So many beach clubs, so little time. Clara Lim and Terry Ong pick the best in town.

Despite being surrounded by water we don’t tend to think of ourselves as a beach nation. It’s too easy to jump on a plane to Bali; too tempting to stay under cover of aircon. But few cities in the world can boast beaches as close to the center of town as Singapore, and there’s no better way to cool down here than with an ice cold drink in a sea breeze. Thankfully, after being ignored for too long, there’s a sense that the scene is finally picking up, with plenty of new or revamped beach bars and clubs doing interesting and innovative things.

Tanjong Beach Club has led the charge with their frequent parties and DJ sessions (though between us, we do still miss rough and ready spot The Shack), and even lesser known venues are upping the ante, with Myra’s Beach Club out at East Coast Park recently playing host to Sideshow, better known for their spirited shindigs at the Training Shed and Mount Emily. Others have reworked their menus and now offer an increasingly sophisticated food selection, alongside fancy cocktails to go with the beer buckets.

If you’ve not checked them out in a while, maybe it’s time you did. If you’re always at one, maybe you ought to check out another: you’ll find there’s more variety, and more to get excited about, than ever before.

Best for ambience: 1-Twenty Six

What: Sister to swish resto One Rochester and rooftop bar 1-Altitude, 1-Twenty Six is a sea-fronting wine-and-dine spot at Big Splash along East Coast Park. Though it seats only about 100 or so, it feels much more spacious and luxurious than many other beachside establishments. There’s a small enclosed dining area, and the rest of the seats are placed in an outdoors (though sheltered) setting, complete with lush water features, lots of foliage and sultry mood music.

Why: It’s not quite a beach bar, but it’s put together really nicely and could well be a gateway drug for city slickers who’re nature-phobic. The cocktails here are grown-up—we’re huge fans of the Green Archers ($16), a combi of gin, Noilly Prat and cucumber—and the wine list comprehensive, with over 10 vinos available by the glass. The food is pretty sophisticated too. We like to cool off with the swordfish, unagi or tuna sushi (from $18), and the incredibly cheesy Gruyère soufflé ($16) goes great with a nice glass of white.

Who: Couples, corporate types here for after-work drinks, and, on weekends, families who live nearby. It’s a classy joint, so people here are usually fully clothed and well-behaved.

When: Musicians of different genres perform live daily, but Friday nights are when the scene heats up a bit with a DJ dishing out more uptempo tunes. Their Wednesday nights are also a favorite spot for girls’ nights out, too, so try that if you’ve done ladies’ night around town to death. Finally, they’ve also rolled out a brand new Sunday brunch if you fancy soaking up some sun.

How: Take a cab, or bus service 401 from Bedok MRT on Saturdays and Sundays.

Best for the uninhibited: Mambo Beach Club

What: One of the most vibrant (and perhaps the loudest) joints along the Siloso Beach strip, Mambo is probably the closest it gets to a proper club when it comes to local beach bars. It’s not the classiest joint—their parties tend to feature shots, T&A and electro trance—but the setup is certainly snazzy, complete with indoor and outdoor bars, swimming pool, cabanas and Jacuzzis.

Why: Their swimming pool and the scantily-clad bods therein.

Who: They can hold up to a whopping 3,500 partygoers if they take up their entire strip of beach, though the headcount usually ranges between 200 and 600. Weekdays see a chilled out crowd of tourists and families who head here to tan and swim, while on weekends it turns into beach party central with a pretty raucous crowd of expats, young working adults and exchange students.

When: Head to their fortnightly Saturday parties if you’ve got the stomach for trashy fun—a recent one was Spring Breakers-themed—which are free for ladies and $30 at the door for men.

How: Take their buggy service from Sentosa Express Beach Station (available on weekends), or the beach tram.

Best for food & drinks: C Side

What: This five-in-one beach lifestyle destination comprises five diverse F&B concepts, including the freshly revamped Coastes and Bikini Bar, new spot Sand Bar, and eateries Flame and Makan2.

Why: You’d be hard pressed to find more diverse options in one place. Coastes is laid-back and mellow, with a menu that spans breakfast plates like eggs benedict ($16) to tea time scones ($10), as well as seaside standards like fish and chips ($22) to go with their summery cocktails (from $15). Bikini Bar is a bit rowdier and serves up beers like Bintang ($12) while Sand Bar’s a cozy hut with affordable, no-frills drinks. On top of all of that, the bath and changing rooms are new, clean and super spacious to boot. Sweet.

Who: A real mix of folks, from families at Coastes to SPGs at Bikini Bar, while Makan2 is a hot favorite with tourists who come for local grub like chicken rice ($6).

When: Come for the live music on Friday and Saturday nights, or a none-too-crowded brunch on Sunday mornings.

