Emerald Hill


A few weeks back, I was looking for a place to grab a beer with some friends visiting in Singapore. Someplace casual, easy to access, and not (too) expensive… so I scratched my head… and thought of Emerald Hill !!

I don’t know whether you are familiar with this area, but to me the first time I went there was really a good surprise and it has been one of my favourite spots in Singapore ever since.

Contrasted Singapore

Contrasts of Old & New Singapore

The first great thing about Emerald Hill is that it’s super conveniently located just off Orchard Road. It’s a few steps away from Somerset MRT and the mall 313@Somerset.

The second great thing is that as soon as you turn into this uphill street you forget that you’re on Orchard Road! The place is peaceful, green, quiet… and it’s only shophouses and traditional Chinese mansions. It’s truly amazing, in all honesty!!

Emerald Hill

Atmosphere on Emerald Hill

There are a few outlets here, mainly bars and restaurants. Their deco is also really nice. The one on the picture above is traditional Chinese with red lanterns lit, but there are also more Westernised places like Que Pasa, a Spanish tapas bar with a really wide selection of wines. I personnally like Que Pasa, with a quiet alfresco area, and a quaint deco inside, with wine bottles on the wall and authentic wooden tables…

Emerald Hill evening sky

Clear skies tonight

Overall, Emerald Hill is a good spot when you feel like trying something else for an evening out in Singapore. Clarke Quay and Club Street are great nightlife spots, but I feel after a while you sort of grow out of it…

I would strongly recommend Emerald Hill for a relaxing night out. However if you prefer sitting outside, it’s usually quite crowded so you should go there early!

Green Emerald HillGreen Singapore at night

Isn’t it nice to keep discovering hidden places… sometimes you think you’ve seen it all, and yet a new place is just round the corner! 🙂

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A slice of Mexico in Singapore…


Do you ever get tired of Asian food? Sometimes I do… Not that I don’t enjoy it (on the contrary!!) but just that after a while it’s nice to go for a change…

When I feel like having something different for dinner, one of my favourite places is Piedra Negra, a Mexican restaurant and bar on Haji Lane. “Piedra Negra” (which means “black stone”) actually has nothing to do with Black… it’s extremely colourful!! And I love it because the atmosphere is lively and very latino-like!

Deco at Piedra Negra

Deco at Piedra Negra

Deco at Piedra Negra

Some of the deco reminds me of Barcelona, some of South America… Actually the menu is not all Mexican, as you can have Spanish tortillas or South American empanadas! Hmmm yummy all my favourites! A luxury to have these in Singapore maybe?

Piedra Negra is also a great chill out place, and I recommend you try the nachos, served with guacamole, frijoles, jalapeno chili (careful there, it’s really spicy!!), and covered in melted cheese – see picture.

Tacos muy buenosAlso a good combination, have it with a glass of cool sangria, or frozen margarita (even though in the Singapore heat it will not stay frozen for long).

Prices are reasonable too, and the staff is really friendly. There is an outdoor area as well, right along beach road, which is very pleasant on a windy evening…

Go check it out and tell me what you think! 🙂

Zouk Out 2012


Hey guys! Have you heard of ZoukOut? Surely you’ve heard of Zouk, one of the most famous night clubs in Singapore. Zouk usually features very good electro-dance DJs, and also had (until July this year) a very popular theme night on Wednesdays, the Mambo Jambo night, where they played retro music from the 80s.

Well, Zouk decided in 2000 to bring the party… to the beach!! Branded “ZoukOut”, this annual event is a dance music festival where world renowned DJs fly in to Singapore. A must-do for newcomers!

The stage at Zoukout

The stage at Zoukout

This year I went there for the first time. The ticket price was (I felt) very high… 98 S$ per person for just one night (there are 2 nights, usually Friday and Saturday). You do have an early bird ticket at 78 S$ but you really have to be quick to get one, as tickets sell REALLY fast!!

