Singapore has long ago shaken off its boring staid image, and its nightlife scene is going from strength to strength. The 2006 opening of Clarke Quay, a purpose built eating, drinking and clubbing emporium had much to do with this, while the more recent launch of the Marina Bay Sands complex has helped take Singapore’s clubbing scene to a new level.
Heading up our list are the three see-and-be-seen clubs within the Marina Bay Sands complex. While Ku De Ta wows with its views from the 57th floor, Avalon and Pangaea are tucked away within the crystal pavilion over the water of Marina Bay. Hollywood sensation Avalon is now Singapore’s largest dance club at 17,000 square feet, while the “ultra-lounge” concept of Pangaea promises a more intimate and luxurious party experience.
Not to be forgotten is all-time Singapore favourite night spot Zouk. This warehouse-club has been packing in clubbers since its launch in March 1991, with both resident and visiting DJs spinning the decks in its four clubs. Zouk is also responsible for Asia’s biggest beach party – ZoukOut, held on Siloso Beach in Sentosa every December.
Not far away, Clarke Quay is home to Attica, a perennial favourite with locals, local expats and visitors. Its location within easy staggering distance of the many other bars and restaurants of the area help its popularity. Also in Clarke Quay is Zirca, an enormous complex which attracts a mainly younger local crowd, and occasionally hosts smaller concerts of touring pop icons.
Those looking for less mainstream music should check out Home, proclaiming to head up Singapore’s underground culture, while the Butter Factory is where local hip hop fans head to.
Zirca Mega Club burst onto the scene in November 2008, taking over the site of the much-loved Ministry of Sound. Located in the heart of nightlife hotspot Clarke Quay, this enormous club has a capacity of 2,000 clubbers. Resident DJs Josh, Marcus, Kennerve and Inquisitive thump out variations of elctro, dance-rock, indie rock, disco, house, hip-hop, drum 'n'bass, techno, tribal and progressive.
Regular nights include the monthly Funktion featuring progressive house, Electric Playground with its electro, electrohouse, breakbeat and bassline, and Lollipop Wednesdays featuring a colourful blend of Top 40 hits and mash-ups. (63056768)
dbl O Complex
Established in 2000, Dbl O (pronounced "double-oh") continues to be a popular night spot with local Singaporeans. Three resident DJs GemStarr, Timo-J and Ollie 'Des keep the dance floor packed 'til the small hours with their mix of familiar old school hip-hop, with new flavours of R&B, funk, disco, dancehall, reggae and mash-ups. The club has tried to reach a wider audience in recent years, with a focus on the creative arts, by sponsoring various art, music and fashion events and by the emergence of the dbl O Art Space aiming to nurture local talent. (67352008)
St James Power Station
This former 1927 coal-fired power station has been restored into a mega-entertainment complex, attracting local Singaporeans for drinking, late nights and dancing. Twelve outlets in all mean that there should be something to cater for all tastes within these vast walls.
The largest outlet is Powerhouse, a 10,000 square foot space dedicated to dance – with resident and visiting DJs knocking out tunes til the small hours. The ever-popular Dragonfly heaves at weekends with revellers swinging their stuff to the latest Mandarin hits covered by the resident band and dancers, while The Boiler Room beckons those who prefer their music a bit more mainstream – with R&B, pop, rock and soul. There's a change of pace with Movida, which offers a different vibe altogether with dancers encouraged to grind their hips to the beats of World Music, while the Bellini Room is for all those swing lovers to get down to the cool jazz quartet.
When it's time to rest your legs, head to the Gallery Bar, The Lobby, the St James Wine Bar & Bistro or outdoors to Peppermint Park for a breath of fresh air, while sports fans should head to the New Paper Sports Bar. Karaoke fans needn't leave disappointed either with Mono providing an intimate bar and ten private rooms for those who love to belt out a tune or two of their own. (65 6270 7676)
The Butter Factory
Singapore's hip hop lovers flock to The Butter Factory, a fun and funky club featuring a party blend of hip hop, R&B, urban grooves, alternative vibes and street art. Divided into two rooms, Bump booms with mainly hip-hop tunes, while Fash has a distinctly more indie vibe to it, courtesy of resident DJs Andrew T, Dave Does and Stanley. Whichever room you choose, the focus here is on unpretentious fun, with regular special events seeing the clientele not afraid to dress up and make fools of themselves. (65 6333 8243)
Since its opening in March 2005, Home Club has become Singapore's favourite underground club, and at just 2,800 square feet makes an intimate alternative to the city's many mega-clubs. Here you can expect to hear an eclectic mix of music from drum 'n' bass and dubstep beats, to indie and electro tunes, and psy-trance and techno sounds.
Home Club prides itself on being a platform for Singaporean DJs, bands and promoters to showcase their own brand of music, but has also played host to an impressive range of visiting international DJs, including Mercury Prize winner and drum and bass pioneer Roni Size, affluent DJ, producer, artist and actor Goldie, Kele Okereke of platinum record-selling UK indie band Bloc Party, Al Doyle of Grammy-nominated electropop band Hot Chip and three-time World DMC Champion DJ Craze. (65 6538 2928)
Attica & Attica Too
Situated in the heart of eating and drinking emporium Clarke Quay, Attica is undoubtedly one of Singapore's most popular nightclubs. The ground floor sees hip hop lovers bumping and grinding on the hot and sweaty dancefloor, while revellers down shooters at the bar. Move upstairs and it all gets a bit more hardcore, with flashing strobe lights and thumping rhythms. A small courtyard area offers brief respite from the crowds and heat. Various special events featuring guest DJs take place on a regular basis throughout the year, so check the website for details. (65 6333 9973)
Ku De Ta
Ku De Ta is one of Singapore's current see-and-be-seen hotspots. This bar, restaurant and dance club in-one, boasts one of the world's most stunning locations, perched at 257m atop the magnificent Marina Bay Sands hotel with unbeatable views across the city. Begin the evening with lychee and rose water martinis at the illuminated Sky Bar and then go on enjoy modern Asian fusion cuisine in the stylish restaurant, which gives you the option of indoor or alfresco dining. Night owls can end the night in the candlelit Club Lounge to dance the night away to live entertainment or well known DJs. (66887688)
The legendary ultra lounge that became a celebrity hangout in cities such as New York, London and Miami opened its doors in Singapore in 2011, swiftly becoming the city's swankiest club. Sharing its floating Crystal Pavilion premises with mega-club Avalon, Pangaea provides a more laid-back and luxurious vibe. The opulent and richly adorned interior features ostrich skin sofas, African tribal masks and a 70,000 glass bulb ceiling. Noticeably absent is a dancefloor – but while Pangaea may boast a lounge concept, it's certainly not all about chilling here, with dance tiers in each banquette encouraging clientele to lose themselves in the music. (66887448)
About Marianne Rogerson
Marianne is a freelance travel writer, who has lived in Singapore for six years. She is the author of a travel guidebook to Singapore and has written about Singapore for a range of international magazines and websites. A self-confessed glutton, Marianne is always on the lookout for new restaurants and loves how Singapore has attracted some of the world’s most renowned chefs to its shores over the last few years. Being mother to a very active toddler means Marianne has also become an expert in entertaining kids in Singapore.
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