BIG CHANGES IN GEMMILL LANE

Club Street Social

Owner Min Chan will reopen Club Street Social as a restaurant-bar next month, and new general manager Tomas Gejdos will introduce new drinks including barrel-aged cocktails.
Owner Min Chan will reopen Club Street Social as a restaurant-bar next month, and new general manager Tomas Gejdos will introduce new drinks including barrel-aged cocktails.PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

WHERE: 5 Gemmill Lane, tel: 6225-5043, open: 11am to 10.30pm (weekday), 9am to 10.30pm (Saturday), 9am to 6pm (Sunday)

REOPENING: End of next month

This laid-back cafe-bar, which has become a hang-out for people who live and work in the area, is undergoing a revamp. It is set to close for renovations on Aug 2 and reopen the last week of that month.

Owner Min Chan, 32, says rising rents have made it difficult for the place to remain as it is.

She says: "Do I just close? I knew that with the current business model, we couldn't sustain ourselves. We needed a new direction."

So she will take Club Street Social a step up, turning her cafe-bar into a restaurant-bar.

It now serves salads and sandwiches in addition to drinks and the average bill a person is $25 to $30. After the revamp, the food and drink offerings will be more sophisticated and the average check will be about $70 with drinks.

The cafe-bar, which now has 33 seats, will have more than 40 seats indoors, and part of the bar, which is the heart of the place, will remain.

She is hiring a chef to produce a menu of rustic sharing plates inspired by Spanish, Italian and French cuisines.

"Everybody loves coming, but nobody eats here and I'm a bit tired of it," she says. "I feel I need a bit of legitimacy."

Slovakian sommelier Tomas Gejdos, 31, will be the general manager when the place reopens. He was head sommelier and bartender at Burnt Ends for two years, and had worked at Restaurant Andre as a sommelier and waiter for 18 months. Before coming to Singapore, he worked in Britain for five years, including at The Fat Duck in Bray.

He has big plans for the drink offerings at Club Street Social, including 20 barrel-aged cocktails featuring classics such as The Last Word, Negroni and the Vesper Martini, but with twists to them. Cocktails will cost about $20 each.

There are also plans to bring in wines from what he calls the "new New World", which includes Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland and Bulgaria.

Ms Chan says of the revamp: "The decor will change, sexier is the best way to describe it. But we will try to maintain the super casual vibe. We also want to be different enough that people will notice it."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 24, 2015, with the headline '(No headline) - HYGEM24E'. Print Edition | Subscribe