I reached Siloso beach (on Sentosa) around midnight with some friends and there was already quite a crowd. The festival showcases artists from 8pm to 8am… so you can imagine the size of the event 😀 ! I found the beach quite nicely set up, with sponsors booths lit up, and 3 large well-positioned scenes (not too close from one another). It’s also well thought that there are many bars, all around the area, and they are numbered so it’s easier to find meeting points with your friends.

Lightings at Zoukout

Lightings at Zoukout

There are also a few “fun” booths, were you can participate to games or have your fortune told by a guru… Quite entertaining I must say! And of course some food and beverages outlets, with a quite diverse range of options, however quite expensive as expected. If you’re lucky, you might also catch the 5mn fireworks – as we did!!

Fireworks at Zoukout

After a while though, I felt the music was not of my taste, and the crowd really started to bother me (with time crowds get drunker… 😉 ) so I headed home. But I think if you’re really into electro/disco/trance music you will definitely enjoy this event. This year’s edition featured Calvin Harris and Paul Kalbrenner for instance!

My recommendation is to go if you like beach parties and excitement 🙂 but think about it twice if you’re weary of the price, or do not like crowds too much! Also, if you go, please wear comfortable footwear, and remember not too bring any food or drinks with you, as it will be taken at the entrance (but you can buy food and drinks inside).

For more info on ZoukOut music festival, it’s right this way!! So… ready for party time?? 😀

Bar Stories on Haji Lane


Remember Haji Lane? Small, discrete and yet trendy street hidden in Kampong Glam near Arab Street?

I was there last time I was in Singapore and although some places are still there, I must say that shops there change quite quickly! Maybe because the rent is very high… Even so, it is also nice to see new shops and places to discover, it’s a good change in a place like Singapore where people complain it’s too small and always the same… 🙂

I discovered a new place that people had told me about, Bar stories. You have to look for it, it’s not very well indicated, and on the second floor too.

The originality of this place is that you can customise your own cocktails/mocktails. And if you have no idea what combination would be best, the bartender will help you out if you tell him your usual preference (sweet/sour/fruity/else…).

I really enjoyed my drink, and so did my friend with hers. I asked for something not too sweet and refreshing and I was given a cool lime-based mocktail with little bits of kiwi, while my friend had a sweeter and fruitier drink with strawberrys. Yummy.

The setting is also quite relaxing, with nice cafe-style touches. And prices are ok (although they must be higher at night for cocktails). So go for it 🙂 I recommend it !!

More nightlife spots


When you ask people about the best bars and night clubs in Singapore, most of them will tell you to go to Clarke Quay (CQ). Of course, CQ remains a top-of-mind location for Singaporeans and Foreigners. However, there are more nightlife spots that you might want to check out.

Here are a few personal favourites:

1. Club Street

Club Street is not very far away from Chinatown. It is a small circular street where you can find many restaurants and bars worth trying out! Drinks and snacks might be a little more expensive than in Clarke Quay, but the atmosphere is more refined and relaxing, and you can also choose to go there during happy hours if you are on a budget. To me it is an ideal place to go for a drink and chill.

The best bar I can recommend is Barrio Chino. But really, you can just try any bar in the area. Club Street bars are mostly shophouses, which makes evenings there very pleasant as you can step onto the roof top for some fresh air and admire the view over Chinatown.

2. The Long Bar at Raffles Hotel

Singapore is famous for being an extremely clean city. But did you know that there is ONE place in Singapore where you are allowed to litter?

It’s the Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel, where it is a custom to throw peanut shells on the floor! It’s also where the Singapore Sling was first created. Although quite pricy, the Long Bar is definitely a must-do for drinks in Singapore!!

3. Cocktail bars

If you feel like trying something a little more sophisticated, try cocktail bars! You can go to B28 on Ann Siang Road, which just recently opened not too far away from Club Street. I haven’t tried it yet but it’s definitely on my list. They also have Jazz sessions with both local and foreign musicians! Otherwise you can also go to Haji Lane and have a cocktail sip at Bar Stories, although the place is smaller.

