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Bars and clubs in Singapore


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#1 Black Bettie

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Posted 04 August 2005 - 08:48 AM



I haven't been through Singapore for over a year so I'm out of touch with the bar and club scene there. Any recommendations for a cocktail savvy fashion junkie who hates queues, guestlists and powermad bouncers?

What are your thoughts on the following:

Wala Wala (Holland Village)
Harry's Bar (Boat Quay)
Balaclava (Suntec City)
any places in Emerald Hill
KM8 beach club (Sentosa)
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#2 fortuity

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 04:32 PM



wala wala's laid back place u can go in your tee and even berms. great for live bands. i personally like going down on thurs and sat nights for 'the unxpected' for some good ol' rock. check out their webbie unxpected.shareub.com

balaclava has live bands too. but it's mostly the after work crowd from the business district purely coz of its location. expect to see suits behaving badly after work.

harry's bar plays jazz. but it's really an expat place. and because it is situated in boat quay right next to raffles place, the heart of the business distract.. expect to see expat suits behaving badly after work.

emerald hill has quite a few joints for you to choose from even tho they belong to the same organisation. there's a club, rouge. music is very so-so. business does not seem to be very good. there's alley bar right beside rouge. very chill out. then if you make your way behind, there'd be a row of shophouses that house pubs. one of them (can't remember which, but you won't miss it) is a mainly expat hangout. the rest are filled with locals. the pubs are very laid back - good for a beer, chicken wings (very yummy!) and pool.

km8 is a recent addition to the scene. i havent been there coz sentosa's a lil out of the way. but it's said to be filled with beautiful people and bodies. (stinky feeling that it screams poseur)

why haven't u mentioned zouk? touted to the the clubbing mecca of asia. a must-go if you're a looking to club.

there are a lot more places. we're a small country but we're full of watering holes. so if you need more info, ask away. :)
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#3 Dave Russ

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 08:10 AM



Black Bettie - one of my good friends from NYC recently moved to Singapore and seems to have a good handle on the quality establishments. Not sure where you're from or what you're looking for but from the stories he relays to me there are some good times to be had. Hit me on email to discuss further. Meanwhile, I'll get a list of the top spots with some names to drop. If you seem like a person I can vouch for I'll obviously put you in touch with him. His Singapore connects are impressive given the fact he's lived there less than a year.

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#4 Black Bettie

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 09:04 AM



Thanks for your tips - great to hear there's a busier live music scene in Singapore now, especially on weeknights - always my preferred going out window.

Yeah, KM8 sounds a little far flung - I am a bit lazy, even with Singapore's taxis some of the cheapest in the world. And - I hate poseurs.

Zouk, I know, I know, but it's been going for years and I hoped for some new names. Also, I'm getting older!
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#5 Black Bettie

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 09:17 AM



Dave Russ - I guess I wasn't specific enough with musical genres etc. It would be cool to cover a range of interesting places, but I am predisposed to chilled out dj bars or live music where I can hear my companions speak - whether it's jazz, hip-hop, eletronica, latin, reggae, indie... But I am still interested if there are now any new club contenders for Zouk.

Singapore is a really multicultural city and I've lived as an expat myself (now Sydney based) so I don't have a preference for truly local drinking spots or expat haunts. I thinking mixing it up is usually more interesting.

Thanks.
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#6 kiteless

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Posted 20 August 2005 - 06:21 PM




although i love singapore as a great city and community, perhaps the only truly multiethnic society in that region (or even in the world) and a fantastic cultural hub, there's one thing that annoys me immensely - is that there's no true culture (fine or pop) except bland fashion and the mainstream.

although i enjoy the hypereconomy like everyone else with a credit card, there are no local art or music scenes like you'd have in cities even half the size of S'pore. A friend of mine and a fellow former Londoner, said "we [Singapore] will never have our own culture - There'll be no White Cube, no Barbican, no Zadie Smith, no Peter Saville nor electroclash...". "Fucking great", I thought. I'll bloody move here. Few seconds later, the downsides dawned on me like a balsamic vinegar on savory icecream at the Mezza9 restaurant...

