Mention Brewerkz to any barfly and they’ll think of the flagship gastropub at Riverside Point. The microbrewery also has strategically situated mini-outlets at the Indoor Stadium and Changi’s Terminal Three, and now the company that claims “We do what Werkz” has spread its tentacles further into Singapore’s suburbs with a new opening just off the Bukit Timah Road.
On paper it’s a move so logical it’s inspired: the area is known for its predominantly Western population of thir(s)tysomethings with plentiful disposable income. Build it and they will come: a no-brainer, surely? But as the more traditional watering holes Bullfrog and Old Brown Shoe just down the road have already proved, the roadside boozer is not such an easy trick to pull off.
For starters, unless you’re a neighbour you’re likely to find parking a nightmare; just combing the back streets for a space leaves you in need a drink. Once there, you’ll struggle to find a USP: rather cheap-looking seating? Check. EPL football on TV? Check. Extortionate bar-food menu? Triple check. And while the wait-staff are nothing if not accommodating, their continual habit of interrupting conversation with refill offers borders on maddening. With its Belgian/speciality brain-numbers and fruity fancies, the diverse Euro-style drinks list at least provides a laudable alternative to the yawn-inducing Heineken and Tiger staples. But a $15 bottle of Maredsous Blond seems scant reward for trekking out to this cramped tavern. Bar-hungry Bukit Timah-ites will likely be left once again with a bitter aftertaste (as I was after trying the Pilsner): BBT is too small to feel significant, too close to the main road to feel much more than a glorified alfresco bar. This afterthought of a micro-microbrewery only ‘Werkz’ if you’re (very) local and less than discerning.