4. More night clubs

Aside from Attica, Zirca, Rebel, Le Noir… which you can find in Clarke Quay, Singapore has more nightclubs in other areas.

Of course, Zouk is one of the most famous clubs. They have 4 different rooms and regularly have guest stars performing. And let’s not forget Mambo-Jambo night every Wednesday, where they play disco music from the 70s and 80s… Great fun! They are also very famous thanks to Zouk Out, a giant beach party organised by Zouk every year in Sentosa.

Other clubs include St John’s Power Station’s Power House, a former power station transformed in a night club, located near Harbour Front, and Butter Factory, also an icon in Singapore’s nightlife, near the Fullerton Hotel by Marina Bay (super trendy people call it “Butt Fac” !).

And you, what are your favourite nightlife spots in Singapore?

Holland Village


One of Singapore’s well hidden places is Holland Village. Not sure you’ve heard of it? I’m not surprised!!

Holland Village (“Holland V”) is a nice spot for shopping, restaurants and bars. It is quite calm during the day and very lively at night, especially after working hours when office people meet up for a refreshing beer. It is usually packed with both locals and expatriates, which makes it a great spot to meet new people and blend in with locals if you’re an expatriate!

Best outlets in Holland V include:

1. Restaurants : you can find basically anything! European, Thai, Lebanese, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Australian, Mexican food … you name it! You will find famous restaurant chains like Crystal Jade or Sushi Tei as well as less well-known places like the Cha Cha Cha Mexican Restaurant or La Nonna Italian Restaurant.

2. Bars : Of course, the most famous one is Wala Wala bar, a two-storey bar with a terrace, usually very very packed. Harry’s bar is also always a safe bet for cocktails. But mostly, Holland Village is full of pubs and bars with live music and happy hours, so really you can just walk around and choose your favourite!

3. Shopping places : In Holland Village you will find smaller shops usually specialised in one type of product, like antiques or IT items. There is also a Shopping Mall but I think that’s less charming…

I think Holland Village is a good name for this area, as it really does capture the spirit of a “village” 🙂

Clarke Quay and it’s history


For those of us who are interested in bars, clubs and parties, Singapore has a lot to offer too.

Of course, the first place the young people will tell you is : Clarke Quay!! Located by the Singapore river, Clarke Quay is overcrowded on Saturday and Wednesday nights (known as “Ladies’ night”, as girls can enter for free before midnight in some places). You might want to check out :

Bars : Chupitos for shots, Cuba Libre for great latino live music, Highlander for live hits, 7inch if you’re into rock music and like playing pool, Mulligan’s Irish pub for a pint, Indochine for a fun decoration and loud music… you can even have a shot of vodka in an ice bar in The Forbidden City! Worth a visit. Don’t worry, they lend you a jacket.

Night clubs : Attica if you are in the expat mood, Pump Room for live music, Le Noir for the French, Zirca if you’re into electro music and enjoy a young local crowd…

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This is Clarke Quay as we know it today. However there is a whole other story behind the place. Did you know that Clarke Quay played a major role in Singapore’s history?

Clarke Quay is where Sir Raffles disembarked when he first reached Singapore… on Feb 6th 1819! At that time, warehouses were built by the riverside so that European and Chinese merchants could store their goods in a safe place, which was also very conveniently located when merchandise needed to be transported on bumboats. Just try and picture how busy the river was 200 years ago…

The riverside area was then named “Clarke Quay” after Sir Andrew Clarke, Singapore’s second Governor in the 1870s. Later on, Clarke Quay became “Clarke Quay Festival Village” and underwent works to become what we see of it now, colourful disney-like shophouses…

Personally, I don’t really think the “new” Clarke Quay is very charming. However, Singapore still made an effort to keep some trace of her past by keeping the warehouses instead of having them demolished. And I truly believe we should be grateful for that!!