Tradition. Respect. Community. Flavour.
Collectively these ideals are at the heart of Native. It seems no stone was left unturned in Vijay Mudaliar’s mind when it came to developing his bar. Working in some of the world’s most renowned bars for nearly a decade, he wanted to move into his own venture. It wasn’t easy. He and a small group of friends lost funding numerous times, but eventually, Native bar went from dream to reality.
Its roots stem from the idea that a small bar can work together with other small businesses to create a community, that together is stronger than its individual parts. How does Native do this? A whole myriad of both traditional and innovative ways.
Firstly, they only stock Asian spirits, companies they believe in, and are aligned with, from a production and sustainability point of view. From rum to arak to whiskey, there is a mixed array of exciting spirits on the shelves that run along the 180-year-old brick walls. They use local breweries who are happy to have clean bottles returned and refilled; they stay away from using plastic containers, bottles, or sous vide bags.
That ethos carries beyond the backbar. Native keep production as local as they can to Singapore, and maintain a high level of sustainable bartending or ‘mindful bartending’.
When a bartender passes your negroni across the bar, how often is there a tissue napkin underneath? Sodden with condensation, it ends up in the bar trash. At Native, they cut coasters from lotus leaves. Reusable up to 20 times, they are dried and used again,. Once the lotus leaves are worn – they go in the bar’s compost.
There are two stages of composting in Native. First, they start with a primary compost, Bokashi composting – adding enzymes to the waste material. The resulting leachate after a couple of weeks is diluted and used in the mop bucket to clean the bar floors at the end of the shift. In turn that goes into the secondary compost bin, or to clean the toilets. After several months the compost is then ready to go into the bar’s small garden where they now grow some produce for the bar. It’s the perfect example of the circular economy in motion.
This attention to detail and commitment to the environment and each other means the experience of drinking at Native will stay with you, long after the taste of Vijay’s incredible cocktails fade.