Raffles Hotel's Long Bar, Singapore
The long bar at Raffles was one of those bars that i really wanted to pay a visit to because of all the history related to it.
But honestly speaking, the place has become an overpriced tourists trap where they serve crappy little Singapore slings for over 20 dollars a drink.
The bar is actually quite cosy at first, but I did not see one client there who wasn´t a tourist and it´s just a bar full of people sitting there so that they can come home and say they did it.
Like i mentioned earlier it´s not bad looking.
It pretty much looks like your average english/irish pub around the world, but why pay 20-30 dollars for a drink when you can get the same thing for less than half that price just around the corner where you might also meet some locals.
Some people might think this is a cool place to hang out, but as a person working in tourism i can only say that this is a class excample of how you can get people to pay whatever for a drink as long as you market it well.
A world famous drink - how can that be a tourist trap?
Well, considering how much you'll have to pay for it, and how it taste, I would almost call it a robbery.
The Singapore Sling is a world famous drink that was created for the first time sometime between 1910 and 1915 at the Raffles Hotel. It's red/pink and sweeter than most other stuff. The drink that is served today isn't the original one, as it was changed during the 1970s.
The drink is served at many places around Singapore, but if you want it you should of course order it at Raffles Hotel, either at Long Bar or the garden bar. But remember it taste crap, will make a huge hole in your wallet, and most probably leave you quite disappointed afterwards.
Unique Suggestions: Well, being in Singapore one probably should try the Singapore Sling. But make sure it's just once at least. And then stay away from the bars at Raffles Hotel, as the alcohol there is even more expensive, if possible, than in the rest of the country.
A Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel will cost you at least 20 euro (40 SGD).
Fun Alternatives: If you don't want to pay a smaller fortune for a crappy drink, order it on the flight to Singapore. Singapore Airlines serve it, for free.
Or mix it yourself back home.
I seriously think this is pretty much a tourist trap at this point. They claim to be the originiating point of the Singapore Sling but now use a prefab mix. And it is insanely priced with what is becoming, and i know this is hard to believe, service that is not top end anymore.
Unique Suggestions: Go and do this once. Everyone should experience things once.
Fun Alternatives: Once you have done this once you can head into the hotel further and get a drink at the courtyard bar.
It is one of those places you go just to say to others that you have been. This is where the cocktail was first invented. However due to so many tourists coming in and having it the drink is now pre-mixed. It tastes like theres half a bag of sugar dissolved in it. Had to force it down to justify the 19.80 dollars asking price.
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It may sound great to have a Singapore Sling in the original Raffles hotel but be prepared to spend a great deal of money for very little in return. Appropriate for honeymooners or those seeking a bit of expensive romance but not for someone watching their budget.
Unique Suggestions: If you are going to go and drink a Sling have it outside - it is atmospheric. There is also a small museum in the hotel, not worth going out of the way for unless you have a particular interest in the colonial era.
Fun Alternatives: Save your money for a meal on the river
On my first visit to Singapore in 1990 one of the items on my agenda was to have a Singapore Sling at Raffles but unfortunately Raffles was closed at the time for renovations.
I finally got around to doing this on my 3rd visit and it was a slight disappointment.
It would appear that every tourist who comes to Singapore has the same idea. In order to deal with the huge demand Raffles pre-mix their famous cocktail and serve it, already made, from a large container. This rather diluted the whole experience for me. It wasn't quite the same as having an expert barman pull out various bottles and make it fresh in front of you, ala Tom Cruise in Cocktail.
Oh well, that's cheap air tickets and mass tourism for you.
They are expensive too! However, I wouldn't discourage anyone from doing this at least once so they can say they went to Raffles and sampled the famous Raffles cocktail.
Unique Suggestions: I'm sorry but there is no escape from this particular tourist trap. This is something that you have to do in Singapore. Go to Raffles, buy the drink, get a few photos of you holding your expensive cocktail, drink it, buy the T-shirt. Afterwards you can bore all of your friends rigid with tales of you sipping Singapore Slings at Raffles.
Fun Alternatives: Once you've had the authentic Raffles Singapore Sling experience, why not make future ones for yourself at home?
The iconic drink was devised by one Ngiam Tong Boon, a Raffles barman, in 1915. It consists of 5 parts gin, 3 parts pineapple juice, 1 part fresh lemon juice, 1 shot of Benedictine, 1 shot of Cointreau, and some cherry brandy.
Shake the mixture well with crushed ice. Pour into a long glass half-filled with ice.
Et voila, an authentic Singapore Sling!