You can’t go wrong with fish and chips.
Dive bars used to get a lot of stick back in the days for being shoddy; even the name supposedly comes from people diving under tables whenever a bar fight broke out!
Sam’s Cottage’s Fish & Chips
But nowadays, it’s a label for a place of quaintness and good ol’ get-together. It started with a simple wish from Mr Samuel Sam over 10 years ago: to have a place where people in the neighbourhood can get together. With blocks of condominium apartments all over the Dairy Farm Estate where his dive bar is situated, he feels that neighbours don’t interact with one another as often as they used to back in the ‘kampung’ days. Home to many is just a hiding place to rest before the next day comes. He also finds it a safer alternative to heading out for drinks and possibly driving to bars elsewhere; several years before the Upper Bukit Timah area is connected by train with the new Downtown Line, which only started operation in late 2015.
It was a weekday when I first visited and even then there were quite a few residents just enjoying a pint or having some of Sam’s signature menu item: Classic English Fish & Chips.
Like at any respectable Fish & Chips place, you get the food piping hot and wrapped up in white paper. The fish has nice golden-brown batter and fluffy white meat, and the chips are well, chips! These are best accompanied with generous sprinkles of salt and malt vinegar. Now, although you can’t beat serving traditional cod fish, his take on the dish is decently done.
Other than Fish & Chips, Sam’s also takes pride in having free Heineken beer on tap, which turnovers relatively quickly. Supposedly, no keg is left unfinished after 2-3 days, tops! Here’s Sam himself taking pride in serving only the freshest food and drinks to his loyal following of customers:
The place itself is a perfect example of what this website seeks out: a quaint place that’s serves really good food, has a good ambiance, and serves a really niche group of customers but definitely deserve a lot of attention. With seating for just over a dozen inside and a handful of tables in the alfresco, it can get quite bustling on weekends. The bar is also run in a very relaxed and open style. Sam shows a great affection to everyone, and remembers almost all their names! If you’re lucky enough, you can challenge Sam to a game of darts or fuzzball. But don’t ever think that he’ll make it easy for you!
Sam’s carefree attitude to running the place is even more reflected, the bar’s opening hours are “when he comes” and closes “when he leaves” (translated: about 8pm to 12am, with some variance). But don’t even fret; Sam is honest and reliable to a tee and will always be ready to let you have a place to unwind, mingle and have great food!
This place doesnt just feel hole-in-the-wall, it represents it!
Be prepared to shell out a little bit more for fresh food and beer, although it is not very big of a pinch
Decent quality Fish & Chips and other finger food like chicken drumlets, with clean Heineken beer on tap
If you’re not put off by the distance because you live in the #eastsidebestside, or you live in the west, it’s worth visiting what could be one of Singapore’s best dive bars, tucked away in a little corner called Dairy Farm Estate!
Bonus: Check out their 90s spot commercial below!
17 Dairy Farm Rd
Dairy Farm Estate,
Opens daily from about 8pm to midnight, or as Sam puts it: “Sam’s Cottage is open when he comes and closes when he leaves”.
Phone: 6766 3907
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Sams-Cottage-169232239761773/