It's a society busy obsessing with consuming brands - that nothing is really ever created here but produced (with a nanosecond shelf life). There's no innovation. No culture or counter-culture. In fact, there aren't even local brands or trends to talk of. Despite all things mentioned afore, it's one of the poorest and saddest places on earth: completely bland, glossy, low-brow, lacking of substance despite its financial momentum. a spoiled brat amongst world capitals - a Paris Hilton of cities, if you like...
Edited by kiteless on Aug 20, 2005 at 11:22 AM
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#7 Obsession

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Posted 20 August 2005 - 09:43 PM



u can't be wrong, kiteless. i totally agree with you too.

i am a singaporean myself and i hate it. what culture? we have none here.
and what arts?

well the furthest i can think of is:
photographer - leslie kee, (john) clang, kirby koh
designers - phunk studio, ffurious, melvyn from 2manydesigners, theseus chan from works.
fashion - woods & woods, vera wang, song + kelly, ashley islam
boutiques - club21(alexander mcqueen, john galliano, under cover, n(n), comme des garcons, comme des garcons shirt, yohji yamamoto, helmut lang, rick owens and more) blackjack (maharishi, cabane de zucca, buddhist punk, y-3 and more), venue (stocking puma), red wolves (evisu, red monkey), white room (under cover, john galliano, marc jacobs, apc), comme des garcons guerilla store (comme des garcon, comme des garcon shirt, trico comme des garcons, werks), asylum (some under cover, rare books or mags like tokion, vice mag, modino and moreeeee, and rare cds, rare sneakers.), agnes b (art gallery with paintings and photographs + boutique), issey miyake, surrender, ambush (fl, gdehuk, pam, ssur, kaws, tonite, kostas s.), belief (bounty hunter, ngbh, uc, bape), miklio (bathing ape, bape, uc, nexus)
music - rudra, boredphunks, force vomit, observatory, electrico, sun yanzi, a-do, yida, jj, poptarts, guerilla)

well if there's something to see, there are only the new age punks and skinheads who has the sub-cultures in SG, others are okay, wtf?
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#8 Black Bettie

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 09:49 AM



Hi Kiteless and Obsession

Kiteless, I hear what you're saying. Singaporeans are particularly voracious media consumers and unfortunately, with the US and European media imperialist prerogatives, the self-identity ramifications of a 15-year-old Chinese, Malay or Indian Singaporean girl faced with a constant barrage of Guess ads or pap shots of Paris Hilton can be worringly warped to say the least. The navigation of a 'true' culture is always fraught too with complexities in post-colonial societies, particularly if there was a focus on economic growth and stability when independence was first reached, as opposed to the arts. But these things take time and there is a lot of talent in Singapore.

I would particularly like to add film maker Royston Tan to Obsession's list of interest. His searing '15' is nothing short of a revolution in Singapore cinema. Gregg Araki would be proud of the nods to his oeuvre too!

Obsession, to add to my Singapore travel notes, can you tell me which of the fashion labels you mention would be good for fashion forward women 20-30? Also what do you think of these stores/labels? Worth checking out?

Felt
Baylene
Hansel
Tsyke
Sunny Ang
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#9 Guest__*

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 09:18 AM



Hey there people,

I'm Singaporean and this is going to be interesting.

First off, Dear Kiteless,
2 words - Open your eyes. Your notion of "low-brow, bland and lacking of substance" is perhaps the worst stereotype that this city suffers ever so often. While I do not proclaim Singapore to be an indie music and fashion poseur, it does have its charm. The trick is finding the nuggets of brilliance.

Have you tried the little alleys of Geylang - with red light alleys that will put Amsterdam to shame? Or the food at Whampoa market - where the variety and selection will overwhelm even the staunchest food critic?

What about fashion and "art" you ask? Alrighty Let's pose. Pay attention Obsession.

"What culture? We have none here."
Do you even fathom to comprehend the layers attached to the big word you use?
Culture. An easy excuse to add everything you deem cool.

So what's culture to you?
Boutiques like Club 21, blackjack, venue and asylum that carry way cool hip non-singaporean brands? or labels comme des garcons and issae miyake?

How utterly singaporean.

"It's a society busy obsessing with consuming brand"
The irony is that Kiteless' comment is very relevant in describing the exact mentality you condemn but seem to possess, Obsession.
While you name drop at every turn to total coolness, the fact is that you consume the very imperialistic "non-culture" that you seemingly vehemently despise. What is cool and "art" to you mate is unfortunately non-singaporean and merely labels, MNCs under the guise of “cool” and “indie”. But you proclaim (like those shameless boutiques) that you folks are at the forefront of fashion and god forbid, art.

