Wham, bam, thank you, ma'am. As fickle-minded as Singapore's taste for nightlife can be, a growing appetite has pushed scenesters both local and foreign to introduce 4 new spaces in the last few months, coupled with another opening just shy of the new year. While Singapore's nightlife scene keeps things interesting with guest DJs flying in and pop-up parties by local DJs and promoters sprouting in old warehouses and parking lots, there's also a need for a regular haunt that checks all the right boxes. But where neon signs are a dime a dozen, who do you pledge loyalty to in this playground of vices? From a club that's literally underground to bars that boast 360-degree views, here's a lowdown on Mao, AVRY, Bar Rouge, Peaches and the upcoming Lavo.
FOR THE POST-WORK FIX
Greeted by a fluorescent fortune cat with its paw propped up as you head in, you can't help but feel welcomed when entering the city's latest subterranean club. Here Now Concepts — the team that brought you cult favourite Cherry Discotheque — has opened up another venture that has the young club kids buzzing. It's unpretentiously cool, with raw walls, industrial furnishings and a fusion of Eastern and Western elements that are reminiscent of the Bladerunner franchise. Nestled in the heart of the CBD where Kyo used to exist, Mao also makes a convenient post-work haunt with your colleagues, away from the taboo of office imbibing.
Drinks situation: Beers start from $10 per pint. Asahi Super Dry and Connor's Stout Porter lovers, here's a menu to cheers to.
Double tap: Elaborate rows of red lanterns frame pixel postcards, as well as a neon quote that reads 'Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back' in a font handwritten by Mao's creative designer. Just like how the team behind Mao wanted to bring in a fresh concept into Singapore's nightlife, they also added the lesser-known half of the popular idiom.
Sound advice: Although it's open daily, club nights only run from Thursday to Saturday. On Thursdays, DJ Rough spins old school hip-hop to Top 40 hits. Basement Soul Fridays see international acts, while 4/Four Saturdays will have you dancing to techno and experimental sounds.
Opens daily, 5pm till 12am. Club nights on Thursdays and Fridays, 10pm till 3am, and Saturdays, 10pm till 4am at Keck Seng Tower #B1-02.
FOR THE A-LIST TREATMENT
Sticking to its social club character, the 6000-square feet space follows the overarching theme of 'birds of a feather flock together'. The entrance is adorned with statuettes of bird cages and folded birds above, while geometric full-length mirrors line the entrance to give this old proverb a swanky modern twist. Upon entering, you'll feel as though you were Gossip Girl's Serena van der Woodsen, judging by AVRY's neon sign (yes, it appears every fresh young thing has one), 'Good girls are bad girls that never get caught'. From the team who brought you Ultra Singapore and past clubs Filter and Mink, you can expect a similar taste for flashy hedonism as well.
Drinks situation: Pop some Dom Perignon if you book the namesake's VIP Lounge booth.
Double tap this: The first of its kind in Singapore, AVRY has a video booth — a Hotpoint Lightbox —to make sure your squad has a memento to remember a spectacular night by. Adding onto the A-List celebrity experience are connected LED screens and 16 VIP tables. V-Squared Labs, famed for having worked with Vegas's XS nightclub and international artistes from the likes of Skrillex and The Chainsmokers, has also introduced coloured swooping lights and projections in its conceptualisation of AVRY's visuals.
Sound advice: R&B, hip-hop and EDM remixes from the late '90s and early 2000s chart the lineup. New York's M Ortiz and Dutchmen Dannic and Dyro are a few who have already graced the decks with their world-class sound. With Air Tri Motion bi-amped sculpted speakers powered by Voice Acoustics, (also the sound system team behind Ultra Singapore), all you bass suckers are in for a good time.
Opens on Wednesdays and Fridays, 10pm till 3am, and Saturdays, 10pm till 4am at Millenia Walk, #02-02.
FOR A NAUGHTY NIGHT OUT
Hailed as one of Shanghai's most iconic and long-standing bars, you can expect refined Chinoise charm with a healthy dose of cheekiness in its Singapore counterpart. Bathed in red, Bar Rouge replaced the iconic New Asia Bar by changing more than just its name. While you can still enjoy a view of downtown Singapore from 71 floors above in Swissôtel the Stamford, the space has moved on from its predecessor's tired interiors with state of the art fittings to elevate each patron's experience. Case in point: A striking cloud-shaped installation hanging above the bar which encapsulates Bar Rouge into an artform. Shanghai-based creative agency NAÇO has masterfully maximised the area with a VIP mezzanine floor, raised perfomance cages for weekly aerial performances and podium platforms.
