Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2020 Art of Hospitality Award: David Nguyen-Luu of Manhatan Bar Singapore

Manhattan | Michter's Art of Hospitality Award | Asia's 50 Best Bars 2020 | Food For Thought

Michter’s Art Of Hospitality Award 2020: Manhattan Bar, Regent Singapore

Manhattan Bar at the Regent Singapore needs no further introduction, with its time and time again ranking as at the World’s 50 Best Bars and Asia’s 50 Best Bars. Winning the Legends Of The List award in 2019, and also number 1 bar in 2018, Manhattan has gone on to win the Art of Hospitality Awards this year, which comes as no surprise. We sit down with Bar Manager David Nguyen-Luu to learn about more about their approach to hospitality.

Congratulations on Manhattan winning the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award, in terms of hospitality, can you tell us what does Manhattan differently compared to other bars?

Every bar around the world offers different hospitality based on what type of venue they have and their location, and of course the country’s culture. For Manhattan, we ensure our training is kept up daily, weekly and monthly to meet the luxury standards that we have placed on ourselves – to ensure we push each other and deliver our own expectations. It’s the team’s dedication to training which really ensures our hospitality level is where we want it to be, and we continue to learn from each other every day to ensure we are improving every day.

Manhattan Interiors | Manhattan | Michter's Art of Hospitality Award | Asia's 50 Best Bars 2020 | Food For Thought

Tell us about your favourite patron you’ve had to serve?

No favourites to be honest. It might spark a bigger conversation with some regulars. haha.. We are there to look after everyone that walks in equally. It’s cliché but it’s true. There are very charismatic guests and all are different in their own way which we all love to interact with and feed off their energy when they come into see us. 

Can you tell us about the most interesting guest you had to serve? What’s the story?

As with all bars and restaurants, we get all walks of life into Manhattan. Every guest that walks through the front entrance is from all around the world so it is too hard to distinguish the most interesting guest to look after. It’s in our commitment to hospitality that learn about our guests and develop that connection.

Rickhouse | Manhattan | Michter's Art of Hospitality Award | Asia's 50 Best Bars 2020 | Food For Thought

Can you tell us about your rickhouse? What makes your aged barrel cocktails unique?

Our Rickhouse is the only in-hotel rickhouse in the world. With hotel temperature controlled, this ensures the cocktails are aged equally and consistently. Our team spend a lot of time and dedication to ensure each cocktail is well thought out into the 13 litre barrels which are custom made for Manhattan. The team check the cocktails over time and ensure the cocktail is where we want it to be, no different to aging spirits and checking the batch over different periods of time.

Something interesting about the Manhattan bar that not many people would know?

As mentioned above, the team are constantly learning and training, we can do training sessions almost every day even if its 15 to 20 minutes per day. Manhattan would not be at the level we are without the dedication from the team.

Manhattan Cocktail | Manhattan | Michter's Art of Hospitality Award | Asia's 50 Best Bars 2020 | Food For Thought

Care to share a personal cocktail recipe that you don’t serve at the Manhattan? Why this cocktail and what does it mean to you?

I actually really enjoy Genever, and this is a great twist to an Old Fashioned if you’re not into whiskey but looking for something similar and delicious (although I love my rye whiskey anyways!) 

Old Fashion Twist

  • 30ml Old Duff Genever
  • 30ml Cognac
  • 5ml Sugar
  • 2 dashes Angostura

Stir well, serve over big ice with orange twist.

Bottled Manhattan | Manhattan | Michter's Art of Hospitality Award | Asia's 50 Best Bars 2020 | Food For Thought

How is Manhattan adapting during this Circuit Breaker (CB)?

The team are doing well. We are continuing our weekly trainings via zoom. We treat the CB as a positive as it is allowing us some more time to refine future projects such as our highly anticipated new cocktail menu so that when the CB is finally over, we are able to launch new projects and deliver them seamlessly. Personally, I have been able to have a little more “ME” time to reflect and really be able to set goals for myself and the team – to take a little step back to absorb everything so as much as it is not the best time for the industry, it is extremely opportunistic time to plan and prepare for the future.

No Vacancy | Manhattan | Michter's Art of Hospitality Award | Asia's 50 Best Bars 2020 | Food For Thought

Tell us a bit about your Circuit Breaker menu? What sets it apart from other bottled delivery cocktails?

Our bottled cocktail offering stays true to Manhattan – classics with a twist – spirit forward, well balanced and designed to stay on the shelve for a while.

Can you recommend three must try drinks to order off your Circuit Breaker menu?

Flor de Cana 12 Year, Amontillado sherry, Spiced Syrup and New Orlean Bitters
A new cocktail as part of SGCF at home from 11th May.

Chocolate Negroni
Widges Dry Gin, Mozart chocolate, Campari, Mancino Rosso Vermouth

The Manhattan
Michter’s Rye Whiskey, Mancino Rosso, House Cherry Brandy, Angostura Bitters

Manhattan Bar Singapore is No. 8 on Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2020.
For our thoughts on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2020, see Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2020.
For all 50 Best related content, see 50 Best.


Nicholas Ng

Nicholas Ng is a restaurant critic and drinks writer and is the editor of independent publication Food For Thought. He has been a freelance journalist for the 15 years and has previously worked as a lawyer and in digital marketing. He currently is the Principal Consultant of A Thought Full Consultancy, a food and beverage marketing consultancy.

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