And that is exactly the problem ain't it? It's poseurs like you that make me sick in the stomach. Stop expounding the virtues of some foreign label and look inside for once.

There are cool joints (as opposed to your impression, Kiteless)
There are folks doing their own thing and struggling at their craft because our very own Singaporean colonial imperialists insist that they are not "hip" or without "culture".

Like you mentioned Black Bettie, there are labels that are at the forefront. They may not necessarily be recognized as hip or cool but at least they do not sell out.
Sunny Ang, Hooked, Instant Karma, the folks at BluePrint all create their own shit. They are but the tip of the iceberg.

It's not about the lack of "culture" mind you; it's the pathetic mindsets of individuals that cause tragic stagnation in progress because of the worship to established "indie" (sure, one is indie with outlets around the world) labels.

So before you finger point and start chanting big words like "no culture", open your eyes and as cliché and trite as it may sound, open your mind. Even if its inwards.




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#10 cocaine

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 09:20 AM




Hey there people,

I'm Singaporean and this is going to be interesting.

First off, Dear Kiteless,
2 words - Open your eyes. Your notion of "low-brow, bland and lacking of substance" is perhaps the worst stereotype that this city suffers ever so often. While I do not proclaim Singapore to be an indie music and fashion poseur, it does have its charm. The trick is finding the nuggets of brilliance.

Have you tried the little alleys of Geylang - with red light alleys that will put Amsterdam to shame? Or the food at Whampoa market - where the variety and selection will overwhelm even the staunchest food critic?

What about fashion and "art" you ask? Alrighty Let's pose. Pay attention Obsession.

"What culture? We have none here."
Do you even fathom to comprehend the layers attached to the big word you use?
Culture. An easy excuse to add everything you deem cool.

So what's culture to you?
Boutiques like Club 21, blackjack, venue and asylum that carry way cool hip non-singaporean brands? or labels comme des garcons and issae miyake?

How utterly singaporean.

"It's a society busy obsessing with consuming brand"
The irony is that Kiteless' comment is very relevant in describing the exact mentality you condemn but seem to possess, Obsession.
While you name drop at every turn to total coolness, the fact is that you consume the very imperialistic "non-culture" that you seemingly vehemently despise. What is cool and "art" to you mate is unfortunately non-singaporean and merely labels, MNCs under the guise of “cool” and “indie”. But you proclaim (like those shameless boutiques) that you folks are at the forefront of fashion and god forbid, art.

And that is exactly the problem ain't it? It's poseurs like you that make me sick in the stomach. Stop expounding the virtues of some foreign label and look inside for once.

There are cool joints (as opposed to your impression, Kiteless)
There are folks doing their own thing and struggling at their craft because our very own Singaporean colonial imperialists insist that they are not "hip" or without "culture".

Like you mentioned Black Bettie, there are labels that are at the forefront. They may not necessarily be recognized as hip or cool but at least they do not sell out.
Sunny Ang, Hooked, Instant Karma, the folks at BluePrint all create their own shit. They are but the tip of the iceberg.

It's not about the lack of "culture" mind you; it's the pathetic mindsets of individuals that cause tragic stagnation in progress because of the worship to established "indie" (sure, one is indie with outlets around the world) labels.

So before you finger point and start chanting big words like "no culture", open your eyes and as cliché and trite as it may sound, open your mind. Even if its inwards.

Btw, if u guys ever drop by, we can discuss this in detail over a beer.
images/icon_smile_clown.gif
Edited by cocaine on Aug 29, 2005 at 02:23 AM
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#11 Guest__*

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 09:55 AM



I am Singaporean, and I run a website on Singaporean ART and DESIGN. www.post.fm
I would not say that there is no scene, perhaps just smaller and unfortunately really underground and understated.

Who cares about Peter Saville? There are enough good artists and designers in Singapore. Its just that people do not know about them. And the media does not showcase them.
So many to name drop.

Artists include Ling-nah Tang, Jason Ong, Theatreworks, Hong Sek-Chern, Old skool peeps like Chua Ek Kay, Goh Beng Kwan and so many others.
Other than Phunk Studio, you can check here for local designers. http://www.greendonkey.info
There are also tons of peeps do creative shit that arent big or famous yet like Vijay Singh, Anna Prvacki...
Local designer Grace Tan of Kwodrent http://www.kwodrent.com/.
SO MANY...

