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.
Altivo 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
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).
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.