In the past few years, the Singapore nightlife scene has veritably exploded!
Some years ago, it seemed that the only nightlife choices in Singapore were either Clarke Quay, Zouk or a range of dodgy bars with ladies of slightly less than moral intentions towards the bar’s patrons. Oh my have things changed. In the past 5 years, Singapore has seen the competition and opening of Marina Bay Sands, Resorts World Sentosa, and an unanticipated opening frenzy of cool, hipster cocktail bars.
Nowadays there is really something for everyone and for those of you night-owls, here’s a rough guide on where to start. From the glamorous….to the not-so-glamorous options we break it down for you here:
1. Bar-hopping around Chinatown:
To say that Singapore has a healthy bar scene is a gross understatement. Since the start of the second decade of this century, Singapore’s bar scene has become irrefutably world class. World class bartenders, world class spirits…and of course, world class bars. Bars like 28 Hong Kong Street and Jigger & Pony frequently garner international media coverage and for good reason.
However it’s the ‘other side’ of Chinatown that is home to the greatest number of high quality bars, mainly being located around the Keong Saik Road, Duxton Hill and Ann Siang areas. In this area of about a 1km radius, you’ll find an absolute plethora of bars to check out. On Keong Saik Road, a visit to The Library, The Cufflink Club and Vida Vino (for the wine lovers) are a must. Around Duxton, there’s such a great range of bars but any visit should definitely include Lucha Loco, Tippling Club and Squires & Scoundrels. If you still have some the will (and the ability to walk soberly), head over to the pedestrianised (weekends-only) Ann Siang Hill and check out some of the great new bars like Operation Dagger, Nutmeg and Clove or the older Gem Bar & Lounge (for a more raucous night out!).
2. I’m on top of the world!:
If you have the moolah to spend and want to feel ‘on top of the world’, there is no shortage of beautifully designed bars and clubs that just so happen to be either very high, on rooftops, or both! Just be warned, drinks at these places are not cheap.
The majority of these hangouts are located around Marina Bay, offering absolutely stunning views of our fine city. However there are definitely a few that we would recommend more than others, offering a good variety of music, decent drinks and a sexy crowd. These places operate as a chilled out bar earlier on the evening and generally turn into a fully fledged club after midnight. At Marina Bay Sands, CÉ LA VI is an absolute landmark on the tourist trail, but it is stunning. For a slightly classier night out, head over to Lantern at the Fullerton Bay Hotel. The al fresco bar is wonderfully spacious and there’s plenty of room to walk about as you check out the impressive visage before you. For an old favourite, New Asia Bar at the Stamford Swissotel is absolutely buzzing and plays host to some stellar DJs throughout the month. Parties go on til late at the 70th floor!
3. Old School at Clarke Quay:
When in doubt, there is always the institution that is Clarke Quay. This massive outdoor entertainment hub is bustling most nights, especially Wednesdays (ladies nights), Fridays and Saturdays. The crowd varies from the late teens to early thirties, as does the arrangement of music. With the exception of Cuba Libre, the majority of clubs here will play mainstream top 40s hits. There are however some pretty decent live music venues such as Pump Room, China One and Crazy Elephant… and if all else fails, there’s always Le Noir or Attica (best to go after midnight, and already very drunk).
4. Hippies, Jazz and some shisha smoking at Arab Street
For something a bit more alternative, and dare I say it…hipster, the Arab Street area offers a great, and very casual choice for a night out. Arab Street and its surrounding Haji and Bali Lane are synonymous with shisha smoking so that’s pretty much a must. I would however recommend Going Om. It’s a hippy paradise and your spirit might just float off to another dimension.
On the music front, Arab Street has some great options. Piedra Negra and Blu Jaz offer super casual and fun nights out with great local DJs and live musicians. However for something a little more upmarket, head over to SingJazz at the Sultan Hotel for your dose of smooth jazz.
5. Down and Dirty
Ok, let’s be straight up about this. These places are not somewhere you take a date. Heck, if you’re married, please ignore this section for the love of God! These are the places that are more appropriate for a stag party or for a guys night out. Yes, we’re talking Orchard Towers, Cuppage Plaza and an array of other venues that are anything but PG, or where PG-13 does not apply. Ok, with that disclaimer, a night out ‘Down and Dirty’ can be pretty fun, the live bands at these venues are some of the best you’ll find in Singapore and generally speaking, it’s very safe for your lady friends to come along to. Just don’t bring a date out with you. Bad idea.
As you can see, a night out in Singapore can go any-which-way. You could have a classy night of jazz and craft cocktails, be a high roller at a rooftop lounge or end up in a night of debauchery akin to the film ‘The Hangover’. Either way, you’re in for a phenomenal night to remember (or not).