Apart from the stadiums that sell out to K-pop bands and international megastars, there are also plenty of venues where you can hear live music in a more intimate atmosphere. Here are some of the best places in Singapore to hear bands, singer-songwriters and local musicians.
This is brand new and has just opened at Pan Pacific Orchard, and is the the home of international jazz musicians. The music can become quite riotous, especially as the night wears on but you can be guaranteed to hear some of the best in the business. Jazz classics, uptempo blues and reinterpretations of popular pop songs are on the menu, as well as some delicious food and bar snacks, from wagyu carpaccio to grilled lamb.
One of the most well-known on the live music circuit in Singapore, Wala Wala has food, music and a great selection of alcoholic drinks. It is the perfect place to start (or finish) your night out thanks to its location in Holland Village, where many a night out reaches its climax. Their specialty is rock music, especially the kind with loud guitars and even louder drums. Not only a place to enjoy classics, Wala Wala was instrumental (pun intended) in launching the careers of Jack and Rai and Shirlyn and the UnXpected, who have gained a level of fame on the live music scene in Singapore.
Judging from the name alone, it is pretty obvious the kind of music that they serve up here in Cuba Libre. Their resident bands Adrenalina and The Marisol perform excellent Latin music straight from Cuba, and for those who want to practice their dance skills, they regularly perform salsa and bachata tracks. For those who have never danced before, they also hold regular workshops for those who want to learn new tricks or brush up on old skills.
VLV, whilst a newcomer on the scene, has plenty to offer those seeking live music during the summer months. Beginning as a Cantonese restaurant with over 60 delicacies on the menu, they also hold VLV Courtyard Live sessions that feature English and Mandarin musicians. Featuring accompaniment from a live band, this place is perfect for romantic dates or chill get-togethers with friends.
For those of us who want to get a little taste of New Orleans and the Dirty South, then head on over to The Beast. This is the only bourbon bar in Singapore, and they serve a great selection of Southern classics, like chicken and waffles, cornbread and Mississippi mudpie. They also have over 30 different types of bourbon to choose from. They host regular open mic sessions for those who want to impress others with their musical skills but what really sells The Beast is the fantastic atmosphere, especially on the weekends.
Newly opened and playing everything from jazz to dancehall to reggae to pop, Lulu’s is located in the Pan Pacific Hotel and the decor is what really adds the extra touch. Designer couches next to glass cabinets of ‘personal belongings’ are juxtaposed against exposed brick walls covered in graffiti and neon lights. Quirky, undeniably hip and extremely cool, Lulu’s will soon be the place to be at the weekends.
Unmissable thanks to its neon sign of an elephant’s behind, Crazy Elephant veers away from the sadder notes of jazz and instead plays some particularly rousing blues, complete with harmonicas, guitar solos and plenty of bass. For wild night out, you can’t go far wrong with Crazy Elephant.
An odd one, but worth it if you want something different of a night out. Shuffle showcases emerging Mandarin and English acts that will spoil you with an array of ballads. The real draw here is the food however, with dishes such as tom yum pasta, pork toast and Thai fish fingers, will keep you snacking until dawn. One of the more original options in Clarke Quay, it is well worth a visit for something different amidst a huge range of live music options.
Old school Havana meets Singapore here at Capella Singapore. If you want to relax with a mojito in hand, enjoying the sunset, then you can do much worse than listening to some Cuban jazz. They have hosted some legends in the past, like Jeremy Monteiro and his Latin Jazz Trio, so keep an eye out for shows.