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Last updated : Nov 2009
Singapore Nightlife
Singapore Nightlife -
Late-night drinking and dancing is not quite as diverse as in many big cities around the world – the range is more upmarket, trendy bars and clubs or karaoke lounges. There is not really an alternative music scene but a variety of clubs and hotel bars are popular, particularly at weekends. The major hotel bars along Orchard Road are a good choice for a refined drink or even to meet customers. Local people who can’t afford the high prices of these places are quite content to drink beer in some of the all-night hawker centres or food streets.

Some parts of Singapore are famous among affluent foreign labourers and travellers. Boat Quay is packed with tourists; a line of shop-houses changed to lively bars and restaurants overlooking the river and passers-by are enticed in with happy-hour drinks. Among the most famous places is Harry’s Bar, a regular haunt of Baring’s Bank fraudster Nick Leeson (and other wealthy ex-pats) with live jazz and jam sessions most evenings.

The bars on th East Coast are also famous as something of an ex-pat enclave, while a more ‘creative’ clientele frequents Tanjong Pagar and Club Street, where there are many of Singapore’s advertising and PR agencies. There is also a clubbing scene on Mohammed Sultan Road for trendy locals and Chijmes has lots of eating and drinking places.

The bars and clubs on and around Orchard Road are famous places for both the natives and foreign travellers, while Emerald Hill, lined with Singapore’s most excellently converted shop-houses, has a superb choice of bustling pubs, relaxing wine bars and beer pubs. Further to the west, Holland Village is constantly busy, with younger Singaporeans filling its wine bars and retro coffee lounges.

Most clubs are open from 10.00 pm to 1.00 am Sunday to Thursday, and 10.00 pm to 3.00 pm Friday to Saturday. Dress code is usually smart-casual and 18 years is the minimum age limit for consuming alcohol, even though some clubs won’t let in anyone under 23 years of age. There is a normal cover charge, particularly at weekends, generally about $25 for the more stylish places.


Singapore has many bars to satisfy every taste, ranging from the elegant colonial grandeur of Raffles Hotel’s Bar & Billiard and the Long Bar, to the live music at Muddy Murphy’s Irish Pub, across from Orchard Towers, Orchard Hotel Shopping Arcade, 442 Orchard Road.

The 19th-century Peranakan shop-houses, situated on Emerald Hill, contain a wide selection of bars. Some of these are No. 5, 5 Emerald Hill; Ice Cold Beer, 9 Emerald Hill; and Que Pasa, 7 Emerald Hill, which is the city’s oldest wine bar. The Alley Bar, 2 Emerald Hill, is a trendy new addition, and as its name implies, is converted from the narrow space between shop-houses. Opium, Empress Place Waterfront, close to the Fullerton Hotel and next to Indochine, is a modern new waterfront bar, with tables and large sofas for alfresco drinking.

Bar, 109 Mount Faber Road, is situated on top of Mount Faber, great on a hot evening with a relax area and bar catering to a fairly hip clientele. Duxton Road is a place with plenty of small bars, many with karaoke lounges, such as JJ Mahoney, 58 Duxton Road, with 3 floors featuring on first a DJ, on 2nd games and English karaoke on the 3rd floor.


All gambling activities including casinos are unlawful in Singapore. The only lawful options are a variety of lotteries and on-course betting on horseraces at Singapore Turf Club (see Sport).


Still very popular is Zouk on Jiak Kim Street, among the most popular clubs in town, and good enough to attract well-known foreign DJs (Fat Boy Slim performed there in 2002). It also houses other clubs within its walls: Velvet Underground, which caters to a more mature crowd and offers a more relaxed brand of cool; Phuture and the Wine Bar.

The popular place at the moment is The Gallery Hotel on Orchard Road. It houses many bars, as well as The Liquid Room, a dimly lit, retro-style bar, with a big alfresco area and huge dance floor. Centro 360, at One Fullerton, is a super-cool huge venue, and features gay nights on Sunday. Bar None, in the basement of the Singapore Marriott Hotel, boasts a small dance floor, often with live music and is crowded at weekends. Indigo, 25 Mohammed Sultan Road, is a new stylish dance club, playing New York house, with plush lounges, private booths and a big dance floor, and also an outdoor terrace. On the same street, Madamme Wongs also attracts a young hip crowd, and Next Page, a long-standing ex-pat favourite, especially among journos.


Like the rest of Asia, karaoke is an extremely popular form of evening entertainment. Sparks, 7th Floor, Tower B, Ngee Ann City, is South-East Asia’s largest nightclub with 18 karaoke rooms. At the Lava Lounge, Grange Road, you can sing along against the backdrop of its 70s style disco lounge and retro music. There are many other karaoke bars off Smith Street in Chinatown and along Duxton Road, like Fine Night (number 59) and Boomerang KTV Lounge (number 45).

Live music

The notorious Harry’s Bar, Boat Quay, stages a live jazz band and jam session Tuesday to Sunday nights and pot luck on Mondays, while at Crazy Elephant, further down on Clarke Quay, R&B bands alternate with classic rock and alternative music daily. Overseas jazz musicians perform at Somerset’s Bar at the Westin Stamford Hotel. The Hard Rock Café, Cuscadem Road, has the Malay reggae band Bushmen, on Sunday nights.