Ku De Ta's Singapore Sawa cocktail | Photo: Ku De Ta
Singapore is the nightlife capital of Southeast Asia and I say this without twitching.
Considering that, in the eyes of the Sharia law, drinking in Brunei would get you a free staycation in jail, and you might lose a shoe partying in Kuta or Koh Phangan, this tiny city-state has almost everything a safe and debaucherous night out demands.
Bottle service clubs, world renowned cocktails bars, laidback watering holes, great music offerings, and late night eateries used to inebriated psychomotor abilities are all within reasonable distance from and within the city. Just don’t get into a Chrysler cab, that vehicle will suck your holiday money dry.
This itinerary is intended for nightlife vultures with absolutely no time to do anything else. Keep up with the pace, consume some yogurt while you’re at it, and savour Singapore’s nightlife in all its glory, in 48 hours.
Day 1, 6pm
Ku De Ta
Sip on cocktails over a bird's eye view of Singapore
Let's be frank, Ku De Ta’s chichi-ness can rub people the wrong way. But between you, the tranquilising sunset and down-tempo house music, the picturesque view 57 storeys up is breathtaking whether you are acrophobic or not. This is your first postcard view of the country? You’re welcome. Six in the evening is not as busy and entry is free before 9pm; cover charge after 9pm is $38, inclusive of a drink. At 6pm, spend what you might have paid cover with for a tipple: the tropical Singapore Sawa cocktail (South-East Asian infused umeshu, aperol, proseco, ginger liqueur, lime zest; $23) will get your palate accustomed to local flavours. Nurse that drink – the night's just begun.
Ku De Ta | Address: Marina Bay Sands Tower 3, 1 Bayfront Avenue | Tel: 66887688 | Opening hours: Mon-Fri noon-3pm, Sat-Sun 11am-3.30pm, Daily 6-10.30pm
Day 1, 7.30pm
28 HongKong Street
Be served by a Diageo Reserve World Class bartender
After an eight-minute cab ride from Marina Bay Sands, we will reach the best cocktail bar in the world. But don’t take my word for it; this subversive speakeasy-styled joint only took tenth position in the World’s 50 Best Bars, and recently won the 2014 Spirited Awards’ Best International Cocktail Bar. It’s the first time a bar from Asia, let alone Singapore, has ever brought home that award. To get into this nondescript bar, look out for the No.28 sign, get past the door, a velvet curtain and ask the bartenders – Peter Chua who reached the top 6 in this year’s Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year – for recommendations. Cocktails start from $18. Pace yourself. We’re only halfway there.
28 HongKong Street | Address: 28 HongKong Street | Tel: 65332001 | Opening hours: Mon-Thu 5.30pm-1am, Fri-Sat 5.30pm-3am
Day 1, 9pm
For local performances
A five-minute walk from 28 HongKong Street is what used to be Singapore's glamorous underground club. Previously Home Club, it’s now Canvas Singapore. While its open concept and loungy decor is new since July, one can expect the same non-commercial music direction it made its name on. There is UK house, indie, and a whole arty-farty vibe attached to it –read: large photo frames and LCD screen showcasing local artists. Once considered a safe haven for fashionable kids, it’s now one for fashionable spenders.
Canvas Singapore | Address: The Riverwalk, #B1-01/06, 20 Upper Circular Road | Tel: 65382928 | Opening hours: Tue 3-11pm, Wed & Fri 3pm-3am, Thu 3pm-2am, Sat 3pm-4am
Day 1, 10pm
Boat Quay and Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall
Locally-inspired drinks and hawker dishes
Across the street from Canvas is Boat Quay. This nightlife belt is a tourist haunt lined with sport bars, where English and Irishmen trash talk over rugby, ridiculously pricey seafood, and a basement mosque at the end of the tip. But this infamous stretch also houses some pretty decent bars. One of them is Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall, a cocktail bar leaning towards more locally-inspired and classic concoctions with a shortlist of hawker grub. Pair the char kway teow (stir-fried rice noodles) with a Negroni ($20) for an East-meet-West variety served by one of the nicest bartenders around, Sam Wong. Consider this your pre-party fuel before we end the night at the country’s iconic clubbing institution.
Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall | Address: 60A Boat Quay | Tel: 65350838 | Opening hours: Mon-Thu 6pm-midnight, Fri & Sat 6pm-3am
Day 1, Midnight
Late-night partying, and hot dogs
The great dame, almost a quarter-century old and still going strong; the world-renowned club's just had its lease renewed. The main room usually plays EDM. If going deaf is not your thing, there's always Velvet Underground, a smaller room offering quality techno and house depending on the nights and guest DJs. Cover charge starts from $28 (up to $50 if guys like Armin van Buuren are playing), inclusive of two drinks, and grants you access to all rooms on usual nights if you pay at Velvet. Before you leave the club, get your hands on the hotdogs from the stand outside. That’ll sort out your supper and prep you for tomorrow.
Zouk | Address: 17 Jiak Kim Street | Tel: 67382988 |Opening hours: Wed, Fri-Sun 11pm till late