How: It’s just a stone’s throw from Sentosa Express Beach Station. No cabs necessary, really.

Best for kicking back: Myra's Beach Club

What: A no-frills 120-seater at the tail end of East Coast Park, sharing the same premises as PA Water-Venture, a popular spot for sea sports that also holds windsurfing courses.

Why: It’s unpretentious without going into sleazy territory, the staff are friendly but not smarmy, it’s close enough to the beach so that you can walk over for a dip in the sea, and far enough from the more crowded parts of East Coast Park so you don’t feel like committing hara-kiri while making your 27th lap around the carpark looking for an empty lot. Their extensive Mexican and North Indian menu is also rather unusual, the grub is prettily plated and actually quite good to boot.

Who: Windsurfers, families and groups of friends. Though it seems they’ve upped their street cred by hosting the Sideshow guys for a recent Sunday shindig, don’t expect hipsters or party animals flocking here anytime soon (unless there’s a special event going on).

When: Come if you don’t feel like getting all dressed up to hit the town. It’s usually packed for Saturday dinner and Sunday brunch, so avoid those unless you like crowds.

How: By cab, or bus service 401 from Bedok MRT on Saturdays and Sundays.

Best for people-watching: Tanjong Beach Club

What: The closest thing we’ll get to a Malibu beach club, replete with an alfresco bar space, indoor and outdoor dining areas and a massive beach site with arguably the best sea view among the rest of the establishments.

Why: An all-day dining menu (with diverse quality offerings including starters like Tuna Tartare ($26), mains like grilled whole maine lobsters ($95) and desserts like Blueberry Pavlova ($14)) ensures that you’ll never go hungry at any time of visit, as well as a huge drinks menu. Signature cocktails include the Blackforest mojito ($18) and Tanjong Sling ($17). 

Who: A very well-rounded mix of hip young things, working professionals, families with kids and basically anyone looking for a good time. The pool is especially popular among expats and the body beautiful with a penchant for showing off—and that’s exactly the point if you’re in the mood for some eye candy. Elsewhere, the cabanas are hot with big groups who come here simply to chill out or bask under the sun. TBC is pet-friendly, so expect some prized poodles or Yorkshire Terriers running around the beach.

When: Sundays are best if you want to bask in all the conviviality during the weekly Smack My Beach up parties with pumping, feel-good music—that’s when the pool gets really full—or when they’re having a special DJ gig or at their next Full Steam Ahead party. But if you’re looking for some down time, any weekday here will do the job. It’s the kind of place that really appeals across the board.

How: There are a couple of ways to get here, although taking a cab here would be the easiest (and fastest).  Alternatively, you can choose to take a 10-minute tram ride after alighting at Sentosa’s Beach Station, or take a 15-20-minute walk from there. While getting here is relatively easy, getting out is a bitch. Tanjong Beach is, after all, one of Sentosa’s more secluded beaches and cabs are scarce here (you’d have to rely on mostly drop-offs or call for one). Thankfully though, they’ve recently introduced an in-house charter service with a drop-off service at VivoCity every Sunday between 6-10pm. 

Best for live music: Sunset Bay Garden Bistro

What: This cozy joint is more a seaside bistro than anything else. It’s just a smidge too far from the beach, and there are no changing or shower facilities, but it’s one of the most popular hangouts along East Coast Park.

Why: Regulars come here to socialize, enjoy live music (every day other than Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays) and food. Though pizzas, pastas and bar grub dominate the menu, owner Cindy Berlandier and her brother also create, amazingly enough, halal versions of Eurasian dishes—a cuisine usually known for being pork-heavy. Crowd favorites like oxtail stew ($20) and their house devil’s curry ($19) are authentically spicy and rich, while light bites like spicy creamy prawns ($15) and mango bruschetta ($12) hit the spot on sweltering days when you don’t quite want to tackle a curry. Drinks-wise, they’re all about frozen or ice-cold cocktails, so expect mostly beachy drinks like mojitos, pina coladas and long island ice teas (from $13.90).

Who: An eclectic crowd of families, friends and courting couples of all ages, both local and expat.

When: Its 120 seats are usually full on weekends after sundown, so we suggest coming on weeknights, when there are themed promos almost daily. Think couples nights (50% off the second drink for couples on Thursdays) and frat nights (beer and pizza deals, of course, on Mondays). Alternatively, watch out for their anniversary party next month, and a countdown party on New Year’s Eve.

How: There’s a spacious free carpark right next door, so driving’s the obvious choice. Otherwise, take a cab, or bus service 401 from Bedok MRT on Saturdays and Sundays.

Check out upcoming beach and pool events and the best waterfront bars for sports.


Leave a Comment