Black Tap

10 QUESTIONS WITH BLACK TAP CRAFT BURGERS & BEER

Loaded CrazyShakes, stacked burgers pressed on a cast iron flat-top griddle, handcrafted cocktails and ice-cold beers on tap: these are some star dishes (and drinks) that have lent Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer its claims to fame, and you can expect no less at the New York-hailing restaurant's first branch in Marina Bay Sands. 

Helmed by restauranteur and nightlife veteran Chris Barish, the luncheonette embodies the all-American diner recalling the ’50s to ’80s – but with jazzy twists. 

We sat down with the Black Tap team to learn the tricks and tips behind the burger restaurant – including the secret to attaining a burger’s perfect crust – and plans for fusing local tastes into the restaurant’s dishes and shakes that have won fans the world over, from Europe to the Middle East.

Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer embodies the all-American diner recalling the ’50s to ’80s – but with jazzy twists.

Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer embodies the all-American diner recalling the ’50s to ’80s – but with jazzy twists.

How does it feel to have made your Asian debut in Singapore – and, specifically, at Marina Bay Sands?
It’s really exciting for us. The crowd, culture and vibes in Singapore are a great first start for us in Asia. We have a fantastic partnership with Sands, and opened our Las Vegas restaurant with them last September. They are a great partner, and when we decided to come to Asia, Marina Bay Sands and Singapore were the perfect fit. I think a lot of people are going to love our burgers, milkshakes and especially the vibes of our restaurant.

Tell us more about the inspiration behind these phenomenal milkshakes and burgers.
Black Tap is the modern version of a New York City luncheonette [or] burger joint. Back in the day, New York had a bunch of greasy burger joints that everyone loved from the ’50s [to the] ’80s, and these kind of disappeared in the past 20 years. We felt that the sit-down, casual burger sector was abandoned, so we recreated it. We modernised it and took the New York City-style burger, gave it an edge and some funk, and revived it. We keep it simple with high quality ingredients. Burgers are all about nostalgia, so when you come to Black Tap and enjoy a classic burger and shake, you’re taken back to your childhood. Our guests love that.

Expect no less than these over-the-top CrazyShakes (from $19++), stacked and studded with everything from M&Ms to candy floss

Expect no less than these over-the-top CrazyShakes (from $19++), stacked and studded with everything from M&Ms to candy floss

Why the name ‘Black Tap’?
The original plan was for Black Tap to be a burger joint that serves awesome burgers and craft beer. If you went to craft beer holes in the outskirts of North New York, like Brooklyn, they’d have these obscure tap systems with little black handles on them, like a ‘black tap’, and they’d have all their award-winning beers written on a chalkboard. It was a way of denoting high-end craft beers. We loved the name and when we decided to go with it, people came to know Black Tap for its awesome burgers and beers. The milkshakes came six months later. But our DNA is the three pillars – burgers, shakes and really awesome craft beer, and that’s why we’re called Black Tap.

Your CrazyShakes are truly over-the-top. How do you eat one?
Everyone has a different strategy – some dive right in and go at all angles, some take all the toppings off first, some drink the shake first as fast as they can. We’ve seen it all, but most importantly, people love it and have a ton of fun while enjoying a CrazyShake.

Black Tap Las Vegas has the first-ever CrazyShake Bar – will we see one in Singapore?
Yes! The Shake Bar is now a signature fixture in Black Tap. We created it to give our guests an up-close look at how our shakes come to life. People have an awesome time talking with the shake makers and seeing them in action. It’s really cool to see everyone’s faces light up when they’re handed a shake.

And what’s the best-selling CrazyShake at Black Tap? 
The crowd favorite is Cookies ‘n Cream Supreme! Everyone loves Oreos and they make for a delicious milkshake!

Texan Burger

Feast on this! The Texan Burger ($25++) is a Black Tap favourite loaded with bacon, onion rings, cheddar cheese and BBQ sauce.

Tell us more about the burgers at Black Tap. What should first-timers order?
We always recommend the All-American Burger ($22++) for first-time visitors. It’s the classic luncheonette cheeseburger that inspired Black Tap, and will make you want to come back for more. Another customer favourite is the Texan Burger ($25++) [that’s loaded with] bacon, onion rings, cheddar cheese and BBQ sauce. Don’t forget your napkin!

You get this a lot – but what makes a good burger?
The key to a good burger is quality meat. We use a custom burger blend that you can recreate at home by visiting your local butcher. You want a blend of chuck and brisket that’s 80% lean. We cook our burgers to a chef’s medium-rare. And, for that perfect crust, the best way to cook a burger’s on a cast iron flat-top griddle.

Vegetarians don't lose out: Black Tap also offers creative vegetarian options like this house-made Falafel Burger Salad ($21++)

Vegetarians don't lose out: Black Tap also offers creative vegetarian options like this house-made Falafel Burger Salad ($21++)

Burgers and shakes aside, are there any other dishes you love? 

We just added the Baja Grilled Chicken Sandwich ($23++) – that’s grilled chicken topped with pepper jack cheese, bacon, avocado, salsa verde and chipotle mayo – and it’s absolutely delicious. And our award-winning Korean BBQ wings ($13++ for ten pcs) come with signature house dill sauce (it’s better than blue cheese – we promise!). For vegetarians and vegans, we’ve also got our falafel and vegan burgers, plus burger salads for the no-buns club.

Concept-wise, will Black Tap Singapore be any different than in the US? 
I’ll start with the flavor profiles first. As a chef, I love to play and cook with Asian flavors. So you’ll find a lot of those nuances on our menu – from our Korean BBQ wings to the use of Gochujang [Korean chilli] sauce in our special sauce. [Our] milkshakes carry a lot of American nostalgia. What we plan on doing is to create some unique shakes geared towards Asian tastes [by incorporating] the flavors of ube, pandan or palm sugar. And maybe red beans, green tea or coconut. Vibe-wise, New York is the birthplace of street art and hip-hop. That’s where Black Tap’s vibes come from, and there’s such a strong street art culture within Singapore and especially Asia. We hope to reach out to some local street art artists to put their art up on the walls and bring a local vibe into the restaurant.

Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer is at L1-80, Bay Level. Daily 11am-11.30pm. More details here.

Black Tap at Marina Bay Sands Singapore
Black Tap at Marina Bay Sands
Black Tap at Marina Bay Sands
Black Tap at Marina Bay Sands
Black Tap at marina Bay Sands
Black Tap at Marina Bay Sands