Singapore's Best Bars, Restaurants and Art Venues, According to Singaporeans
Do what the locals do and go where the locals go in Singapore.
Our sister publication I-S Magazine recently unveiled its 18th Readers’ Choice Awards, in which the people of Singapore share where they love to party till they drop, eat yum dishes, sip espresso and buy local fashion. Mark these down in your itinerary for your next visit to the island state.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Party / Festival of the Year
There’s no beating this one. The city’s first outdoor dance music festival, already in its 12th edition, is still the go-to party for pure unadulterated fun in the company of 40,000 revelers (last year’s turn-out was its highest yet). Big names who rocked the crowd at Sentosa’s Siloso Beach at 2012’s edition included Paul Van Dyk, Paul Kalkbrenner and Above & Beyond. This year’s festival takes place Dec 13-14.
Best Art Gallery
MAD Museum of Art and Design
Before Japanese contemporary art got hip here with the recent opening of Tomio Koyama and Mizuma Gallery at Gillman Barracks, the guys at MAD were already at it—selling sought-after and rare works by the legendary Yoshitomo Nara, on top of their regular shows featuring many established Asian artists.
333A Orchard, +65-6734-5688. www.madmad.com.sg
Nightspot of the Year
Despite stiffer competition from newer clubs like Kyo, the nightlife stalwart still holds fort as the best in dance music—last year’s playlist included visiting guest DJs like Pete Tong and Sven Vath. Resident DJs djB, Ghetto, Hong, Jeremy Boon and Adrian Wee also enjoy substantial local support with their regular nights spanning everything from house to soul to indie-dance to hip hop. Its sister space Velvet Underground also won the Best Lounge Club award.
17 Jiak Kim Street, +65-6738-2988. www.zoukclub.com
Best New Bar
What this cool watering hole has that not many bars can boast: space. The 650-square-meter duplex houses a bistro on the ground floor and a swanky lounge-bar on the second level. Grub and tipples offered here may not be extraordinary, but its bimonthly Sunday Artists Market certainly ups its hip factor.
237 South Bridge Road, +65-6222-5001. www.theault.com.sg
Best Cocktail Bar
28 HongKong Street
It was all very hush-hush when 28 first started, although this is still the go-to place for “insiders” (read: us) to sample mighty-fine bar bites and potent concoctions care of Best Bartender winner Michael Callahan. Nabbing the title two years in a row isn’t going to make it any easier to score a seat, though.
28 Hongkong Street, +65-6533-2001. www.28hks.com
Best Rooftop Bar
Ku Dé Ta
Never mind that it faced some legal troubles last year, the plush nightlife spot still packs in the crowds with its unbeatable, tried-and-true formula: a luxurious space with killer views, serious cocktails, smooth sounds and a ladies night that gives away expensive things. Nice...
57/F Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue, +65-6688-7688. www.kudeta.com.sg
Best Live Music Venue
Arty-farty location, hearty food, beers and great music by local musicians: Timbre ticks all the right boxes for a good night out. The music roster changes from time to time, giving emerging bands like Runaway Rose and Insight a chance to shine.
Best Local DJ
Still the city’s most consistent and reliable DJ to get the crowd going with his party-ready prog-house music sets, now featured monthly at Zouk for his monthly ONE with Aldrin nights. Our most famous export also toured Ibiza, Seoul, Bali and Taipe last year.
Best Fashion Brand
Much lauded designer Jo Soh’s whimsical, vintage-inspired creations get better with every collection, with the latest spring/summer 2013 collection winning hearts (and votes) with its synchronized swimming theme, earning a perfect 10 in your books.
02-14 Mandarin Gallery, 333A Orchard Rod., +65-6337-0992. www.ilovehansel.com
Best Indie Boutique
Proprietor Jasmine Tuan’s 14-square-meter style den came up tops for the third year running, despite newer multi-label boutiques in the market threatening to usurp its throne. And it’s obvious why: the edgy store keeps things fresh and unpredictable with new collections and labels, all in the name of good taste.
