Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Indie Guide to Singapore: Nightlife as a Youngish Adult

Introduction: From Graduate to Real Human Adult
When I first wrote as a fresh International Relations 23 year old grad, Singapore was at best disappointing and at worst a sterile Asian Disney World with no authenticity and soul. I (illegally) spat in the face of its perfection, feeling cheated and misled. How dare you say you are an Asian city when you lack the chaotic and affordable beauty that Bangkok and Hong Kong effortlessly ooz?  Singapore's biggest point of pride as a Southeast Asian oasis was my biggest point of disgust.

Seven years later I'd probably jump back in time so I could slap old (young?) me in the face.



I’ve seen the light. Forget my last post. It was the ramblings or an adventure starved, coddled westerner looking for a reprieve from stability. Asia was supposed to be a land ripe with possibilities, Singapore you could get arrested for chewing gum. I had just broken  from the shackles of university (but not student debt), climbed a mountain in Papua New Guinea and then expected to put on my nice western clothes, pay western prices for a beer to hang out with westerners? Forgive my young self, but it kind of beat the point of travelling across the world. Singapore for a fresh adrenaline addicted graduate was a waste.of.time.

 But I write to you today as a third-jobber who has spent the last four years in Bangkok, and 2 years  in the chaotic, traffic-ridden city – Jakarta. I've finally moved here. I make money, I read the business section sometimes, I go to the bank and pay bills and stuff. I’m AN ADULT. And yea, I gotta say, if you’re not on a shoestring budget, there is a lot love about this place. 

Actually, I have become vociferous on the matter. You can drink water FROM THE TAP. You can breath AIR. You can walk OUTSIDE and not in a mall. If you dare accuse me of my standards dropping faster than my chances of getting married, I will slap you across the face and then quickly run to cover you in sweet, sorrowful kisses. You may be right, World. You may be right. Indeed, having lived in the most tumultuous, horrendously polluted city in the world has skewed my standards for what I like in a place. 

But beyond my spinster level standards of city love, age and where you are at in your life will determine how much pleasurey pleasureness you can extract from Singapore. Graduating the lens in which you view the world from teeny Wayfareres to Madmen Clubmasters will help bring into focus so many more amazing things that may be blurred by your cheapness. When I first wrote, I wanted the craziness of Bangkok and instead got the Asian adopted cousin of Orlando or Ottawa. Now I quiver and bite my lip thinking of things like public transportation and non-creepy white old expats. Oh jaded Felicia, what have you become?!

Anyways, I prevaricate.

If you are not a debt ridden student, this guide may work for you. If you are, don’t waste your precious young dollahs in Singapore. This is a city best enjoyed for expats around Southeast Asia with a serious amount of disposable income and friends who live in the city to show them a good time. Come here for a reprieve from all the good things of Asia, for a dose of home. Things work here, punctuality is like actually a thing, people speak English, there are green spaces, lots, they have wholesome activities beyond nightlife like comedy and trivia nights. Prostitutes and easy women are not rampant, the men and women seem like the best of normal people, full of career and ambition, what more can I say? The Debbie to the downer is that this all comes at a price, a high one. Taxis, clubs, food are pretty expensive compared to the rest of Asia. If you've come from Europe then it’s on par so don’t be shocked.

People say that, like its ugly cousins Ottawa and Orlando,  Singapore lacks a soul. They are not 100% wrong. Don’t expect Echo Park, meatpacking district or Melbourne, but as long as your expectations are in check you can have an amazing time here. But I tell you what, there is an electricity in the air that I don’t feel in Jakarta or Bangkok. It feels alive, like your spidey party sense is constantly tingling. There are so many interesting people doing interesting things and it's in the air. I can become addicted to this smell of energy and excitement! Jakarta does not have that. If there is a party, there is only 1 or 2 max and everyone you know will be at one or the other. Singapore, it is possible to be overbooked. Your social life is amazing. It is hard if you don’t know people, but anyways I’ll give you my recommendations of best nightlife in Singapore if you're into non mainstream bro-ey crowds.

(Fyi, I wrote most of this post as a 25 year old but never published. 6 years later, my sentiments and love for Singapore remain true.)