Drinks situation: Try Mr & Mrs Rouge, Bar Rouge's classic cocktail with 42 Below Vodka, raspberry purée, blueberry purée, lemon juice, cranberry and vanilla. A fruity delight, this one's for those with a sweet tooth. You can enjoy a free flow of vodka cranberry and contrieu sprite from 10pm to 1am on Ladies' Night.
Double tap: Those damn neon signs strike again. This time, restrooms are adorned with local sayings such as 'Relac lah', 'faster come back', and 'don't eat snake'. Fridays also see acrobatic performances and pole dancers for the weekly installment of 'Paint The Town Rouge'.
Sound advice: DJ Styluxtakut is the name to know. On Wednesdays, look forward to '80s and '90s hits, with Thursdays and Fridays on hip-hop alert. Saturdays are reserved for EDM nights. Two-time DMC Champion DJ Rattle will also be helming the decks to provide a sick selection of R&B music. Shanghai's most reputable DJs will be flying down as well. Coupled with a custom built Mode Audio sound system that's first of its kind in Singapore, brace yourselves for a sonic affair like no other.
Opens on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 6.30pm to 2am; Thursdays, 6.30pm till 4am; Fridays and Saturdays, 6.30pm till 5am at Swissôtel The Stamford, Level 71.
FOR AN ALTERNATIVE EXPERIENCE
The brainchild of the teams behind Cherry Discotheque and PLAY Club has taken over Cherry in its undiscriminating and vibrant outfit of pizzazz for the LGBTQ+ community. After an exciting collaboration with Martell NCF this December that brought us a stellar lineup of Singapore's established and emerging drag queen divas such as Vyla Virus and Sally Sparks, we can't wait to see what Peaches has in store for us in 2018. Here's to diminishing derogatory stereotypes and embracing people for who they are.
Drinks situation: Free flow liquid buffet on Fridays on selected nights. Sign us up.
Double tap: Aside from the classic Peaches neon sign, you can't miss the glowing violet quote by RuPaul, that sums up Peaches: 'If you can't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?' Amen to that. Look forward to interactive performances by Haus of Gemini's divas from the likes of Arya Dunn, Eva Le Queen, Gina Gemini and Eyva Belladona with their moves and wit.
Sound advice: The eclectic mix of music reflects the diversity within the LGBTQ+ community. Any jam from R&B/hip-hop beats to top 40 anthems and acoustic sets, there is a day for everyone at Peaches. The industry's best – DJs ZACK C, FVDER and ANNZEL – take residence here as well.
Opens on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 10pm till 3am and Thursdays, 8pm till 12am at 21 Mount Elizabeth.
FOR AN EAST COAST-MEETS-WEST COAST GLAM
After its continued success in Las Vegas and New York, LAVO has taken over Sky on 57 at Marina Bay Sands Singapore for its first foray into Asia. This also marks a first venture by LAVO where the club and restaurant meld together into one space. Designed by Manhattan-based firm ICrave, ritzy leather furnishings and warm lighting fill the space, characterised by curved tiled bars with panel detailings, exposed bricks and reclaimed white subway tiles from New York. A glass-wrapped space makes it a glamorous blend between the traditional European design elements and clean, modern visuals.
Drinks situation: LAVO promises a menu of handcrafted cocktails, but we're really here for the food. Pre-party, we're planning on tucking into some penne a la vodka and that one-pound meatball topped with ricotta cheese.
Double tap: Apart from the bird's eye view of Singapore's skyline, you can also pose in front of the custom-made gelato cart and bespoke zinc bar top, the latter flown in from Paris. We're also looking forward to the commissioned piece by American visual artist Peter Tunney.
Sound advice: Taking cues from its international counterparts, get ready to amp up for nights of house, techno, trance and electropop tunes. Calvin Harris and Tiësto are some big names who have performed at LAVO New York, so we'd expect the same. American DJ Ruckus and an appearance by Jamie Foxx will be here to kickstart the Singapore lineup.
Opens at Marina Bay Sands, Level 57 on 31 December.