There is also an event called ROJAK. http://post.fm/rojak/
Where 10 designers/ artists talk about their works.
Happening 10th Sept at Siglap. Do come by if you have the chance.

I do feel there is a whole buzz going on now with tons of peeps doing their own shit. Albeit not totally publicized but i am sure that this is the beginning of a real interesting phrase for singaporean creatives in general. People are starting to create, produce and sell their own uniquely singaporean creations. Someone like Jason Ong with his deep design philosophy is just as good as anyone overseas. http://www.post.fm/f.../0805/jason.htm
Interesting retail concepts like Asylum and Surrender. Theatreworks is opening a space called 7213 at mohd sultan its seems to be positioned as a London ICA sort of thing.
Myself I have enough ideas too just a matter of resources to execute. The impt thing is to produce or recontext rather than purely consume a foreign entity.

Hence its def not tat Singapore is soulless just perhaps understated, which is not too good either. :) But things are def at a very interesting phase now.
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#12 chase

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 09:56 AM




I am Singaporean, and I run a website on Singaporean ART and DESIGN. www.post.fm
I would not say that there is no scene, perhaps just smaller and unfortunately underground and understated.

Who cares about Peter Saville? There are enough good artists and designers in Singapore. Its just that people do not know about them. And the media does not showcase them.
So many to name drop.

Artists include Ling-nah Tang, Jason Ong, Theatreworks, Hong Sek-Chern, Old skool peeps like Chua Ek Kay, Goh Beng Kwan and so many others.
Other than Phunk Studio, you can check here for local designers. http://www.greendonkey.info
There are also tons of peeps do creative shit that arent big or famous yet like Vijay Singh, Anna Prvacki...
Local fashion designer Grace Tan of Kwodrent http://www.kwodrent.com/ who makes clothes out of squares and collapsibles.
SO MANY...

There is also an event called ROJAK. http://post.fm/rojak/
Where 10 designers/ artists talk about their works.
Happening 10th Sept at Siglap. Do come by if you have the chance.

I do feel there is a whole buzz going on now with tons of peeps doing their own shit. Albeit not totally publicized but i am sure that this is the beginning of a real interesting phrase for singaporean creatives in general. People are starting to create, produce and sell their own uniquely singaporean creations. Someone like Jason Ong with his deep design philosophy is just as good as anyone overseas. http://www.post.fm/f.../0805/jason.htm
Interesting retail concepts like Asylum and Surrender. Theatreworks is opening a space called 7213 at mohd sultan its seems to be positioned as a London ICA sort of thing.
Myself I have enough ideas too just a matter of resources to execute. The impt thing is to produce or recontext rather than purely consume a foreign entity.

Hence its def not tat Singapore is soulless just perhaps understated, which is not too good either. :) But things are def at a very interesting phase now.

post. http://www.post.fm
DESIGN. ART. MUSIC. SINGAPORE. BROADCASTS.
Edited by chase on Aug 29, 2005 at 03:17 AM
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#13 chase

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 10:04 AM



kiteless and others do come by rojak on 10th sept if you have the time or in singapore. at siglap.

Another note, in fact I am so tired of this whole singapore art and design scene, of its deep philosophies and people and personalities, I am thinking of taking a break for a while. My point is there is just too much. Just tat there is not enough attention and appreciation.
Tons of creative singaporeans and some doing incredible and individualistic stuff. And things are def peaking going forward. Word! Go Local!

Yeh i think zouk is the best club in singapore.
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DESIGN. ART. MUSIC. SINGAPORE. BROADCASTS.
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#14 cocaine

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 10:04 AM



While i applaud your efforts and largely agree there is a new dawn of creativity your post suggests, saying surrender and asylum are interesting is so wrong on so many levels.

Again, my little soliloquy above has explained my angst. :P
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#15 chase

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 10:09 AM



ok sorry ambush and aslyum do sell foreign stuff. i guess this is wat u mean.