Where to Party in Singapore (electro, house, chill vibes)


Dancing

The Great Escape
It's a party in a parking lot, often with live tunes and non-pretentious fervor. It has a great indie movie theater attached to it as well.

Canvas
This place defies Singaporean existence. It is grungy and underground, playing house and minimal music till 5am. Best part is that it is in the center of Boat Quay and has an amazing view.

Kilo Lounge
Most well known of the house, edm music spots. Always reliable for a good time and is in Tanjong Pagar. Open till 3am. I would nickname this place The French Nest. Shitty part is the $20 SGD cover.

Ice Cream Sundays
This is an event that happens monthly and they have some of the music and vibes I like the most in Singapore. Daytime, electro house music and sexy cool people. Check out the facebook page here.





Tanjong Beach Club
This beach bar is the epitome of Singapore Bro's Club - shirtless muscled dudes walking around with little puppies to bait model-esque babes. Nonetheless, on a Sunday you can go enjoy volleyball, beer pong and good vibes with your homies. It's a great daylight adventure, regardless if you're a bro or not. We like to picnic with our own booze and music a bit away from the bar itself.

Senor Taco
Salsa lessons every Wednesday for $10 SGD starting from 8pm and then a hot live band afterwards. I've recently attempted to become a twinkle toes with the lovely folks here and it is addicting! Also a great place for awkward dudes to dance with babes.

Drinking

Cafe Gavroche on Wednesdays
Free flow rose for ladies on Wednesday nights in a cute French resto in Tangjong Pagar. Perfect place for a gang of girls to let loose! And if you're feeling super basic then you can head to Bang Bang club for 3 free mixed drinks and sloppy dancing (don't go till about midnight though).

Native
Everything is this bar, from the rustic furniture to the graffiti and cutlery is made in Southeast Asia. Good for an intimate night with close friends, a date, or where to show off to your colleagues visiting from out of town. They tell a story with each drink they give you and make their own gin in house. Recommend the coffee gin for surreee. Note: It's a pricey establishment. Notebis: Go to the sketchy karaoke place across the street. It is filled with SPARKLES and looks like a David Lynch film.

Smoke and Mirrors
Another classy spot, located above the national gallery. Has one of the best views of the city in the opinion of several friends! Drinks are also pricey.

Employees Only
This place has the set-up of a speak easy, but it's own popularity has killed the vibe of something underground. It is always filled with second-jobbers and banker bros but is a good time if you want to sway a bit to Queen and other popular fun tunes. Sometimes you may not get in!

Blu Jaz Cafe
I've come here to watch open mic poetry nights and listen to live jazz bands. It is an amazing hub that supports the creative scene in Singapore. If you want to see what lies beneath corporate Singapore, I recommend checking the schedule of what's on here. Though, don't recommend the food (the falafels are dry as). Good vibes ftw.





Skinnies Lounge
This is basically an American college bar. There are hockey jerseys and hand drawn pics on the wall, a ceiling filled with a diverse collection of dick pics, beer pong outside and Oasis on repeat. Always teeming with the younger 20 somethings of Singapore.

Little Part Cafe
On a street with heritage protected shophouses (see intro photo), this tiny cafe bar has a wonderful sunset vibe, with fresh green breeze and lovely reprieve from city life. I would recommend walk around the neighbourhood to get selfies with the insta-worthy houses and relax your tired vanity with a cold glass of white! Food is meant to be decent too, with some vegan options available!

The End

Some Notes

  • This list is not exhaustive. Everyone has their spots. This blog is ultimately about us sharing, so do let me know if you have any recommendations or feedback.
  • It takes me on average about 6 months to write a blog post because the more money I've earned the less soul I have (jk i hope). So if you want to see Singapore on a more regular and daily basis, I highly recommend the lazy man's version of blogging (instagram). The videos are daily loves of the city.
  • To filter all the irrelevant shiz, use the hashtag #lilfelrocksSG for my latest recommendations. There is a lot deep stuff about vintage shopping in Singapore and pretty trees.
  • Next post should be about favourite food spots in town, with a VEGAN lens woo. Please send me some recommendations so I have more than zero to write about. 

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Cool Tunes

Always hear this at the French cafe, Merci Marcel, next to my office and makes me want to raise my nips to the sun.