Hidden away in a nondescript basement in Singapore’s Ann Siang Hill neighbourhood, Operation Dagger has been making waves with its unique flavours since opening in 2014. The award-winning bar, which currently ranks 30th on the World’s 50 Best Bars list for 2019, has garnered an international following thanks to its authentic underground vibes and feverish pursuit of original, experimental drinks that always put flavour first.

Hidden away in a nondescript basement in Singapore’s Ann Siang Hill neighbourhood, Operation Dagger has been making waves with its unique flavours since opening in 2014. The award-winning bar, which currently ranks 30th on the World’s 50 Best Bars list for 2019, has garnered an international following thanks to its authentic underground vibes and feverish pursuit of original, experimental drinks that always put flavour first.

This November, the beloved bar welcomes new Head Bartender and Creative Director Thomas Girard, who marks his new role with a refreshed menu of nine new “Dangerous Drinking Water” creations and exceptional bar bites. A familiar face on the international hospitality scene, Girard’s impressive resume skips from London’s acclaimed 69 Colebrooke Row to Michelin-starred restaurants, such as Le Coq in Paris and Hexagone in Portugal. Most recently, his consultancy Sage and Pineapple developed innovative drinks menus for high-profile openings in Paris like Carbon, Gravity and Cravan.

At Operation Dagger, the Frenchman drew from his diverse experience to craft a lineup of six imaginative new drinks, three new types of “Hooch” (natural wines) and a handful of bar snacks. On the drinks menu, find evocative creations such as the Golden Mile, an aromatic coconut concoction infused with Thai herbs and fresh chilli finish; the E-701, a beetroot-infused number that brings to mind red velvet cake, albeit with a welcome zing; and the “So it wasn’t coffee,” a refreshing liquid illusion that surprises the senses with every sip.

Another highlight is the Purple Yamborghini, which combines the sweet and sour flavours with pandan, yoghurt and yam, while the palate-pleasing Cheese, No Eggbalances cheddar, honey and cream with a hint of smoke. In stark contrast, the É KHổ QUA combines lacto-fermented bitter melon, spinach, cane and whey for a green, grassy and altogether refreshing result. As for the updated Hooch menu, three new creations – Jackfruit, TepatXe, and Lychee Martini – promise a fizzy, aromatic drinking experience.

Girard’s new recipes join Operation Dagger’s all-time favourite signatures – like the Gomashio, Hot + Cold, Bee Pollen and Choc Pinot – and further showcase the bar’s commitment to originality, experimentation and sensory experiences, which have defined the establishment’s ethos since day one. Always marching to the beat of its own drum, Operation Dagger was one of the first bars in Singapore to go beyond the predictable classics and provide unique flavours to curious, highly discerning drinkers keen to expand their horizons.

The bar’s story is equally inventive: In 1956, the Singapore Police Force unleashed ‘Operation Dagger’ in an effort to eradicate secret gangs who once ran the streets of Chinatown, where Ann Siang Hill is located. The bar’s design taps into this forgotten world, guiding visitors to the subterranean space via a series of ‘hobo’ symbols on otherwise unmarked walls and doors. Once used by vagabonds to communicate to each other, each symbol has a secret meaning that captures Operation Dagger’s personality. Once inside, sleek minimalist décor eschews brands and distractions, keeping it warm, welcoming and completely authentic.