Best Lifestyle Boutique
The Hong Kong lifestyle label stays relevant with select goods specifically designed with the city in mind, like the tongue-in-cheek book/catalog The “Xi” Paper: 69 to 6.9 Million and adding “lah” for its signature DelayNoMore tees. Who can say no to nostalgic kitschy-cool items that remind you of the good ol’ days?
Best Flea Market
Flea & Easy
The city’s first trendy flea market has faced some serious competition in recent years, what with folks at Public Garden and For Flea Sake steadily gaining ground. To set itself apart, the Zouk team revamped the daytime affair to a convivial night market with great music vibes, courtesy of DJ group FFF DJ Bootcamp. Good times.
With its diverse and impressive tenant mix (everything from fashion, dining, tech to home), ION Orchard pretty much offers the best of Orchard Road in a single location.
2 Orchard Turn, +65-6238-8228
Best New Restaurant
A slick space encased in a glass dome floating on the water—the setup here (designed by award-winning New York design firm AvroKO) is undeniably gorgeous. The team—who trained at world famous joints like El Bulli and Sketch—puts out unfaultable Spanish bites and cocktails to boot. The Fullerton Pavilion,
82 Collyer Quay, +65-6534-0188. www.catalunya.sg
Chef of the Year
Justin Quek - Sky On 57
Also the 2012 title holder, the Singapore industry veteran has been working this town for years, and we all know and love him from his days at Les Amis. Even though he left to expand his empire in Taipei and Shanghai, that’s affected his name recognition here not one bit. These days, folks flock to his MBS restaurant Sky on 57 for Singapore-inspired recipes.
57 F Sands SkyPark, Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Ave., +65-6235-3900.
Best Coffee Joint
Chye Seng Huat Hardware
From the Papa Palheta folk comes this hip spot located in an Art Deco shophouse. With a 360-degree coffee bar, killer bottled cold brew coffee (served with milk and syrup on the side) and some seriously delicious pastries to go with—it’s your top choice for a jolt of caffeine.
150 Tyrwhitt Rod., +65-6396-0609. www.cshhcoffee.com
Best Dessert Spot
National pastry sweetheart Janice Wong helms this dimly lit sweet specialist, which is a favorite with area night owls (they stay open till 2am). Prettily plated and often including unusual ingredients (think mustard crumble and smoked tofu), dessert here is never boring. Holland Village,
21A Lorong Liput, +65-6291-9727. www.2amdessertbar.com
Best Hawker Center
Old Airport Road
Time and again this hawker center snags the best street food title, and for good reason. Seasoned cooks at stalls like Blanco Court Kway Chap and Xin Mei Xiang Lor Mee put out grub so good it makes the more than hour-long queues seem worth it.
51 Old Airport Rd.
From the exotic Tunisian breakfast—comprising fried eggs and chorizo in a spicy tomato sauce—to healthy muesli, this cute as a button establishment has everything a bleary eyed breakfaster could ever crave.
03-02 Mandarin Gallery, 333A Orchard Road, +65-6235-3900. www.wildhoney.com.sg
Best New Hotel
Located in Sentosa Cove, this establishment is super plush by any standards, with a rocking branch of W’s signature watering hole Woobar—featuring nightly DJ acts—as well as two great restaurants The Kitchen Table and Skirt.
21 Ocean way, Sentosa Cove, +65-6808-7288. www.wsingaporesentosacove.com
Best New Attraction
Gardens by the Bay
Who said parks can’t be fun for grown-ups? You have splendid flora to surround yourself with day and night, plus acts like Aerosmith, ATB, Kings of Convenience and Markus Schulz have all performed on its grounds recently.
18 Marina Gardens Dr., +65-6420-6841, www.gardensbythebay.org.sg
Hottest Neighborhood In Town
The undisputed hip hood rece ntly welcomed men’s only salon We Need A Hero and diners Two Face Pizzeria and Kisses to its turf. Competitors Jalan Besar and Everton Park still have a long way to go.
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