Set in Singapore’s Chinatown on the third floor of what was a rundown shophouse, Sago House was launched by bartending veterans Jay Gray, Desiree Jane and Abhishek C George in 2019. They opened the bar with a clear ethos: to give their guests a high level of personal service with outstanding drinks in an ultra-relaxed yet high-end setting.
It’s the unique service structure, all centred on making the guest feel at home, that has seen Sago House voted by the Asia’s 50 Best Bars Academy as the winner of the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award 2023. For this award, each member of the 280-strong voting panel is asked to give the name of the one bar where they have received the single-best hospitality experience within the judging window.
Jane runs the front-of-house service at Sago House and is credited by her fellow co-founders as being a true ‘super host’. When each guest arrives, the entire staff greets them with a resounding ‘hello’. They’re then shown to a table with their name chalked on it, with all further interactions from that point focused on ‘constant contact’ between guest and team. Each Sago House staffer on shift is instructed to visit every table at least once in the course of the night’s service.
On opening, the co-owners vowed to launch the bar with zero debt. They did not take any investment or give away any equity in their business. They upcycled materials from thrift stores across Singapore and took the bulk of building materials from a discarded music concert stage at a nearby venue. It took time, but the finished product looks and feels as luxurious as any bar in the 50 Best list.
The drinks list features just six cocktails, where the full set is rotated each week – another reason to inspire a return visit. Thanks to its unique service, authentic attitude and welcoming nature towards guests, Sago House is a worthy winner of the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award 2023.
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