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Best Izakayas in Singapore: where to get great sake, good beers and tasty Japanese food

An izakaya is essentially a Japanese tapas bar, with a variety of small dishes that are best paired with beer and/or sake. They are popular among Japanese worker bees, who head there after a long day at the office for some team building time. Singapore has a small but growing number of izakaya, and they all provide an ideal setting to unwind and enjoy great food at reasonable prices. Here are Skyscanner's top 5.

1. Izakaya Tamako

This tiny hole-in-the-wall is tucked away in the back corner of Concorde hotel, sandwiched in between some shady lounge bars, and is well worth a trip to sample their mouth watering barbecued chicken skewers ranging from $5 to $8.50. Other popular favourites include squid & mayonnaise, skewered pork belly and anything wrapped in bacon, which all pairs perfectly with sake! This place is tiny, so make sure you get there early during the weekends. If not, be prepared to wait. Aside from the counter seats, which have room for about 8, there are only 2 high tables you could squeeze four people each into. Perfect for your tummy-fillers before a big night out or after!

Address: 100 Orchard Road, #02-37 Concorde Hotel Shopping Centre Closest MRT: Dhoby Ghaut Phone: +65 6887 5638 Opening Hours: Monday–Saturday 6:30pm–2am Prices start from: $3.80 Drinks start from: $8 Visit their website here: Izakaya Tamako

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2. Raku Raku Japanese Dining

Raku Raku is a little but not-so-little izakaya in Duxton Hill with tastefully minimalistic interior that feels authentically Japan. Raku can roughly be translated into “comfort.” Despite the desolate tranquility of the area on weekdays, you’ll often find a surprising number of Japanese patrons at lunchtime here. You can also find reasonably priced set meals starting from $13++ that come with a main dish, pickles, Japanese salad, miso soup and high-quality Japanese rice. Even though it’s branded as an izakaya, the menu has expanded a bit to suit a variety of tastes; they have popular dishes such as Japanese curry rice, udon, soba and much more to go with your Sapporo beer. Also expect dishes that izakaya in Japan might not serve like unagi and pomfret fish.

Address: 30 Duxton Road Closest MRT: Outram Phone: +65 6224 5420 Opening Hours: Monday–Friday 11:30am–11pm; Saturday 5:30pm–11pm Mains start from: $13 Drinks start from: $8 Visit their website here: Raku Raku Japanese Dining

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3. Tomo Izakaya

The original outlet of this casual Japanese dining is in Clarke Quay but they have also expanded to Esplanade. The food they offer such as karaage (deep fried chicken) or okura bacon (okra wrapped in bacon) goes superbly well with the choice of warm, cold or even sparkling sake. Surprise yourself with their uni shot, sea urchin sashimi submerged in sake with wasabi and soy sauce. Seafood at Tomo Izakaya is flown in from Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji Market twice a week, so you know they get the good stuff. Sashimi starts from $18 onwards. It is a good place to go after work for casual drinks and a simple dinner.

Address: 3A River Valley Road #01-04 Clarke Quay Closest MRT: Clarke Quay Phone: +65 6336 0100 Opening Hours: Sunday–Thursday 12pm–1am; Friday–Saturday 12pm–3am Mains start from: $10 Drinks start from: $10.50 Visit their website here: Tomo Izakaya

4. En Bar

En is a Japanese Dining Bar at Mohamed Sultan Road, and is a dining experience that fuses both traditional and modern elements. Over the years, it has evolved into a chic bar that serves up a delightful array of “East-meet-West” tapas, blended delicately with Japanese flavours. Pair up your bites with their amazing lineup of sake, shochu, awamori, and other wines & spirits. Here, you can expect to enjoy service that is friendly and efficient!

Address: 207 River Valley Rd #01-59/60 UE Square (On Mohamed Sultan Rd) Closest MRT: Clarke Quay Phone: + 65 6732 6863 Opening Hours: Monday–Thursday 6pm–2am; Friday, Saturday & Eve of Public Holidays 6pm–3am; Sunday 6pm–12am Mains start from: $10 Drinks start from: $10 Visit their website here: En Bar

5. Five Izakaya Bar

If you’re looking for happy hour, look no further! Five Izakaya Bar is Singapore’s first tachinomi izakaya. Tachinomi literally means “standing-drinking,” and these cheap alternatives to pricier sit-down joints are popular among Tokyoites who have spent the whole day sitting around their offices and don’t mind using their legs for a bit at the end of the day. Five wants to bring this affordable dining experience to Singapore, where cheap and tasty Japanese options are few and far between. They offer tons of $5 specials all day every day as there is no specific timing for happy hour! There are however, a lot of affordable alcoholic drinks like sake, shochu, Asahi and Choya as well as Japanese food so the place is constantly packed with people for after-work shenanigans. Because of its location in the financial district, it brings in troops of execs wanting to kickback in their suits. Tasty items on the menu include $5 karaage, gyoza, donburi and pizza.

Address: 16 Collyer Quay Phone: +65 6536 8955 Opening Hours: Monday–Friday 12pm–12am; Saturday 6pm–12am; Closed on Sundays & Public Holidays Specials start from: $5 Drinks start from: $5 Visit their website here: Five Izakaya Bar

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Originally published on 31 December 2015 and updated in June 2017. Any prices are lowest estimated prices only at the time of publication and are subject to change and/or availability.

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