Bar review: Flow Bar, a laidback watering hole in collaboration with restaurant JAG in Duxton

PHOTO: Instagram/flowbarsg

For barflies in the local cocktail scene, Ricky Paiva is a familiar name. A Californian native with a moustache as bold as his personality, he's helped launch the likes of Regent Singapore's award-winning Manhattan and Sentosa bar-grill Panamericana.

Now, this affable bartending veteran has finally struck out with his own watering hole, Flow Bar, along Duxton Road.

Flow Bar is nested on the second floor of Michelin-starred French fine-dining restaurant JAG — a space formerly occupied by IB HQ.

Born of a longtime acquaintance between Ricky and JAG co-owner Anant Tyagi, his drinking den is run in partnership with JAG. That collaboration translates to many of JAG chef Jeremy Gillon's seasonal herbs, sourced from Savoie, slipping their way into the tipples.

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As a watering hole, it's an ideal segue into JAG's seasonal cuisine — or a pleasant way to wind down your meal.

More brightly lit than your average Duxton den, Flow Bar feels like a living room — a snug 23-seater filled with sleek armchairs and colourful paintings. Indeed, one section of Ricky's cocktail programme ($24++ per cocktail) is dubbed 'Living Room'.

This section features a cosy selection of classics that have been lifted from familiar to stellar with just a few tweaks. For starters, the Burnt Lemon Whisky Sour sings with caramelised notes thanks to the use of Wild Turkey bourbon and charred lemon.

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In a cheeky nod to the bar's address, the French 76a deepens the refreshing French 75 with cacao and nutty hints of sherry. And if you love your espresso martinis, Flow Bar does a downright decadent rendition that's worth staying up late for.

A smooth blend of Nikka vodka and espresso specially roasted for Restaurant JAG, this Espresso Martini is crowned with torched dulce de leche for sinfully creamy results.

The 'Garden' section of the menu, meanwhile, is a celebration of fresh fruits and herbs, drawing inspiration from Restaurant JAG's botanical-forward creations.

You can expect the highballs here to switch up with each season, but the current range leans light and crisp with seltzer. The Strawberry, for one, balances strawberry gin with lemon verbena to make a simple and not-too-sweet refresher.

So far, so straightforward; it's only in the 'Playground' section that Ricky lets his fun spirit out to play. Cinnamon Girl is as dreamy as the Neil Young song, with its syrupy blend of apple bourbon, pommeau, and caramel brightened by fresh lemon.

The surprise hit of the night, though, is a silky and subtly savoury twist on the martini: the Shibui. Umami Japanese bitters strike earthy notes of mushroom and bonito dashi, amped up by the coastal botanicals of Isle of Harris Gin.

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The bar bites come crafted by JAG's Chef Jeremy — as you might guess from their distinctly French flair. We can't stop spooning up the Artichoke Hummus ($20), an addictively buttery dip sprinkled with roasted hazelnuts, olives, and Savoie sage that's even better with the accompanying sourdough.

Another creamy dip, the Blue Crab ($30), spices things up with laksa leaves and Savoie lemon thyme, ideal for heaping on fluffy toasted brioche.

The intriguing Farçon Savoyard ($23++) is a bite-sized twist on the traditional Savoyard potato dish — think thin slices of potato layered with prunes and hazelnuts, compressed together, and seared in butter.

Throw in a topping of melted raclette and Bayonne ham and you get a flavour bomb, though the end result is far too salty for our taste.

To sweeten the finish, we have a Double Chocolate Gateaux ($18) that proves spectacular — there's no going wrong with layers of chocolate sponge, light and rich chocolate mousse, and a sprinkling of sea salt.

Flow Bar is located at 76A Duxton Rd, Level 2, Singapore 089535, p. +65 8028 5865. Open Tues-Sat 5pm-10.30pm. Closed Sun & Mon.

This article was first published in City Nomads.

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