ASPIRATIONS/ INSPIRATIONS/ INNOVATIONS
Junior, the latest watering hole here – and maybe the smallest – offers new experimental drinking concepts every six months.
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A small, intimate bar housed in a bigger space. With only 10 seats – lled on a rst come, rst served basis – two-month-old Junior is elusive and inconspicuous. It’s located within the Tanjong Pagar restaurant, Crackerjack – and in true hole-in-the-wall fashion, it’s a place you enter through the back alley on Cook Street.
Brought to you by The Proof Collective, the folks behind cult favourite 28 Hongkong Street, its purpose is, well, more innovation. “Opening Junior gives us the opportunity to explore crazy, creative ideas,” says Zdenek Kastanek, general manager of the company’s three establishments. “It allows us to experiment in areas of interest, and to celebrate concepts in a way that some of the world’s largest and most mature cocktail cities – like New York City and London – have not been able to do.”
It means that Junior will be the hotbed for conceptual-based cocktails made with hard-to-nd spirits brought back by The Proof Collective’s veteran bartenders from their travels. Mimicking the way art galleries change exhibitions, it will focus on one core subject every six months.
With fewer than a dozen patrons at a time ghting for the bartender’s attention, Junior is the new after-work haunt for a spirit-and-cocktail education between Wednesday and Saturday, from 7pm to midnight. That is provided you can get in.
Junior’s rst concept, Norma, is inspired by NOM (Norma Ocial Mexicana), the official series of compulsory standards for Mexican spirits. Agave spirits, which are having a moment now as the fastest-growing spirits category worldwide, take centre stage. Bottles are hand-carried from Mexico. Some are the rst of their kind in Asia, including curated artisanal and ancestral mescals made from plants that are wild and hard to come by. “The tequila distilleries sourced from include Fortaleza, created by Guillermo Erickson Sauza, now a fth-generation tequila producer,” says Junior’s co-head barman Zac de Git. “He reopened a rustic distillery using traditional methods not commonly used today.” Junior’s rst concept pays homage to Mexicana with four sections in its menu: tequila, mescal, tasting ights (one is pictured here), and cocktails.