Does the city need yet an­other cock­tail bar? If it’s any­thing like Crack­er­jack, then def­i­nitely.

meal for two with drinks: around $100

Time Out Singapore - - Hello, SG - Iliyas Ong

CRACK­ER­JACK is not your av­er­age lo­cal cock­tail bar. It isn’t hid­den be­hind cloaks of cur­tains, doesn’t have an am­per­sand in its name, and you don’t need a damn pass­word to get in.

In­stead, the all-day restau­rant and bar is drenched in nat­u­ral light, and long ta­bles en­cour­age com­mu­nal din­ing. There’s even a shuf­fle­board ta­ble on one end of the space. But best of all are the bar­tenders: they’re as ca­sual and un­pre­ten­tious as the dude in your lo­cal pour­ing you a pint of lager.

Ex­cept they aren’t. They’re there to shake up solid drinks that don’t try too hard to be dif­fer­ent. The 20 or so cock­tails ($16-$20) come from the minds of Pe­ter Chua and Zachary de Git; the for­mer worked at 28 HongKong Street while the lat­ter’s known for his time be­hind Tip­pling Club’s bar. Split into no-non­sense cat­e­gories such as ‘Shaken’ and ‘Stirred’, the drinks menu is beau­ti­fully con­cise. Be­cause ev­ery­thing we sip on, as the name of one LEGO Movie

in­spired tip­ple pro­claims, is awe­some. I be­gin what would even­tu­ally spi­ral into a long night with a mez­cal Ne­groni. It’s one of the best I’ve had in the city, al­ter­nat­ingly bit­ter and sweet with the bright­ness of orange punch­ing through. The Ball­game is more com­plex, with rye, cin­na­mon bit­ters and caramel corn thrown some­where in the mix, and served with a short glass of beer. Fol­low a sip from one with a glug from the other and the con­trast­ing notes will hit home runs on your palate.

The food isn’t to be out­done, ei­ther. Crack­er­jack takes in­spi­ra­tion from hearty Amer­i­can cook­house fare, re­fines it and serves dishes in a way fa­mil­iar to lo­cals: one meat, two veg. The bour­bon-glazed pork col­lar chop ($24) is ten­der and heavy on the porcine flavours, but an ac­com­pa­ny­ing ji­cama coleslaw cuts through the fat­ti­ness. And a grilled bar­ra­mundi ($24), fresh from an Ubin ke­long, is as hon­est – not to men­tion af­ford­able – as food should be. Much like the rest of Crack­er­jack.

à43 Tan­jong Pa­gar Rd (8121 1462, crack­er­jack.sg). Tan­jong Pa­gar. MonSat 8pm-mid­night; Sun 10am-10pm.

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