, including obscure brewers from far-flung regions. Sake connoisseurs, make sure to put this place on your list!
Address: 583 Orchard Rd, #B1-39, Singapore 238884
Opening Hours: 5:30 PM–12 AM Wed & Thurs, 5:30 PM–1 AM Fri & Sat. Closed Sun to Tues
Located at Circular Road, Yakitori Yatagarasu is a quaint little eatery dedicated to serving up authentic Japanese chargrilled meat skewers. In fact, you’ll find 15 types of pork belly wraps with a variety of ingredients, such as shiso leaf, asparagus, cheese and many more! They also use every part of a chicken in their yakitori, and the chicken tail is one of the most popular items here – they tend to sell out early!
Address: 72 Circular Rd, #01-01, Singapore 049426
Opening Hours: 6–11 PM Mon to Sat. Closed on Sun
Be transported to Japan at Dosukoi x Donpachi Sake Bar, which has an intimate ambience that is reminiscent of the traditional Izakayas in Japan. Tucked away in Cuppage Plaza, the quaint spot houses more than 100 different kinds of sakes, as well as shochu and beer if that’s what you prefer. You’ll also find a variety of unique dishes to pair with your drinks, such as Masu Sushi, Tsubukai Whelk Shell and Stamina Don!
Address: 5 Koek Rd, B1-23/24/25 Cuppage Plaza, Singapore 228796
Opening Hours: 5 PM–3 AM Mon to Sat, 5 PM–12 AM Sun
Located on the second floor of a heritage shophouse along Telok Ayer Street, Kabuke is a gastrobar that sets the stage for the showcase of sake and contemporary Japanese cuisine. Boasting sake from prefectures all across Japan and especially small breweries, their menu also features signature wagyu dishes as well as quality seafood and exquisite bites. Experts and sake amateurs alike can seek advice from the service crew equipped with essential sake knowledge for the best pairings!
Address: 200A Telok Ayer St, Singapore 068638
Opening Hours: 12–2:30 PM, 6–11 PM Mon to Fri, 6–11 PM Sat. Closed on Sun
A Japanese izakaya bar in the CBD, Taki Izakaya Bar is the go-to spot for some after-work drinks. Housing a vast selection of alcohol with over 100 different varieties, their impressive collection includes sake, Japanese whiskey, beer and many more. And with quality ingredients that would appeal to Japanese food lovers, expect a menu of classic favourites spread across sushi, sashimi, starters, kushiyaki, agemono, don, steak, and dessert categories!
Address: 16 Collyer Quay, #01-05A B, Singapore 049318
Opening Hours: 11:30 AM–10 PM Mon & Tues, 11:30 AM–11 PM Wed to Fri, 5:30–10 PM Sat. Closed on Sun
G Izakaya might be relatively new in the sea of Japanese restaurants in Singapore, but they’ve been winning over the crowd with their value-for-money offerings, which include an extensive array of sashimi, sushi, tempura, yakitori, bento, as well as omakase. We highly recommend washing down these dishes with some sake!
Address: 6001 Beach Rd, #01-52A/B, Singapore 199589
Opening Hours: 11:30 am–2 pm, 5:30–10:30 pm daily
Named after the Japanese word for “respect”, this casual izakaya pays homage to the cuisine of Southwest Japan, which is heavily influenced by fresh seafood and premium cuts of meat. The intimate setting, affordable prices, and friendly service have made this restaurant one of the most popular haunts in the city. There are also happy hour promotions here, making it one of the best watering holes in the CBD.
Address: 60 Robertson Quay, Singapore 238252
Opening Hours: 6–11 PM Mon to Thurs, 6 PM–3 AM Fri to Sun
A casual Japanese bar dedicated to the twin pleasures of Yakitori and Premium sake, Kakurega oozes charm with an expansive menu featuring items made from superior Japanese ingredients. Enter the lair and kickstart your dining experience with some freshly shucked oysters from Hyogo and Mie prefecture in Japan. Meat lovers should try the Gyu Tataki dish, where melt-in-your-mouth beef is paired with garlic chips. And don’t miss the Chashu Ringo Sauce, a unique mix of pork belly and apple sauce!
Address: 12 Smith St, Singapore 058926
Opening Hours: 6–10:30 PM Mon to Fri, 12–3 PM, 6–10:30 PM Sat & Sun
This izakaya occupies a small nook on the first floor of Golden Mile Tower, and its interior is plastered floor-to-ceiling with Japanese posters, flyers, and various paraphernalia. Yakitori options include the Torikawa (chicken skin) to Lamb and Kimchi Pork. For those looking to have more than yakitori, there’s also a wide range of other items like the Kawaebi Fry (deep-fried shrimps), Mentai Pasta and Century Egg Tofu. Lastly, what’s a meal at the izakaya without a highball and a pint of beer?
Address: 6001 Beach Rd, #01-02, Singapore 199589
Opening Hours: 5 PM–12 AM Mon to Thurs, 5 PM–1 AM Fri & Sat, 5–10:30 PM Sun
Set along the idyllic Boat Quay riverfront, Ju95 is an intimate izakaya that provides guests with an escape from mundane day-to-day life. Bringing together the best that East and West has to offer, the izakaya dishes out a variety of exciting dishes such as their signature Parfait Ju (chicken liver, fermented mushrooms, koji sable sookies) and their Grilled Octopus, served with Japanese sweet potato and a home-made papaya katsu sauce. Drinks-wise, Ju95 serves quality sakes but also offers a wide array of cheeky signature bespoke cocktails as well!
Address: 41 Boat Quay, Singapore 049830
Opening Hours: 6–11 PM Tues & Wed, 12–2 PM, 6–11 PM Thurs, 12–2 PM, 6 PM–12 AM Fri, 6 PM–12 AM Sat, 5–10 PM Sun
An affordable joint without sacrificing quality and taste, Izakaya Hikari offers a huge variety of Japanese food, from appetizers to the well-loved sashimi and donburi bowls. Can’t decide which skewers to get? Go for the Yakimono Set which consists of the restaurant's signature skewers into one yummy platter. Another dish not to be missed is the Surume Ika. Grilled to perfect, the squid is tender with a smoky charred flavour and goes brilliantly with some cold or warm sake.
Address: 190 Middle Rd, #03-01, Singapore 188979
Opening Hours: 12–2:30 PM, 5:30–10:30 PM Mon to Fri, 5–10:30 PM Sat. Closed on Sun