Raffles Hotel: a long face at the Long Bar

A visit to the world famous Long Bar to enjoy an iconic Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel is supposed to be one of the highlights of visiting Singapore as a tourist. So why the long face?

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I was really looking forward to my visit to the Long Bar at Raffles. It is said the Singapore Sling cocktail was invented here over 100 years ago. I visit Singapore a lot, but have never visited this iconic hotel before, not even in the bar. It was time to finally try out this iconic attraction to see what all the fuss was about. One of the most incredible thing about the Long Bar (and Raffles Hotel in general) is its colonial architecture. This grand old hotel has a long history and was built by the British during colonial times. It is also named after one of Singapore’s founding fathers, Sir Stamford Raffles.

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Finding at a seat in the Long Bar is actually very, very difficult. I always got the impression that the bar staff were not very welcoming towards me as a solo backpacker, and in a way I can understand why as they know we are just here at this expensive hotel (£400 per night rooms) to order a drink because the guide books say so. Yet I found their cold attitude rather off-putting, and they wanted me finish my drink and nuts as quick as possible so an older, richer couple/group could sit at my table instead. Where is the famous Singaporean hospitality? It was nowhere to be seen at Raffles.

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The Singapore Sling (although not something real Singaporeans will ever be seen dead drinking) is very bitter and it makes me a little drowsy when I drink it. I often have one on the flight from London to Singapore with Singapore Airlines, and it helps me to settle into the ultra longhaul flight. Here at the Raffles Long Bar, however, it does feel a little odd to sit back in such an historic hotel drinking this colourful cocktail, especially when you consider the ludicrous prices of S$31 per Sling – that is the equivalent of £16! I had also been planning to order myself a burger at the Long Bar, but when I looked at the menu upon arrival, I realised that it would set me back S$39 – and even I won’t pay £20 for a burger!

Luckily the nuts were complimentary…

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6 thoughts on “Raffles Hotel: a long face at the Long Bar

    1. I probably would have been thrown out if I had chucked peanuts shells on the floor 😛 But yes, apparently, it does happen occasionally at the Long Bar. I think only on special occasions or during Happy Hour.

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  1. i have visited the raffles hotel in singapore, only because of my interest in historical colonial buildings, which always makes a grand statement from an architectural standpoint. but, i have yet to visit the long bar and to try their singapore sling. yes, the prices on the menu play a part in my decision making. but aside from that, i have to agree with you when it comes to singaporean hospitality. it is far different from what i have experienced 10-20 years ago. the country has changed a lot, in image as well as in people and culture. it is no longer the real singapore i once knew. sad.

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    1. It would be good if the Singapore Sling was cheaper, but now I hear that there is a Long Bar at Changi Airport terminal 3, so tourists can have a Sling before their flight. I wonder if the prices are cheaper?

      Luckily, most Singaporeans have been nice to me (apart from a couple of bad taxi drivers), but there does seem to be a certain snobbery towards budget travellers in Singapore.

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      1. yup, there is now a Long Bar at T3 of Changi airport. but i have yet to make my way there. i’m not much into alcohol beverages. and i think the price could be more expensive, since it caters to only tourists.

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