These cool places in the city promise a fun night out with groovy tunes by local and international bands
Let’s face it. Singapore isn’t quite a city that people flock to for jazz music. That honour belongs to the likes of New York City, Tokyo, New Orleans and Paris. But apart from the yearly Sing Jazz Festival, there are a handful of venues that play host to a sterling range of jazz musicians, all doing their part to elevate this genre here in the city. From intimate bars to swanky lounges and grungy joints, here’s our edit of the best spots to treat your ears to an unforgettable night of jazz music.
There’s no better place to kick back and relax in a plush leather armchair than at this elegant gentleman’s lounge at the unparalleled St Regis Singapore. This celebrated hotel chain’s jazz roots run all the way back to the jazz age, when the St Regis New York played host to greats including Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Buddy Rich. Today, the St Regis continues to uphold this much loved tradition with the appointment of jazz singer-songwriter Jamie Cullum as its Connoisseur. He is also the ambassador for its Jazz Legends series and has performed at St Regis hotels around the world, including Singapore. At the Astor Bar, resident jazz pianist-singer Ron Sinclair charms guest daily with his dulcet vocals for a smooth, relaxing end to the night.
Robb tip: Try the Chilli Padi Mary, a riff on the classic Bloody Mary which was invented at the King Cole Bar in the St Regis New York.
The St Regis Singapore
29 Tanglin Road
Tel: +65 6506 6859
Put on your dancing shoes before you cross the bridge to get to Bob’s Bar in Sentosa. Located in the elegant Capella Singapore, this alfresco Cuban-inspired bar is a sweet spot to visit when you just want to get away from it all. On Friday nights, the Latin jazz band kicks things up a notch with groovy tunes for you to trot out your best salsa or swing moves. The Caribbean-inspired cocktails like fresh pressed mojitos by the mixologists of 28HKS certainly add to the free-wheeling vibe.
Robb tip: On other nights, there’s a mix of acoustic, lounge or jazz so call ahead to find out who’s slated to perform.
1 The Knolls
Tel: +65 6591 5047
This may just be our favourite jazz bars in the city. Expect local and international music acts to serenade you with the likes of jazz and r&b. It also doubles as a speakeasy, where you’ll can either order from a list that includes a mix of modern mixology and traditional classics, or leave it in the good hands of the bartender. Its sister establishment on the second floor, Madame Fan, also hosts regular live performances.
Robb tip: Advance bookings are the best way to go, as this bar gets full real quickly on Fridays and Saturdays.
The NCO Club
32 Beach Road
Tel: +65 6818 1908
Grand Shanghai Restaurant
Take a trip back in time to the legendary Bund in 1940s Shanghai at the Grand Shanghai Restaurant. This Chinese restaurant serves up a classic menu of dishes like smoked pomfret, braised duck with sea cucumber and drunken chicken as well as a selection of lesser known Chinese wines, which we hear could be the next big thing in oenology. They are perfect accompaniments to the night’s entertainment, a three-piece Shanghainese jazz band led by a 70-year-old pianist. They play a charming mix of familiar Chinese favourites and jazz melodies.
Robb tip: They take song requests too.
Grand Shanghai Restaurant
390 Havelock Road
Tel: +65 6836 6866
One of the latest night spots to hit the scene, the vibrant Lulu’s Lounge has been carefully designed to bring a little bit of 70’s Manhattan to Singapore. Dim lighting, exposed brick walls and graffiti add a gritty flavour to the club’s luxe lounge furnishings like peekaboo curtains, chandeliers and leather recliners. This is a place you’ll want to linger at — a live jazz act kicks things off before heralding a burlesque performance. You’ll also want to order food and cocktails liberally here as this place is run by the same team behind cocktail bar extraordinaire Employees Only.
Robb tip: The Va Va Voom, a mezcal cocktail, sure packs a punch, in a good way.
Pan Pacific Hotel
7 Raffles Boulevard
Tel: +65 9829 1922
Dempsey is no stranger to live music, with the newest kid on the block being Maduro. Opened by former jazz pianist Peter Ng, you can expect an ever-changing lineup with both up-and-coming local talent and international acts. But how’s that different from any other jazz bar, you ask? Well, Ng’s aim is to provide a platform for local musicians and help them grow, and judging by the crowd one Friday evening, he’s certainly found the recipe for success.
Tuesdays are ‘open-mic’ nights, where the local youth jazz community and students from Lasalle take the stage. Admission is free on most days, with a cover charge of $30 on Fridays and Saturdays that includes a house pour.
Robb tip: Bar bites are available, with our favourites being truffle brie (get a bread basket to go with it) and the duck rillette. For those who come hungry, we recommend popping by next-door neighbour, Atout, for a meal.
40C Harding Road
Tel: +65 6950 5855
Like us, you might still be mourning the loss of Catalyuna, the stellar Spanish restaurant on the Fullerton Waterfront. But its replacement, Monti, an Italian restaurant and jazz bar, certainly lives up to the high bar set by its predecessor. The swanky jazz lounge, which boasts panoramic views of Singapore glittering skyline (best enjoyed at night), features a music lineup curated by our local godfather of jazz, Jeremy Monteiro. Expect a good mix of international, regional as well as up-and-coming local acts, with regulars including Beverly Morata, Skye Sirena and Rob Collins.
Robb tip: If you’re looking for a romantic dinner with a panoramic view, we recommend checking this restaurant out.
82 Collyer Quay
Tel: +65 6535 0724