Rivers have always been seen as a source of life. In its early days, as the centre of trade, the Singapore River was the lifeline of the country. The riverbank, like Clarke Quay where the goods warehouses sat, was always abuzz with activities.
Its days as a functioning quay may have passed, but Clarke Quay continues to be the life of the party. Its five blocks of warehouses restored to modern sophistication and repainted in cheery rainbow hues now house a plethora of dining and entertainment choices. Coupled with its prime riverside address, which offers an impressive panorama; and the fun, festival village vibe of the place, this eclectic mix of old and new has cemented Clarke Quay’s status as the lifestyle destination in Singapore.
Restaurants, wine bars and cafes – families and friends have plenty to choose from at Clarke Quay. For a place to woo your loved one, there is nothing quite as romantic as dinner by the river. Climb aboard one of Singapore’s last two remaining tongkangs (light boats used for carrying goods) and go back in time at the TongKang Colonial Bar & Restaurant.
If you want to savour the multi-national cuisines available in the food paradise that is Singapore, Clarke Quay’s restaurants cover a smorgasbord of specialities from around the world. For Thai food, there is RENNthai where you can sample the freshest of seafood prepared Thai-style.
Stepping into Little Saigon is like walking into Vietnam, thanks to the classic lanterns of the land in turquoise and yellow, and the cosy dark wood setting. Sip their wickedly delicious cocktails as you tuck into pho (noodle soup), rolls and stir-fried dishes and sway to the intoxicating music by its live band, Acoustic Bounce.
Hai Di Lao will take your taste buds to China with their impressive selection of hotpot dishes that includes five types of broth; over 60 meats, vegetables and seafood items; and 20 condiments. While you wait for your meal, treat yourself to a manicure on the house while the little ones amuse themselves in a playroom.
Travel to India with new entrant, Pind Balluchi Bar & Grill. Enter its inviting interiors that feature rich Indian art décor with modern accents andenjoy authentic Indian grills that come from age-old recipes that have been given a modern update.
Of course, for local favourites under the stars, Quayside Seafood Restaurant serves, among other things, the unofficial Singapore national seafood dish, chilli crab. Indulge in a wide range of seafood cuisine amidst the soft balmy air that surrounds the restaurant and be soothed by piped-in music as you enjoy a tête-à-tête with family, friends and business associates. Xiao Chen Gu Shi offers Malaysian street food, including bak kut teh (pork rib broth flavoured with herbs), amidst surroundings reminiscent of the older days.
Fantastic Chill-out Places
Clarke Quay is also the perfect place to relax in after a hard day’s work and there is a place for every personality and persuasion. Sports lover will like sports-themed bar, Bungy Bar, where you can nurse your drink to the sounds of a live band or watch live screenings of major sporting events like the English Premier League and Rugby World Cup.
If you prefer making your own music, Tang Music Box will give your karaoke experience a real boost with its world-class BMB sound system, giant high-definition TV screens and song hits. Choose to belt out your renditions of the latest numbers at any of the 25 unique concept rooms designed to whisk you away to international locations such as Lisbon, Hong Kong, Shanghai and New York. A variety of craft beers, drinks and snacks are also available at new concept store, The Meeting Place, to keep revellers going through the night.
At the Forbidden City by IndoChine, you will be spoilt for choice. It recently unveiled three fresh concepts: Anastasia Lounge, Bianca Supperclub and The Oscar Whisky & Zigar Bar, promising something for everyone.
To unwind the Japanese way, head for Tomo Izakaya. An izakaya is a Japanese estalishment that focuses on drinks while also serving food. At this place, you can have your sake with their signature dish - deep fried, melt-in-your-mouth soft pork ribs called Soki Tatsuta Age. Meanwhile, to relax like a true Spaniard, have a cold Sangria and tapas (hot finger foods) at the Octapas Spanish Tapas Bar. For fun the Kiwi way, Fern and Kiwi gives you New Zealand’s finest food and beers. If a quiet cuppa is more your style, The Connoisseur Concerto (tcc) has exclusive gourmet coffee of the highest quality. They brew the blends using a variety of methods that include syphon, ice coffee dripper and expresso techniques.
Leveraging the festive feel of Clarke Quay, the riverside festival village has been playing host to the German beer festival, Oktoberfest, for years. This October, on the 11 th and 12 th (7pm – 11pm), the Clarke Quay Central Fountain Square will be decked in German flag liners for a weekend of beer, bratwurst, music and merry-making.
Beer & food kiosks will tempt you with Germany culinary delights such as crispy pork knuckles, bratwurst and mash, German gourmet sausages and an endless flow of Erdinger beer, a popular beer across Germany and the rest of Europe.
Jig to the lively tunes from a German Oom-pah band (so named because of the oom-pah rhythm they play) accompanied by dancing waitresses dressed in Dirndl (traditional Bavarian costumes) or party to live performances by local bands. There will be carnival game booths with German-inspired games such as Hoop A Beer and cookie decorating competitions; and stage games with great giveaways. A balloonist will be on hand to create imaginative balloon sculptures while a roving photographer will capture the celebrations and hand out free instant photographs. The festivities will have everyone saying a loud “ja” (“yes” in German)!
For more information on the event, visit www.clarkequay.com.sg/oktoberfest
Oktoberfest is not the only funky activity Clarke Quay has seen. Between late July and late August this year, the roving Magnum Singapore Pleasure Store made its first stop at Clarke Quay! Visitors were invited to design their own pleasure-giving Magnum, beginning with an uncoated vanilla Magnum. The six-step journey to their bespoke ice-cream bar let them coat their Magnum in smooth liquid chocolate and top it with a unique and specially selected range of toppings.
Participants also captured their handiwork with digital cameras and shared their experiences using the Magnum Lookbook. The digital menu of the creations then served as inspiration to other aspiring ice-cream makers when they made their own Magnum.
Sinfully good Magnum desserts and Magnum-inspired cocktails were also served at the store. Fun could not have come in a sweeter form.
But Clarke Quay aims to be more than just a place for food and fun. If yoga is your thing, don’t miss the Yoga on Read Bridge sessions every Tuesday at 7.30pm (visit www.singapore-river.com for more information). To keep yourself updated on the goings-on at Clarke Quay and interact with fellow Clarke Quay regulars, check out Clarke Quay Insider Blog at clarkequayblog.tumblr.com . This is a place where fans of the historic quay-turned-dining and entertainment hub can get in touch with one another online and meet Clarke Quay insiders and personalities.
Life by the river has gotten super exciting and at the centre of it all, then and now, is the iconic Clarke Quay!