But do check out the others mentioned. There are so many creatives in sg, with mad styles and crazy visions. And things are def picking up. Or you can start your own mini revolution. :)

Also this month at Singapore Arts Museum, there's a good exhibition on sg art. Some of the stuff is real nice with good local vernacular context.
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#16 Black Bettie

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 10:40 AM



Hi Chase and Cocaine

Great to read your viewpoints - who'd have thought a discussion board for global shopping gurus (taking a guilty(?) break from daily grind) would explore a thread on the challenges faced by Singaporean creatives??

Thanks for your recommendations, website links etc. Lots to look into!

I just got a copy of Makansutra in the post - a totally encyclopaedic homage to Singapore food - and didn't get to sleep until three am as my pupils went bug-eyed at all the photos. So maybe it would be an idea to have a beer, if not some teh tarik and roti prata, with some Supertalk users next time I'm in town.

PS. It's really hard to get good Singaporean and Malaysian food in Sydney - I particularly miss roti jala. I know it's more a dish people would cook at home but if any people on this thread know a good stall or restaurant to eat it at in Singapore, can you PLEASE let me know?
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#17 fortuity

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 07:34 AM



wow.. i havent logged in for a while and boy am i surprised by what has been generated by Bettie's post. we should meet up for beer/teh tarik/prata!! roti jala's not so big in singapore. im better with prata joints - jln kayu, casurina rd, fong seng, al ahmeen anyone? this is making me hungry. how about newton or serangoon garden's fried hokkien prawn mee? oyster omelette? char kuay teow? sambal stingray? yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmm...
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#18 fwahlala

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Posted 28 September 2005 - 01:27 AM



hahah..sounds good..am from singapore too...but am seldom there because of work....if you guys do not mind a newbie....i will gladly join when i am around....ahhh....prata !!!.....
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#19 Black Bettie

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Posted 28 September 2005 - 03:42 AM



Wow - I can't believe this thread is still getting posts. We've got a bit of a prata circle together now and I will definitely let you know when I'm next in town.

Back on a final fashion tip - where is the best place in Singapore to buy cult international jeans for women?

Thanks again.
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#20 cocaine

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Posted 28 September 2005 - 09:24 AM



prata circle it is!

This is groovy!

So how do we folks keep in contact for any prata sessions? :)
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#21 tweeds

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 07:59 PM

i googled something and this topic popped up, and being singaporean myself this is quite the interesting debate/rant.

...yes i found what i was googling for.
where have all these people gone?
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#22 glenn

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 08:47 PM

just got back from MOS and trafik were spinning today. good stuff.
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#23 Tisswat

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 10:41 PM

Although I still enjoy superfuture, this thread makes me realise what has changed over the years. Striking.
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In before waywt thread.

#24 mis

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 02:18 AM

When I went back to Singapore last summer I was kind of taken aback at the average age limit of the girls in clubs. Im dancing and all of a sudden I see groups of 14/15 year olds pouring in wearing "cloths", while it amuses my slightly it kind of sickens me as well.

As for fashion in Singapore, you cant really compare Singaporeans fashion sense to say, Hong kong or Japan. The weather in Singapore essentially kills it. I spent 5 mins walking from my house to the bus stop at around 10am in a pair of slim jims and a tee, and I was already drenched in sweat. Yet I see people wearing hoodies/jackets walking around Singapore. I'm not going to jump on them and say, ok take that hoodie off, you look like a fool. It's something I would definitely wear in the States in late fall/winter. Maybe they have a low metabolic rate? Maybe I'm the one that sweats like a pig? Aesthetics or comfort? Maybe their priorities are different.

The art scene isnt really well established, but to say that Singapore hasent been trying would be a lie. The censorship board? While I can imagine parents kicking up a fuss if their 12 year old kids walk into a convenience store, pick up requiem for a dream, watch it, and fuck their lives up forever, I think the censorship board should definitely stop cutting out scenes from so many movies and setting such a harsh censorship rating for moives.
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#25 tweeds

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 10:19 AM

fashion wise, i think people wear what's comfortable - i know people who can actually walk around in a trenchcoat in the evenings without breaking a sweat at all. maybe it's just getting used to the heat. i'm in no way used to it, so i lay off the cardigan except when the weather allows for it. aesthetics or comfort, reckon comfort is still more powerful a force, especially in the tropics, which does take a bit of getting used to.

fair point about the censorship, but i think the administration is definitely on the move. changes are quite inevitable...

tisswat - i think i have to agree, even though i'm only relatively new here.
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