Boat QuayBoat Quay


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 3 Nov 2020  

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Boat Quay  |  Clarke Quay  |  Orchard Road  |  Robertson Quay

A night out series for you to hop around Singapore's hottest drinking places.

Boat Quay

Boat Quay is a unique destination in Singapore, where history, commerce, and culture meet great food and drinks. A night out in Boat Quay is a must-do for visitors, with something for everyone to do, see, and enjoy.
Boat Quay

A living museum of sorts, Boat Quay is situated at the start of the Singapore River. The area used to be filled with swamps and houses on rafts and sticks where locals would live, work, and trade. The founder of Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles, in his grand vision for the city, developed the area by 1842 to become a settlement for Chinese labourers and merchants.

Some of Singapore’s most famous merchants and philanthropists came to work in Boat Quay, which became a bustling commercial hub. The shophouses and godowns which house restaurants and bars today used to hold grains, spices, coffee, rubber, and many other goods from all over the world. Turn your eyes skyward to see today’s economic activity in this city state: the sleek skyscrapers that provide a contrasting backdrop to the colourful shophouses along the river. 

Boat Quay
The river itself is an attraction not to be missed. Take a leisurely bumboat cruise up and down the river, or turn the experience into something more special with a dinner and drinks cruise along the Singapore River and Marina Bay. If dinner on land is your preference, check out the many live seafood restaurants along the quay.
Boat Quay

For something more low-key, an unusual spot to visit in Boat Quay is Neko no Niwa, Singapore’s first cat café. Inspired by the Japanese trend, the café describes itself as “a regular café, except that it is full of cats!” The friendly felines in the space are all adopted, with affectionate, playful personalities. You pay by the hour to cuddle these lovable creatures, and can order drinks and dessert to make your experience a little sweeter. The mission of the owners is to show people what great companions cats can be, and to encourage the adoption of rescue cats – so you’ll be having fun at the same time you're contributing towards a good cause.

The sheer diversity of things you can do and see in Boat Quay makes it a quintessentially Singaporean experience. Make time in your visit for a night out in this amazing place!

Clarke Quay

Further up the Singapore River from Marina Bay and Boat Quay is another one-of-a-kind destination with a little more of a party vibe. Clarke Quay, named after Singapore’s second Governor Andrew Clarke, is a dining and party destination which has housed some of the city’s most-loved nightlife institutions. Whether you’re looking for adrenaline, great food, live music, or clubbing, this vibrant slice of life along the river can offer all of it. 
Clarke Quay River

Clarke Quay wasn’t always fun and games, though. As you walk through the colourful streets, remember that these were commercial and residential quarters in the 1800s and early 1900s.

The ground floors of the shophouses usually contained offices, and the top floors would be crowded living spaces for coolies. Small river boats known as tongkangs would transport goods from the large ships in the harbour to be stored in Clarke Quay's godowns and granaries.

It was a space of promise, of profits for business owners, and better lives for labourers from around Asia. But there was entertainment too: live Chinese opera performances and other street entertainment, that livened up the place at night. 

Clarke Quay Night

Today, Clarke Quay offers entertainment of a different variety, but just as dynamic and exciting. Find bars with live entertainment - from blues to rock bands to open mics on Sunday nights.

Explore the many dining options on the ground – with colourful sitting areas, outdoor dining, and street stalls scattered all over Clarke Quay and even on the river. 

Keeping your feet on the ground can also be pretty exciting in Clarke Quay. Sip champagne in a sophisticated setting at the waterfront bars, where the view of the river is matched only by the view of the beautiful people inside. If you feel like partying, dance the night away at one of the many clubs, where you might just catch a world-renowned DJ in action. 

There’s no such thing as a dull night in Clarke Quay, especially if you’re surrounded by great company. A night out in this part of town could become one of the most memorable of your life, so make it count!

Orchard Road

When you walk around Orchard Road in the evening and look at the glittering malls and swanky boutiques that line this boulevard, it’s hard to imagine that this used to be an area filled with nutmeg and fruit plantations. But it wasn’t just orchards that could be found here; in the 1800s, there were even graveyards and mansions where the shopping centres now stand. 
Orchard Road

Despite being known as one of Singapore's most bustling retail hubs, Orchard Road shouldn’t be looked over when it comes to a night out. Start at the Tanglin end of Orchard Road where it’s quieter and a little more laid-back. Here, you’ll find outdoor cafés where you can start your evening with a Japanese or Italian dinner. 

Walk off dinner and cocktails and head towards Scotts Road, where the malls become busier and the streets more crowded. This is the ideal place to people-watch, as it’s one of the city’s most-used intersections. Have a glass of wine at a bar, or find al fresco dining options along Scotts Road and Orchard Road. You’ll love the diverse mix of people who walk past: trendy teenagers, families, joggers out for an evening run – and of course, the serious shoppers laden with bags.

Emerald Hill

Speaking of shopping, set off for retail therapy at an array of shopping malls along Orchard Road before moving on to the area around Somerset MRT station. This unique area is home to malls, restaurants and a stretch of shophouse restaurants and bars on Killiney Road. It also houses a great selection of Japanese restaurants and sake bars where you can sample a range of nibbles along with your drinks. 

Very close to Somerset MRT station is a charming enclave known as Emerald Hill. This conservation area used to be a Peranakan (Straits Chinese) residential area, and the gorgeous mansions and houses are still standing on either side of cobblestoned streets. The shophouses have been converted into popular bars today, most of them casual and relaxed, with live music and great happy hour deals. Despite the very modern surroundings of Orchard Road, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a different world in Emerald Hill when you sit at an outdoor table with a beer, looking at the French windowed-shophouses, lush greenery, and Chinese lanterns around you. 

A short walk away is Cuppage Terrace, located just off Orchard Road. This charming collection of bars and restaurants features a central al fresco seating area that's covered by a high awning – so it's a great spot to take shelter in if rain strikes without warning! If you're in a wine and cheese sort of mood, you'll be impressed with the wide selection of casual drinking and dining chains available.

Robertson Quay

The largest of Singapore’s three most popular quays, Robertson Quay is also the most relaxed in terms of atmosphere. It is further up the river from Boat Quay and Clarke Quay, with shady nooks, large trees, distinctive bridges, and a wide selection of dining and drinking establishments. With its unique vibe, the area has a lot to offer families and couples, and doesn't fall short on nightlife offerings either.
Robertson Quay

The area started becoming busy only in the late 1800s with warehouses and boatyards constructed to support commercial activities. After a redevelopment project spanning the late 1990s and early 2000s, Robertson Quay became a relaxed, low-key, family-friendly destination as well as a quiet residential neighbourhood close to the CBD.

Families will love the wide open spaces and squares around Robertson Quay. They’re perfect for kids to blow off steam while parents can keep an eye on them from a nearby café. Casual dining options abound, with numerous drinking spots for a great night out. Complete your night with a stroll by the water or walk across some of Singapore’s most colourful bridges, watching the river snake by lazily.

Robertson Quay

The romantic dining options are varied and charming at Robertson Quay, perfect for anyone on a honeymoon in Singapore. Check out any of the intimate little restaurants, with overhanging trees and candlelit tables that are straight out of a postcard. 

Many decades ago, Teochew Chinese would gather around Robertson Quay at night. Storytellers would light joss sticks and tell folk tales for the duration of the stick’s burning. Today, Robertson Quay is the ideal place in Singapore to make your own stories while listening for the echoes of those from the past.

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