Singapore has one of the most vibrant and varied nightlife scenes in Southeast Asia, with many bars and clubs open late into the night. There exists a wide spectrum of nightlife, from loud dance clubs to quiet neighborhood pubs and coffee houses. Some of the most interesting strips of bars and clubs lie along Mohammed Sultan Road, at Clarke Quay, at Emerald Hill, while cozy venues can be found on Club Street and behind Holland Village.
Clubs and Dance Spots
Singapore’s club scene is dominated by the young and well heeled, and many places have internationally-known DJs spinning each weekend. Some of Singapore’s biggest and most popular clubs are listed below.
Singapore’s hottest nightspot has to be at Clarke Quay, which is home to popular bars and clubs including The Pump Room, Attica, 1 Nite Stand, Bar Cocoon, and The Forbidden City. While the individual clubs can’t compare in size to some of the monster dance clubs described below, Clarke Quay as a whole is the largest collection of bars and clubs in Singapore. Housed in restored shophouses and covered by a modern superstructure, Clarke Quay has an amazing array of clubs and bars with its own unique draw. Set beside the historic and scenic Singapore River, this area is popular with locals and foreigners alike. Once darkness falls on the city, this place roars to life, especially on weekends where the locals join in the foreigner’s crowd.
- Zouk: One of the biggest and most popular clubs among the local party-goers, its compound consists of four signature outlets; Zouk Main Room, Phuture, Velvet Underground and Wine Bar. The crowd is mostly students and young professionals. 17 Jiak Kim Street
- St. James Power Station: At 70,000 sq ft, this is Singapore’s largest clubbing venue. It occupies Singapore’s first coal-fired power station, built in 1929, near Harbourfront and VivoCity. After $43 million overhaul in 2004, it is now one of the top spots to party the night away. With more than 20 different clubs in this one complex, it draws locals, tourists as well as expatriate crowds, 3 Sentosa Gateway, #01-01, Tel: 6270 7676,
- Attica: A very popular weekend venue that attracts a wide range of party-goers. It has a great outdoor garden that allows clubbers an opportunity to escape the noise and chill out. Tel: 633 9973
- Butter Factory: A popular R&B joint which focuses on promoting new talent from around Asia. Tel: 6333 8243
Bars & Pubs
For those who desire a more low-key kind of nightlife, the bars tucked away in Emerald Hill, just off of Orchard Road near Centrepoint Shopping Centre, offer a unique and very cool setting.
There are, however, a number of areas most popular with expatriates, namely Boat Quay, Dempsey Road, and Holland Village, and a few bars and pubs that stand out with the expat crowd.
- Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay: The pubs along the river are very popular with expats. Those nearest the CBD, are popular with the financial / management expatriate crowd working in the CBD. Bars including The Penny Black and Dallas, which are always crowded from 7 pm onwards with tired professionals keen on socializing. Clarke Quay attracts a slightly younger crowd of expats who frequent the expensive bars and clubs until the early hours and Robertson Quay is a more laid-back spot for expats and their families.
- Dempsey Road, also called Tanglin Village: The restored colonial barracks at Dempsey Road house a number of popular nightspots and wine bars including Hacienda, Harry’s, and The Wine Company that draw patrons looking for swanky but mellow venues, mostly with outdoor seating.
- Holland Village: The strip of pubs on Lorong Liput behind Holland Village, including Harry’s and Wala Wala, are very popular on both weeknights and weekend evenings with expatriates. Friends start to assemble during happy hours past 5 pm along the sidewalks.
- Harry’s Bar: A long-time popular and casual bar, now with venues scattered across the island, expats tend to gather at Holland Village, Chijmes, Dempsey Hill, and Boat Quay for beer and burgers.
- Brewerkz: This American brew house offers a number of beers and a laid-back atmosphere along the Singapore River just across from the louder Clarke Quay.
Gay & Lesbian
While homosexuality is technically illegal in Singapore, expats can find a number of gay bars throughout China Town. Singapore Wiki provides a good overview of which bars may be suitable for gay and lesbian party-goers.
For those interested in live music, guest DJs, or nightlife specials, the print magazine Time Out Singapore, sold in local newsstands, is the best resource for information on evening entertainment. Time Out also maintains a website with information on clubs and evening events.